Dancing into Fitness

by Sarah Owen

“We are strong. We are beautiful. We are important,” This is how Sara del Castillo ends each of her Zumba class. She offers free Enrichment classes, every Monday and Wednesday at 8 p.m in the aerobics room. She describes Zumba, a Latin dance based exercise, as “an intense cardio workout for an entire sixty minutes.” As part of the Enrichment series, she upholds her mantra in every class.

“I try to stress positive body image, try to make my students feel really comfortable. I want it to be an environment where people not only feel physically healthy, but can also feel good about their bodies and release endorphins in a way that’s not just running on a treadmill,” del Castillo explains. Del Castillo invites anyone—even boys—to come join Zumba. She adds, “I am always here for questions and ideas. I really want people to come hang out!”

Although a long-time soccer player, del Castillo says, “I’ve never done something so intense for an hour until I’d done Zumba.” “I fell in love with the music and the dancing. It’s just such a positive energy.” Zumba has allowed her to not only get fit but also build community and even help raise money for charity by hosting a Zumbathon.

“I think the goal of fitness should not be first and foremost to change your body or change the way you look. It should be about the way you feel—more energized, stronger—instead of just to look better,” she said.

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