Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Manitoulin Spotlight - Zumba with Casey Boisvert

One of my addictions is Zumba. I LOVE the energy and the music! My only problem these days is that I don't have time to drive to my Zumba lessons. Zumba DVDs it is, then. *sigh* It's not the same as taking a class with a Zumba instructor who has enough energy to keep the entire class dancing and having fun!  Let me tell you, Casey is has lots of great energy and her enthusiasm and passion for Zumba really show in her classes! She is so fabulous at what she does.

As part of my Manitoulin Spotlight this week, I want to introduce my Zumba instructor to you.

1. Briefly tell us about yourself. Where you live, what you love doing, hobbies, etc.
 My name is Casey Boisvert and I live in Little Current on Manitoulin Island. For the most part I have always been an Islander, despite being born in Sudbury, and the small stint I spent in North Bay getting my BA in Psychology and the Bachelor of Education Degree at Nipissing University. 
Right now I don't have a lot of time for hobbies since I am running a Service Canada Program in M'Chigeeng, tutoring, and running Zumba. I think given all that I do, it is safe to say that I love teaching in any capacity it comes in. I think I have always been a bit of a performer, and I am sure my family will attest to me loving attention, so this all seemed like a natural fit. It is such a powerful feeling knowing that you have helped a student learn something even in the smallest capacity, be it tieing there shoes, reading a few words, or making life decisions.
I used to love writing, poems mostly, as I felt that it was always a release of emotions. I love sports, and used to be involved in several volleyball leagues, and I played Ultimate this summer. I am trying to learn French as a second language right now, as I feel that this will benefit me and make me more employable with the Rainbow District School Board. I also fancy myself as a bit of a creative person, give me some crayons, scissors, or glue, and I am sure to be able to make something out of it. Of course, I have to listen to my music in order to come up with all these Zumba routines.

2. How did you end up as a Zumba instructor? Was it something you had always wanted to do?
I have always loved dancing. While living in North Bay I had the opportunity to sign up for a dance class. We loved it and I noticed that I had a natural ability to remember routines and keep the counts in my head. Due to a conflict with my volleyball schedule, I wasn’t able to sign up for this class the following year, so me and several other girlfriends looked elsewhere. We found a little dance studio downtown North Bay and they were offering something called Zumba. The price was right so we decided to try it. It is kind of funny to think back on now, but my friends always wanted to hide in the back, and I was always gung-ho to be up close to the teacher so I could get all the moves just right. My friends would often stand behind me and say things like how do you know what to do and I have just been watching her feet. Again, I seemed to be able to pick up the steps and remember the routines. Well as fate would have it, I moved back to Manitoulin and there was a woman on the Island who had just got her training to be an instructor. I thought, well I know what this is all about I am going to go out and have some fun. It wasn’t long after that the Instructor and I became friends, we were discussing music, I was making up some of my own routines to teach, and a few times she called on me to cover her class. Eventually, it was like why don’t you just become an instructor? So I did. I went to a CanFit Pro conference in Toronto, got stuck in a room with probably 500 other people, and became an Instructor. It wasn’t long after that that I started up my own classes and I have just hit my year anniversary this month since I began on my own. 
Zumba wasn’t something that I really planned on making a career out of. It was just a passion that I followed, and in all honesty, I thought that maybe I could use it as an in with schools on the Island to teach dance or drama programs. Even though it is hard work, I can’t really picture myself not doing it anymore. Any time a song comes on on the radio I am instantly mapping out moves in my head, the routines play over for songs I have already done, and given the opportunity and the audience I will bust out some moves just to show people what it is all about. 

3. For those unfamiliar with Zumba, could you explain what it is?
Zumba Fitness is a Latin inspired cardio dance fitness program is you want the official definition. But really what I like to tell people is that it is fun. A lot of people get too hung up on the word dance, but really we just get out there and move to the music. The music is loud and upbeat to make it feel like a party atmosphere and it is exercise in disguise. I think you just have to try it to get what it is because it means something different to everyone. Some I am sure like it for the party atmosphere and it is a mood elevator and stress reliever. Other like it because it has a social aspect to it. It is appealing because you are getting a great workout but having fun at the same time. There is great love and support in the room and really, everyone can do it. You don’t need any experience or special equipment. It works for people at all fitness levels and for people with any type of limitation. I always tell my first timers it about feeling the music and having fun, they know their limitations and restrictions and they can work within them. There is no wrong way to do Zumba because everyone has their own flavour to bring to the group. I always say if you smiled and had fun then you did it right. 

4. Quick! 5 reasons why you think people should take Zumba lessons!
- Great Workout
- Fun Atmosphere that is low risk (meaning that you can feel comfortable to try something new because everyone else is doing it with you, it doesn’t matter if it looks the same as someone else)
- It is for Everyone
- No special equipment or training required
- Breaks out of the normal routine, where else do you get to dance and shout out whenever you feel like it!

5. What's your favourite Zumba song/routine? (Is there a YouTube video you can recommend?)
I have done so many that it is hard to pick a favourite, and there are ones I like for different reasons. Some I like because they are the first ones I ever made, some I like because of the choreography and it is so cool watching a group of people come together to do your moves, and some are just crowd pleasers – when the song comes on you can see that they are excited, or they scream louder, or give a little extra of themselves to the music. I feed off their fun. I think last year one that everyone enjoyed was Moves Like Jagger, this year I feel like it is going to be Gangnam Style. 
There isn’t a video I would recommend watching, I make up most of my own routines, or sometimes for inspiration I watch other routines for new moves. I would just tell people to pick a song they like and type Zumba behind it. Or to just type Zumba on its own and there are going to be thousands of options that come up. This way they can get an idea of what it is all about. There are some really awesome routines out there, but there is a lot of junk too. The best way to really know is to try it yourself. 

6. Anything else you'd like to add or would like readers to know?
I often tell my first timers that it is going to feel overwhelmed the first time and probably a little lost and to at least give me two classes before they decided on whether or not this is for them. They are learning the routines for the first time and hearing the music for the first time so the learning curve is huge. I tell them that I do my best to verbally and visually prompt them so they should never feel like I am going to leave them alone to figure it all out. Everyone was once in their shoes, we all have to start somewhere. They shouldn’t feel like they look stupid because Zumba lets you add your own style to every move we do. And trust me everyone feels the way you do, but everyone is so focused on me and getting th moves they aren’t going to see how hard you are shaking your hips, or if your left arm went up first. I want everyone to feel comfortable with and love who they are, I am not here to judge, I love all of my Zumba-ers. Without them everything I have done wouldn’t be possible, without their energy, love, and support, I could have easily of given up. They are the reason I keep going, and I want them all to know that some days seeing them smile and hearing them cheer gets me through my day. I love hearing that they loved a song, had fun, or are achieving their weight goals. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that I am making a difference to someone one song at a time. 
Lastly, if you aren’t sure about a move, ask me. Teaching is what I do and I want you to feel like this is something you can do!

If you are on Manitoulin Island and are looking for a fun way to keep active, I would definitely recommend taking Casey's Zumba classes!  I'm so looking forward to my schedule slowing down so I can re-join the classes! Like I said, Zumba DVDs are great (love them), but the vibe from an actual Zumba class is beyond compare! Definitely an adrenaline rush!

For more info, check out zumba.com!


MrDisco said...

Those training vids are too intense for me!

Val said...

I love zumba too! Addictive!

Christine McN said...

:) Zumba's so fun that it doesn't feel like exercise!

Christine McN said...

I know! SO much fun!

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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