Two years ago, Diana Gonzalez introduced me to Ibzumba (I-be-Zumba) and asked me to dance Salsa with her. Diana told me that Ibzumba was her Zumba instructor and this was her first time dancing Salsa. I thought Diana was setting me up! Back then, I thought all Latinas knew how to Salsa dance. I thought they came out of the womb dancing to Hector Lavoe and Tito Puentes. After my dance with Ibzumba, my preconceived beliefs were quickly corrected. She really was a beginner. After the dance, Ibzumba invited me to her Zumba class. I reluctantly agreed to visit her class as long as she agreed to continue dancing Salsa.
About a month later, I attended my first Zumba class. I walked in thinking that this Zumba thing is going to be a piece of cake. How tough can this really be? I lift weights three times per week, I can run three miles with ease, and I dance Salsa for hours without losing my breath. After the first fifteen minutes of Zumba, I quickly understood that my initial thoughts about Zumba were totally wrong. Ibzumba and the rest of her Zumberas seemed liked they were possessed. I couldn’t understand how these women didn’t get tired. I thought I was in good shape, but obviously I wasn’t in Zumba shape.
If you talk to Ibzumba’s students, they will tell you that she has a passion for Zumba. Ibzumba believes that Zumba can be a vehicle to change people’s lives. Zumba helped Ibzumba to transform her mind and body. Ibzumba’s goal is to assist her students with their personal transformation.
Phillips: You teach Zumba several days per week and you are in excellent shape. Were you always in such great shape?
Ibzumba: No, I wasn’t always in good shape. About five years ago, I weighed 165 pounds. I’m 4’11 and 165 pounds was just too much weight. When I weighed that much, I felt like I lost my positive attitude and high energy level. Thinking back on those times, I probably wasn’t a fun person to be around. Everything changed when I moved from New Jersey to Virginia. Terry Scott, my best friend (who still lived in NJ) and I began walking on the treadmill. Every day, we would call each other and talk while we walked on the treadmill. Each week, we would encourage each other to increase our walking speed. After I was able to walk 3.5 miles per hour, I felt like I was ready to try some new exercises. I built up the confidence to join a gym and I started taking some group exercise classes. Once I joined the gym, I was a little concerned about slacking off because Terry wasn’t with me. But the group fitness classes held me accountable and I formed friendships in the classes. After taking Turbo Kick, Spin, Boxing, Water Aerobics, and some Weight Training Classes, I wanted to try something new. I found a Zumba class on the schedule and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Phillips: What made you decide to become a Zumba Instructor?
Ibzumba: I was a devout Zumba student for 3 years and a few people suggested that I think about becoming an instructor. I loved Zumba but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to become an instructor. For about six months, I would have conversations with my friends and family about becoming a Zumba instructor. My friends and family were very supportive of my new passion for exercise and Zumba but I still had my doubts. But Eddie, my brother put the pressure on me and forced me to put up or shut up. Last year, on my birthday, I opened my birthday card and inside was a Zumba Training Registration. Eddie gave me a big hug and told me to “start changing lives”.
Phillips: How has becoming a Zumba Instructor changed your life?
Ibzumba: When I weighed 165 pounds, I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. Dancing Zumba taught me to accept myself. Alberto Aghion, Zumba’s Chief Operating Officer says “When people let themselves go, that’s when the magic happens”. As I student, I learned to let myself go, let all of my self-doubts go, and to let my negative thoughts go. Letting go is an important message that I communicate to my students.
Zumba allowed me to meet a whole new circle of friends. I met Diana Gonzalez and Laverne Brown in my Zumba class. During several Zumba classes, I incorporated some Salsa and Bachata dance patterns. After those classes, Diana and Laverne encouraged me to come to some Salsa Dancing Socials. I must admit that I was a little intimated by some of the advanced Salsa dancers. But Charlotte’s Salsa Community is very inclusive and they made me feel at home. Learning to dance Salsa and Bachata helped to make my Zumba movements more authentic and increased my confidence as a Zumba instructor.
After watching so many Zumba students transform their minds and bodies, I was inspired to create a forum for people to share their stories. The name of the Facebook Group is Desire To Inspire and it’s an opportunity for people to post their before and after picture, post encouraging words, share their healthy eating tips, and share their weight loss success stories. Desire To Inspire is the next best thing to having your best friend talk to you while you walk on the treadmill.
Phillips: How can people contact you?
Ibzumba: If your readers are looking to have a great time and get healthy, I encourage them to make personal contact with me at one of my Zumba classes. I teach evening classes and Saturday morning classes in the University Area, Matthews, and Indian Trail. For more information about my classes, your readers can connect with me on Facebook (Ibzumba Shorte), or email me. Also, I will provide your readers with an opportunity to try a Free Zumba class with me. Try Zumba once and you’ll be hooked too! Check out my Facebook page and New Growth Magazine on Facebook for more details on Free Zumba classes.