New instructor says ‘Zumba’ liberates the soul and spirit
By Linda Thompson
As a kick-off to her weekly Zumba (pronounced zoom-ba) fitness program, La Jolla resident Sandra Ponsaty is offering a free Zumba class 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 5 at the La Jolla Recreational Center. “I would like to invite everyone — of every body size, age, income category and ethnic group, and any level of dance exposure (and inexperience!) — to feel welcome to my Zumba class, and to enjoy its international music and dance forms.”
Ponsaty is aware that other Zumba classes are offered in La Jolla, but she thinks she has branded her classes differently by making Zumba “accessible to everyone” with drop-in fees. The cost of her 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday classes is $10 for a drop-in class, or $45 for a punch card for five classes or $80 card for 10 classes. Her teaching method provides students with the flexibility to “explore Zumba” or to “diversify their exercise routine.”
To this energetic instructor, Zumba is more than a dance or an aerobic workout. It is about liberating the soul and spirit. It’s her desire for participants to open their hearts when dancing and not think so much while learning simple movements. Most of all, she wants her students to have fun so they can connect with their spirits, and with others, and with the joy of the music.
Ponsaty offered some protocols to assist beginners with achieving a better Zumba experience:
• Dancers should bring a towel and water because the total body workout can burn between 500 to 800 calories.
• Participants should wear gym attire that breathes, and dance-specific sneakers or aerobic or cross-training shoes because they offer “cushion and medial lateral support needed for side-to-side movements.” She discourages new “running” shoes because of their heavy traction and forward-motion-design that prevents twisting movements.
It was Ponsaty’s first Zumba experience that hooked her. “My 5 p.m. stress and fatigue dissipated as soon as I heard the music,” she recalled. “I quickly discovered that Zumba was so much more. I wanted to share this gift of joy.”
Ponsaty knew she was qualified to teach Zumba because of the years she spent studying dance.
“I won first place in the dance category of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ search for the country’s most artistic teenagers. Since I also achieved academic excellence, I was among 20 recipients (out of 8,000) of the Presidential Scholars of the Arts Medal.”
This award opened new doors for Ponsaty that included a trip to the White House to meet President George H.W. Bush. This accomplishment also landed her on the Today’s Show and in People Magazine in 1989, plus an opportunity to perform at the Kennedy Center and the Lincoln Center in New York.
Zumba was also a natural fit for her. “I grew up in the Caribbean where everyone danced; I mean every one!” she said.
Where to Zumba in La Jolla
• A Time to Dance
565 Pearl St. (858) 729-0910
Mondays 10-11 a.m.
• La Jolla Recreation Center
615 Prospect St. (619) 333-0086
Tuesdays, Wednesdays 6:30 p. m
• La Jolla Sports Club
7825 Fay Ave. (858) 459-4407
Wednesdays 10 a.m. Tuesdays 5:30 p.m.
• 24-Hour Fitness
7680 Girard Ave. (858) 551-7800
Mondays 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays 10 a.m. and Thursdays 5:30 p.m.
• YMCA La Jolla
8355 Cliffridge Ave. (858) 453-3483
Mondays 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays 7 p.m. Wednesdays 8:30 a.m. Fridays 8 a.m. Saturdays 10:30 a.m.
Zumba is an aerobic fitness program created by Miami-based dancer and choreographer Beto Perez and two entrepreneurs, Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion. It originated in Colombia in the 1990s and is taught by some 20,000 instructors in 35 countries. —wikipedia
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