“Join the party.” Sonja Kapadia (’17) says this is the motto of the popular mix of upbeat dancing and hardcore workouts: Zumba. Dancing since the age of three, all different types of dance have been a big part of Sonja’s life, from ballet to hip-hop to everything in between. Sonja first tried Zumba when she was eight years old at the YMCA with her mom. Since then, she has loved it.
After Vivien Fergusson’s (’14) Zumba program ended when she graduated, Sonja said “when Vivien did her program here, I was really really interested in it and decided to bring it back as much as I could.” After working with Upper School Dean of Students Mark Palyo to get her class approved, and a grueling 10 hour, all-day instructor training in the fall, Sonja was ready to begin teaching two times per week to the Winter Fitness Class. Now, Sonja teaches twice a week: Tuesday from 4:30-5:30 and Friday from 3-4 in Centennial Hall. Her classes are open to all faculty, staff, and students.
Not everyone is rhythmically inclined, but Sonja says that’s fine: “I try to preface every class with, ‘To be honest I don’t care at all if you get the choreography or if you don’t [or] if you make up your own stuff, as long as you have fun and keep moving.’ That’s the most important part.” Because Zumba is so upbeat, Sonja says it is “fun first and exercise second, so you don’t realize how much you are moving until afterward, when you are dripping in sweat and you feel really good.”
Not only is Zumba a great means of exercise, but it also has a strong foundation based on positive body image. Sonja says “that really drew me to the program, besides the fact that I love dance, and it is such a big part of my life. But also just the fact that that is their mission to make people feel good about themselves and love themselves.”