By Jazlyn MacLeod
Oct. 10, 2014
Growing up, Shaniya Butler believed she was too big or too awkward to make friends.
Zumba classes helped change that.
At first she felt vulnerable, thinking everyone was watching and waiting for her to make mistakes during the dances. She spent time at the back of the class until she overcame that fear.
“I realized no one was watching, and if they were watching they were probably making mistakes too.”
Zumba helped her gain the self-confidence she lacked, Butler said. Since then, she registered online for courses in Halifax to learn basic moves and to choreograph songs to become a zumba instructor.
“I wanted to make that same sort of difference for other girls who felt emotionally or physically insecure with themselves.”
Butler volunteers doing zumba for gym classes, once a year with schools who ask her too.
“One day I’ll go to Montague High School and do zumba for every class, and the next week I do the same for the junior high, or any other schools who contact me.”
Now she will be volunteering her time instructing a zumba class at Holland College on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:10 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. in the dance/fitness studio, of the Centre for Community Engagement in Charlottetown.
“My hopes for the zumba classes is for both girls and boys, of all ages, to come and enjoy themselves.”
Her class is a great way to destress and take a quick break from studies, a judgment free zone, she said.
“I don’t expect people to show up and know the moves or even how to dance. What I do expect is for everyone to walk in with an open mind and a smile.”
Zumba instructor Morgan Gaudet is looking forward to helping out with the Holland College classes starting up.
Gaudet became involved when a instructor singled her out while attending zumba classes.
“She said I would be a great instructor.”
From there Gaudet assisted the instructor in Summerside after receiving her certification, then started her own classes at the Stepping Out Dance Studio in Kensington.
Zumba is exercise in disguise, said Gaudet.
“It’s a combination of aerobics and dance. It’s Latin inspired and you just move your body to the music. You lose weight, have fun and feel better.”
Gaudet hopes people attend the zumba classes through the college and enjoy them while seeing success.