I am thrilled to share Niambi ’s special and empowering journey through Zumba. Niambi started taking Zumba at age 39. After having two kids, she learned that her body could do amazing things. Zumba became essential in her quest to rediscover what her body could do for her and reboot her fitness by 40. Niambi creates unique and exciting blends – in everything from body butters to candles – through her beautiful business, Bloomsbury Sq. Through her journey she has learned that “people like unique, exotic, trends. But what they connect with is something real…” – by Yali Szulanski for Z Club NY.
How did you come across Z Club NY and Zumba in general?
My mom, who is a beautiful woman who has never felt at ease in her own skin, mentioned Zumba to me. I had inherited her skewed body image and eating cheats, so I was blown away when on a visit home to Kentucky, I went with her to a holiday ball and watched her dance to every song. I mean, the woman was doing a 60-yr old’s rendition of Beyonce’s “Girls”! When I asked her where she got those moves, she tossed out a simple – “Zumba, Girl!” I had never heard of it. I didn’t even know how to spell it. When it was time for me to make some changes, I thought about my mom and had a flashback to that moment – to how she carried herself as though she’d finally discovered the beautiful woman I had always seen. So I Googled Zumba and NYC – and Voila!
How has Zumba /Z Club NY supported your health and fitness goals?
The caliber of the classes at Z Club NY is much higher than what I’d taken before. This means that now I am in MUCH better shape. I’ve lost all my baby weight from both pregnancies. The compliments around this were nice (who doesn’t love that?), but what I really enjoy is that everything in my daily life became easier. Getting dressed is easier because I don’t have to try on four different outfits; keeping up with my kids is easier because I have the energy to match them now. I’m not nearly as moody because I have a way to sweat out my stress and sleep better. Thank God, I even had enough energy to get my flirt back!
How has taking classes with Z Club NY benefited your life?
Z Club NY has also changed my life because it has connected me with people who are also digging deep and making profound life changes. After my 2008 move back to the US from Paris, 2 births, and a career U-turn, I have already had my fair share of “Change”. Once everything had settled down, I took a hard look at how I treated myself and that I had become disconnected with myself. I’ve basically rebuilt my life around my well-being and I’ve been able to share that experience with other students who walk alongside me on that path. Plus, getting fit with others makes everything so much lighter. I’m 40 years old and I don’t know if I’ve ever had so much fun.
What inspires you to succeed in class and in your life?
I love a challenge. When I see choreography for the first time, I just start laughing because I don’t know if my body will even move that way. While I know that my body won’t move like the instructor’s, I trust that I’ll figure out how to do it so that it gets the movement and the music inside of me, in my whole self. I’m hard-wired to see connections everywhere, so I definitely feel the connection between having a more confident dance style and more confidence in daily life. I’ve also learned that embracing your talents isn’t ego-ripping, but it’s really about accepting your gifts and figuring out how to share them with others and make the most of them. That’s been so important for me this past year because I’m running my own business. Before, I’d wring my hands wondering why others weren’t doing it, or feeling very self conscious about creating something new. Now, when I have an idea I go for it and put it out there because I know that I’m going to make mistakes, but that eventually I will succeed. It’s ok to think and live in broad strokes and even when you make mistakes.
Which classes/Instructors are your favorites? Why?
Well, technically-speaking, Irina Peschan’s choreography is fierce. Dope. Bananas! I’ve been dancing since I was three – that’s a ton of dance classes. Movement has always been my touchstone. Irina is one of the most skilled movement teachers I’ve had – African, Cuban, fitness, or otherwise. I’ve heard her describe African Dance as having the feeling of flying. This is something she definitely brings out into Afro Fusion Burn. Every time I walk into the studio, I wonder where she’s going to take it today. The woman takes flight and she pulls us along with her. That, by itself, is super fun. Then, there are also these moments where it’s not just about the movements – but also about what she wants us to get out of the class. In one class, she stopped everyone and said, “Be messy! Don’t be polite about it. Just dig in and groove, people!” I honestly dance differently after these talks – she gives me permission to let go. I love that Irina’s class takes on her personality.
What is something unique about yourself that you’d like to share?
I think what surprises people most about me is that I’m a closet introvert. There are a lot of things on the surface that I can just whip out at a cocktail party. I’m left handed, I’m from Kentucky, I was born on Christmas, I lived abroad for over a decade. I’ve travelled to a lot of fascinating places like India, Morocco, Turkey, and Iran. I’m really proud of that. How many folks get to dance in the sacred square of a Sufi temple, or spend a month trying to figure out a headscarf and still be as fashionable as a career woman in Tehran? In reality, my shyness comes from the fact that I’ve always thought of myself as being extremely ordinary. So, I’d go off and do fascinating things to create a wholehearted life. What has surprised me the most about myself lately is that, even while I’m still rooted in my community with two kids, a husband, a mortgage, and the routine of small business, I’m a pretty interesting person on my own. In fact, I express it through my business. Through my bath and body products, I am exploring how to meet peoples’ need for unique and exotic trends, but also have them connect with something real.
To find out more about Bloomsbury Sq. Bath and Body, please visit www.bloomsburysq.com or Facebook/Bloomsbury Sq. Come visit us at the Give Love / Grow Love DIY Spa Social in Hoboken, Feb 12th 6:30-8:00pm.