Anna Baldwin, one of our newest smiling additions to the Z Club NY family says that dancing was born into her soul – she was always surrounded by a vibrant culture of music, dance, and passion. She has shared her talents internationally, while honing and cultivating her style throughout her career. Her students describe her as radiant, energetic, passionate, and encouraging. She says that when Zumba® “found her,” it brought her love and passion together in one class. Here, she shares more about her journey and personal sources of inspiration…. — by Yali Szulanski for Z Club NY.
WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?
Dance was never a conscious choice for me; it was something that was born into my soul. Growing up in Mexico, I was always surrounded by a vibrant culture of music and dance fueled by an unexplainable ancient passion. As a young child I would perform for my family, and could never feel as fulfilled by anything compared to the joyful smiles on their faces watching me. As I grew up that craving for sharing such joy and elation never faded, and I continued to pursue a career in dance.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CONTINUE DANCING?
As a young adult I enjoyed many professional jobs in the industry, dancing hip hop for many artists throughout the country of Mexico, and made the choice to share my talents internationally. I had no choice but to follow my heart to New York. I continued to train and work with some of the best dancers at Alvin Ailley and Broadway Dance Center.
HOW DID YOU COME TO TEACH?
Those teachers were an important inspiration in my life. Their gift to me through teaching was something that I would like to give back as well.
HOW DID ZUMBA® AND Z CLUB NY ENTER YOUR LIFE?
A few years ago I became more interested in fitness, yet I still had that craving for the fulfillments that only dance could provide. I found Zumba®, or should I say Zumba® found me. I was at the gym and attended a class. The dance, the joy, the smiles, they were all there….filling my soul once again. I knew then, that this was what I had to do. I began my training and haven’t stopped since.
It was during a class I was subbing that a wonderful student suggested I teach at Z Club NY, and I was ecstatic, as my primary fitness love is Zumba®, and there is no better place than the center of it all. I am fortunate and excited to be welcomed into Z Club NY and look forward to continuing to share my passion and smile with the students and staff there.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU TEACH?
Every time I walk into my classroom and see my students smiling back at me, I feel that same inspiration that I did as a wide-eyed child. To feel like you’re having so much fun, staying in shape, and leading others in such a joyful environment is more rewarding then words can describe. I feel fulfilled.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE COMMUNITY IN YOUR CLASSES?
I love the sense of community that has developed in my classrooms. How, from the first day, I see the interactions between others, the friendships develop, that certain sense of family. I love to see the students that start out maybe a little shy, turn into Zumba® enthusiasts that keep coming back every class. I also love to see their grasp of the choreography. Starting timid, but then they become fierce and intense. But overall, always, it’s the smiles, always the smiles.
HOW DO YOU NOTICE GROWTH IN YOUR STUDENTS?
From class to class, whether it’s a physical change, a mental change, or a social change, my students get faster, stronger, learn more complicated choreography, or make a new friend. It’s very gratifying knowing that the results of my classes are more than one dimensional.
HOW HAS YOUR OWN PERSONAL JOURNEY IN LIFE SHIFTED THINGS FOR YOU?
I have no regrets in life. Good things happen, bad things happen. However it is always important to respect that all of the good and bad make us who we are. Learning from those experiences are what makes us better people. I love to smile, have fun, dance and be happy. Most importantly I love to share that with others.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM YOUR JOURNEY SINCE YOU BEGAN UNTIL NOW?
I think that life is what we make of it. We may not have choices in some things that happen to us, but we always have a choice in what we do, and to be happy. It’s up to us to figure out how, and choose not to be unhappy in the process. Zumba® is always an open door to be happy; it’s up to us to choose to step into that door. I chose to be happy, and I am proud to say my Zumba® door is always open. Smiles included.