Hello. My name is Ona-Marie. I am a former ballroom and latin dance instructor. I have worked for small independent studios and for the well known franchise, Arthur Murray. I also had my own studio, Latin Vibe, where my partner and I taught latin club dances, specifically On 2 style salsa/mambo, bachata, merengue and cha cha. Dance has been a big part of my life for many years, but I had to stop teaching when I was pregnant with my first child. I had gained a decent amount of baby weight, which I couldn't seem to lose (mostly because I hated to exercise) and stayed away from dance floors for a few years - until I found Zumba.
FOUR YEARS LATER
I remember watching that first Zumba class. I was at the studio waiting for my daughter while she took ballet. I could hear the latin music coming from another class and had to check it out. It was Zumba! I had heard about it, but had never seen it before. I watched in total jealousy as the women in the room were dancing and shaking it and having a blast. I was about 6 months pregnant with my second child at the time. For the next few months it was complete torture to go to the studio every Saturday with my daughter and watch this party that I was unable to join. I couldn't wait to deliver the baby and get to class. A few months later I had my second healthy beautiful daughter and then waited the required 8 weeks to exercise before I stepped onto the Zumba floor.
Even with my dance background my first class wasn't easy. I felt winded and had to cheat my way through the workout. You know that thing where you stand waiving your arms instead of doing a real jumping jack, thinking the instructor can't see you? Yeah, that was me. I also felt uncoordinated and jiggly in all the wrong places, but I kept going. I quickly learned two things. #1 - It's not a competition. Nobody was judging what anyone else was doing in class. #2 - This workout was for me and I was going to get out only what I put in. So, I pushed myself a little further each week and built up my stamina. Before long I was rockin the class and my instructor convinced me to get certified.
I met the amazing Tanya Beardsley who was my Zumba trainer and she changed it all for me. I can't explain it, but those of you who have met her know what I mean. She transfers her energy and courage directly to you. Following her advice, I pursued certifications in First Aid and Fitness and started working on my choreography. I have never looked back.
I like to incorporate a little of everything I know in my hour for you. You may, for example, learn some cha cha steps or salsa shines during my class. You may also laugh a lot as I can be quite a goofball. You will no doubt do many many squats, so get your glutes ready!
I've been very lucky to have had women who inspire me and I'm ready now to pass that on. I hope you enjoy my classes. Please feel free to provide feedback. I welcome it as I am always looking to improve, just please be kind.
See you on the floor!