Today I give kudos to 12 amazing college students who joined me for a 10-week class, Dance for Fitness, that wrapped up on July 14, 2009.

The class was held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings beginning at 6:30 a.m. The opportunity to teach this class, the first of its kind where I work, gave me a free pass to enjoy one of my favorite activities – dancing.

Every two weeks, before they got too comfortable, I introduced a new dance sequence that gave them a good workout, while aiming to push them slightly out of their fitness comfort zone. For example, we began with line dancing, which covered a myriad of dances, including an oldie (The Electric Slide), something new (The Cupid Shuffle) and not-so-new Detroit Hustle.

When possible, I tweaked the dances to make them more aerobically challenging, i.e., knee lifts vs. taps, etc.

I was pleasantly surprised at how the class became engaged and bonded as each week passed. In addition to line dancing, we covered Choreography Concepts (whereby the students produced three dance routines), Funk Aerobics, Dance Aerobics and ended with Zumba. Each student brought her special dance flavor, and by the end of 10 weeks, there wasn’t a shy student in the group.

A special thank-you to my girls: Stephanie Baker (who loved to dance), Venise Belin (taught class an African dance) Katrina Carrington (taught class the Detroit Hustle), Lizet Glenny (a petite Latina with big moves), Lauren Hamour (provided Bagels for class), Elsie Herrea (provided Latin music and flawless dance moves), Jennifer Lappin (the energizer), Janeia Newby (who had surgery and danced while sitting in a chair during recovery), Roshni Patel (overcame shyness and taught class an Indian dance), Kathryn Pegram (for daily humor and awesome Michael Jackson dance tribute), Pamela Robertson-Cousins (the mother of the group), Joanna Robinson (who drove all night to make the final 6:30 a.m. session) and Cynthia Smith who coordinated the class.

Although I’ll miss them all, it’s nice to now sleep past 4:50 a.m., at least until the next dance challenge.

Sondra E. Z. Hines is an adjunct professor of health and wellness at a community college and is certified to teach group fitness and Zumba. Email:

Sondra E. Z. Hines is an AFAA-certified group fitness instructor, Zumba instructor, workshop presenter and motivational speaker. A former adjunct professor, she has 15-plus years as a fitness instructor...

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