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Thursday, 09 June 2011 13:56

Endorphins running wild at Zumbathon

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By Ryan Dahlman — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Those people who participated in the June 3 Zumbathon at the Swift Current Recreation Centre probably still have that extra spring in their steps. Christine Ciona sure does.


As one of the organizers of the event and one of the leaders on stage, Ciona never imagined the turnout for the fundraiser would be so high. All she and organizers Kristin Friesen and Staci Schaitel wanted to do was to get some people out to take part in zumba while at the same time, raise money for the upcoming Swift Current version of the local chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. The relay takes place June 11 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. at Riverside Park.

As a cancer survivor herself, having overcome non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Ciona was not only interested in helping the cancer society, but also just wanted to get people feeling good.

“I didn’t put out a dollar figure. I just wanted people to celebrate life and celebrate vitality,” explained Ciona, whose enthusiasm for life is infectious. “I’m so happy … the power of that night and getting people to celebrate the power of living (was amazing).”

Friesen agreed the evening was amazing. What surprised her was the amount of effort put into it by the participants and the fact there was people of all ages including a lot of children taking part.

“While we were up there leading, I’m looking out to the crowd and there was not many people stopping,” said an amiable Friesen. “When I needed a break and I was going to stop, they kinda kept going so I thought ‘I can’t stop (either).’”

One hundred and twelve participants came out to the event and $1,200 was raised for the Relay for Life. Ciona said they had people from four to 82 years of age dancing and jumping.

Zumba is a fitness program which involves dancing and was created in Columbia. It incorporates many different types of Latin and American dance steps.

Ciona is a certified instructor and said her regular Zumba classes are increasing in popularity. Still, she took a “leap of faith” in co-organizing the event. She wasn’t sure what the response would be.

“I wasn’t sure if there’d be 20 or 50. I remember people were coming early and then there was a line-up outside to get in,” recalled Ciona with excitement. “I was crying before (the event started). It was very powerful.”

The Recreation Centre floor was full of willing bodies, a rather daunting picture looking at the crowd.

“I wasn’t intimidated at all,” added Friesen who has also led classes before. “I had so many people going ‘why is it so fun and addicting? You’re meant to move with it...I fell Zumba mixes other dances well...we’re not taught how to dance anymore. With Zumba you can shake it like you’ve never been able to before. The music is awesome, you have to move and you can do it at your own level.”

Ciona said she had people coming up to her after, relaying their stories about how they danced for two hours straight and loved it. For Ciona, it was mission accomplished. She, Schaitel and Friesen wanted people to have fun, leave the negativity and just try to feel good in a natural way, not use artificial  fixes to feel good. Zumba help keep the body healthy.“People are drawn to things that are from the heart,” explained Ciona. “(On the weekend), people were ‘kicking it.’”

Kristen Friesen helps lead the class Sunday night at the Recreation Centre. All photos by Kevin Friesen


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