I was particularly thrilled to get to interview Gina Goon, whom I met through Z Club NY, and quickly became one of my closest friends. Gina embodies the Zumba energy of positivity, community, support, and love and is always a delight to every instructor whose class she steps into. She shares some of her journey, and how Z Club NY has helped her meet her goals and step more fully into her beautiful self… – by Yali Szulanski for Z Club NY.
How has taking classes with Z Club NY benefited your life?
Taking classes at Z Club NY really has improved my life in so many ways. I’ve truly made life long friends, I’ve rediscovered my passion for dance and most importantly it gives me a chance to spend even more time with my amazing sister!
What inspires you to succeed in class and in your life?
I’m getting married in October and also turning the big 4-0 in November so staying fit and healthy is a top priority. I waited a long time to find my soul mate and I want to make sure that I’m around a really long time to enjoy it! Plus he likes it when I “shake my jingles” (yes those actual words came out of his mouth).
How has Zumba/Z Club NY supported your health and fitness goals?
I was always the “chubby, funny friend” growing up and it wasn’t until after college that I decided to make a change. Thankfully I lost weight and have been able to keep it off for the most part since then but I couldn’t find an exercise program that kept my interest longer than a few months. Then I took an Irena Meletiou Zumba class and it was like things really fell into place. It was challenging and fun and I’ve been hooked on Zumba ever since.
What have you learned about yourself through taking classes at Z Club NY?
Through Zumba and in particular Z Club NY I’ve found a confidence in myself that I wouldn’t have otherwise found. I’ve always loved to dance but through these classes and with these instructors in particular I have been able to just let loose and let movement take over. Every class feels like a celebration!
How did you come across Z Club NY and Zumba in general?
I came across Z Club NY through Irena Meletiou. I basically followed her and then was able to find so many amazing instructors!
Which classes/instructors are your favorite? Why?
Irena Meletiou: I will always credit Irena with making me a better dancer and pushing me to believe in my abilities. When I first took her class I was so winded and could barely keep up but I loved it! As I started learning each of her dances, I felt such a sense of accomplishment – still do. I will forever credit her for instilling the confidence I have in every class i take. If I can master a Meletiou choreo I can do anything. Irena is the fiercest there will ever be – bar none.
Irina Peschan: Afro fusion burn makes me feel good on the inside and out. It is demanding both physically and mentally and every class is a challenge to get the movements down just right. Irina is a beautiful ray of sunshine and fosters the most amazing atmosphere – it truly is like dancing with family. I am honored to call Irina an inspiration, a mentor and most importantly a dear friend.
Jamie Forward: Jamie is my energizer bunny of laughs and fun – I love her. Besides being absolutely gorgeous, she’s also an absolutely gorgeous dancer and person. Her choreo is so cardio heavy but it’s still beautiful which is a great combination. She has quickly become a Z Club NY favorite for a reason – girl is just awesome!
Xavier Marzan: what a wonderful ambassador for Z Club NY. Xavier makes every single person who takes his class feel special and he has the most wonderful personality! It is impossible to walk out of his class and not smile. Plus he is a beautiful dancer and his love of dance is evident in every movement.
Christopher Vo: I always felt like I was in a Broadway show when I was in Chris’ class! He is so fun and energetic and such an amazing dancer! His smile and energy are truly infectious – his class is just pure joy!
What is something unique about yourself that you’d like to share?
I obtained my first ever passport last year and already have four stamps in it! Watch out world – I’m coming!