It is my great pleasure and honor to share the unique and inspiring journey of Sara Stewart! Sara has been taking Zumba classes since 2010, when she first discovered them at Alvin Ailey. Through her journey and taking classes at Z Club NY, Sara has discovered herself as a dancer – she says, “I grew up as a singer, but who knew I was a dancer too!” I sat down with Sara and we chatted about her journey, her inspiration, and what fills her life with passion… – by Yali Szulanski for Z Club NY
How has taking classes with Z Club NY benefited your life?
Since August 2012 I have come down 30 pounds and I have to attribute a lot of that to Z Club NY. It’s when I arrived there that I really became focused and remained CONSISTENT in my efforts towards better health and body image. That was easy to do because going to classes at Z Club NY is so fun! I’ve also enjoyed the Master Classes that I’ve taken, ESPECIALLY the ones with the Salsa King!!
How has Zumba/Z Club NY supported your health and fitness goals?
I began Zumba because I needed to make a change in my life. I’ve always struggled with my weight and I was tired of being the “fat girl” in my group of friends. I was at the point of being depressed, not wanting to go out, not be in pictures etc. I just felt lousy in general. Sometimes I was consistent, other times I had long breaks of inactivity. Even in the times of inactivity it wasn’t that Zumba wasn’t fun, but I had just lost the personal motivation to keep working out.
August 2012 was the life-changer. I took Irina Peschan’s Afro-Fusion Burn one Sunday morning for the first time and was immediately hooked. I was so impressed with and drawn in by this little woman who could move her body the way she did. The music was also a draw… African music, Caribbean music, and the feel-good sounds that encourage you to move. Besides the instructor, Afro-Fusion Burn gives me such a great workout! I call it my endurance challenge for the week. Even after taking her class for over a year now I am still challenged, still getting my heart rate up, still learning new moves. I also take Irina’s “regular” Zumba class and I am equally in love.
I do have more weight to lose but I’m confident that it’ll come off in due time…I have found exercise that I love and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.
Which classes/Instructors are your favorites? Why?
I started to take other Z Club NY classes, and I still do, but Irina remains my favorite. She is charismatic, she smiles at us, encourages us to smile back. She tells us to dance and not just think of it like a workout. Each and every week that I come to that class, I want to move even better than I did the last time. If I’ve been doing a move for a while, Irina may point something out to me to change/improve on. Irina is also the reason I decided to get my Zumba Instructor license. I got so much encouragement and support from her. She genuinely cares about ALL of her students.
I also enjoy other Z Club NY classes, I really like LaShawn Jones who has such a bright and energetic aura, and her choreography is refreshing and easy to follow. Chris Vo is also someone who just fills up the room with such positive energy. You feel like you can just let go and dance in his classes.
How did you come across Z Club NY and Zumba in general? What is your favorite part about Z Club NY?
I found Z Club NY by chance! I did a google search trying to find the best Zumba classes in NYC. I love that Z Club NY offers so many classes and that they are all so accessible and fun! Z Club NY has so many great and inspiring instructors.
What is something unique about yourself that you’d like to share?
I sang choir from ages 5-18 and I was in the Chicago Children’s Choir. Being a part of that organization changed my life – it really helped shape me. I got to perform everywhere with them, locally and abroad and made lifetime friends.