10 years ago, I lost my job and was going through anxiety and depression from my circumstances at that time. Someone told me about the latest fitness craze called Zumba, because they knew I have always loved dancing. So I dragged my sad self to my first class and literally fell in love right away!

I made up my mind right then and there to enrol in the training to become an official Zumba instructor. The first opportunity I got was on the 24th of July in 2010, ran by the amazing Maria Teresa Stone. She was the first Zumba Education Specialist to introduce the fitness program in New Zealand and Australia.

As soon as I completed my training, I worked hard to set up the business straight away. I knew I didn’t want to work for someone else in gyms. I wanted to be my own boss and run my classes my own way. So glad I did, because I wanted it to be much more than a place where you arrive, do your workout and leave. It was about women (and a few men from time to time) taking that step to get dressed in their active wear, arrange to leave their children, spouses, aged parents, pets – or anyone else they usually look after, for that one hour to get the “ME” time we all deserve. We have built a sense of community, support network and valuable friendships by sharing the joy of moving together in that happy hour.

Through my 10 years, my passion for the program has not waned, despite the many ups and downs. There have been people who come and go, at least 20 who I have mentored and encouraged to become instructors themselves. Most I don’t hear from anymore, but I still wish them well and have no regrets. Sharing this passion of mine gives me so much joy – whether you just want to dance with me or teach it yourself. It all comes back in many other ways – I have been blessed a hundredfold. The best example is where I’m at in this challenging time where a pandemic has swept the world. I had my share of feeling defeated and lost…yet my loyal supporters were still there.

I ran virtual classes from the living room, they didn’t let me dance alone. As soon as the restrictions eased and our hall reopened this month, my biggest problem has been letting people know they have to go on the waiting list because the classes are always at full capacity, due to the new maximum number allowed per class. I am so grateful for all your support!

To my beloved “Zeeps (aka Zumba peeps): you keep me going. Feeling your energy and enthusiasm at my classes give me the fuel to continue doing more of what I love.

You all know my second love is to organise special events for every Zumba anniversary. Alas, everything is on hold while the world is healing. I know we will find a way to celebrate this milestone somehow. Just you showing up with a smile and joy in your hearts when we dance together tells me I made the right career change 10 years ago. My heart is full, thanks to all of you. Cheers to one decade of happy dancing…and here’s to many, many more!

Amor, amore, pag-ibig, love Nina

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