Arts & Culture / Mosaic / October 7, 2013

Lauren Langham leads exercisers, dancers

DanceWith five years of dance under her belt and even some experience instructing adults, this year’s Zumba instructor, freshman Lauren Langham, is more than up to the task.

During classes every Tuesday and Thursday from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Mirror Room of the E. & L. Andrew Fitness Center, she plans to offer her fellow Knox students a slice of what she has gained from the form over the years.

A dance fitness program developed in South America by Columbian dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez during the 1990s, Zumba was brought to the United States in 2001.

According to Langham, people were pleased by its similarity to dance and how they “didn’t really feel like they were working out.” It soon became a hit with those tired of the lackluster treadmill.

Langham came into the position at Knox after spotting a post for Zumba instructor listed in the job bank. Though intrigued, she was not certified, but encouraged by a suitemate to apply anyway. She did, and Coach Andrew Gibbons contacted her, assuring that the school would pay to get her certified and was interested in her experience.

“I got to talk to him about how, when I was a senior in high school,” she said, “I was a teacher’s assistant for my [physical education] teacher, and when she didn’t have a unit plan, I was always like, ‘Oh, I’ll just teach Zumba, I have my iPod.'”

Langham got started with belly dance, but  when her instructor recommended that she join Zumba, she fell in love with the form, going so far as to drop belly dance in order to focus her attentions there. Her instructor did the same and even recommended that Langham get certified, too.

“From there, I kind of branched out and tried other Zumba instructors,” Langham said. When one of these new instructors developed planters fasciitis, or inflammation of the bottom of the foot, she volunteered to teach the class.

“I loved helping other people learn the songs and just be a part of it,” she said of her time teaching adults at the Lifetime Fitness in Minnesota. “I love to dance. I’ve been on a dance team for about five years. And so, before Zumba, I would just take the dance stuff that I learned and do that in my kitchen. And with Zumba, it wasn’t so hard, it was just more fun.”

In her classes, she “plans to do a lot of fun music that people can sing along to [so that they] can get lost in the music. A lot of the stuff that I do, it’s about being healthy, like mentally, physically, emotionally. So a lot of the songs I have try to be more body-positive.”

She also incorporates partner songs, during which pairs will cheer on and support one another, among other things.

“I think it’s just cool to have someone there who’s got your back, and then you meet a new person that you might not have known very well before,” Langham said. “That’s what my instructors have done in the past and it’s something that I really valued, so I meant to carry it on.”

Kiannah Sepeda-Miller, Associate News Editor
Kiannah Sepeda-Miller is a senior majoring in anthropology-sociology and double minoring in journalism and English literature. She began writing for TKS during her freshman year and served as co-mosaic editor as a sophomore. Kiannah studied and reported in Morocco under Round Earth Media in the winter and spring of 2015 and was subsequently published in Al Jazeera. She completed an editorial internship at New York magazine the following summer.

Tags:  Alberto Perez Andrew Gibbons Lauren Langham South America Zumba

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