Dance dance Spanish revolution

Torch Coverage

Story by Trevor Melsha / video by David Hynek

The popular Latin dance craze ‘Zumba’ made its way into Kennedy High School on May 17. Spanish teacher Jan Perkins introduced her students to Zumba by having her classes dance in the Black Box for her daily class periods.

Some of Perkins’ students who had prior dance experience stood in the front of the room so they could aid their classmates as the dance instructor gave directions. No matter what students’ prior dancing was, everyone was sweating due to the demanding choreography.

Zumba originated in Columbia and was created on accident by Alberto Perez in the mid 1990’s. Perez taught an aerobics class in Columbia and one day forgot his music. He then improvised by using upbeat Latin dance music he had in his bag and had the class start dancing along to it. Today, Zumba classes are taking place all over the world.

Perkins introduced her Spanish classes to Zumba because she likes to get the students out of the classroom and know the language is more than just papers. Perkins did this with her classes because she wants to show culture behind the language and show that Spanish has depth.

The dancing at Kennedy was instructed by Christine Lenhardt, a Kennedy graduate who was also on the Cougar dance team. Lenhardt likes Zumba because after a series of knee injuries and surgery, she still wanted to dance. She found Zumba to be a low-impact way to be able to dance and exercise at the same time. She is a registered Zumba instructor and teaches class three times a week.