The BYU–Hawaii Residential Life team of Hale 6 brought high energy and excitement to students on Jan. 16 with a Zumba dancing workout at the Hale Pavilion. According to students, being able to mix exercise and dancing to great music was fun and contagiously exciting.
Minerva Uyehara, the daughter-in-law of Sister Dawn Uyehara, Hale 6’s coordinator, instructed the Zumba dance. She said, “It’s the excitement that’s just contagious to other people and more people started learning. [Zumba] grew into becoming a community and now it is worldwide.”
According to womensfitnessclubs.com and the official Zumba website, Zumba is an exercise fitness program formed by Alberto “Beto” Perez, a Colombian dancer and choreographer. The birth of Zumba was the result of “a happy accident” that later turned into a dance/fitness program and becoming a successful international business.
Perez, the choreographer, was teaching an aerobics class in his hometown in Colombia. He started playing out Latin music one day when he had forgotten his regular set of music for the class. The dance picked up its popularity as many people enjoyed dancing to the Latin rhythms of salsa and merengue music, according to womensfitnessclubs.com.
Sidney Shifflet, a BYUH student double majoring in political science and peacebuilding from Colorado, said she learned about the event by reading an email from Residential Life. Later, she heard music playing out loud at the Hale Pavilion. “I was staying inside my dorm and I figured, ‘Why not?’ So, I came down, started dancing and had a good time.”
Shifflet added how just being able to dance brought fulfillment. “When you combine exercise and dance, it’s awesome! The teacher was super hype the whole time ... It was all Latino music, so I was very excited.”
Sister Uyehara shared how their team wanted to have a hale activity that would bring both new and on-going students together. She then was approached by her residential advisors who thought of organizing a Zumba night. Sister Uyehara said she has a daughter-in-law who was a Zumba instructor and was happy to teach.
She also explained how her RAs put in the request for the activity on the Engage Application and waited for approval. Once it was approved, they made posters, flyers and sent out emails to generate interest.
Hale 6 Residential Advisor Judy Soloai said it took 15 minutes to set up tables and refreshments. Soloai also explained the activity was celebrated by a good mix of seniors and freshmen students.
Soloai, a senior from New Zealand majoring in social work, said she posed the idea of Zumba to her hale coordinator, Sister Uyehara, after they had attended a Zumba class in town.
“Just seeing everyone laugh, having fun and trying … None of us were perfect, but we were all trying.”
According to organizers, the event attracted nearly 60 girls.