Ready to Zumba tonight?

Chanelle Benally is the newest addition to the fitness world of Cortez. She offers Zumba classes at Come Dance Tonight. Enlargephoto

Courtesy Photo

Chanelle Benally is the newest addition to the fitness world of Cortez. She offers Zumba classes at Come Dance Tonight.

Chanelle Benally has been a Zumba instructor since August 2012, when she decided after two years of participating in Zumba classes, she would instruct them herself. Originally from Gallup, N.M., Benally loves the challenge and fun Zumba brings to fitness. She received her instructor's certification in Grants, N.M.

What led you to become a Zumba instructor?

I have been doing Zumba for two years and the results have been great. I feel more energized, happy and I'm leading a more healthy lifestyle. I wanted to bring this fun, calorie burning program to others so that they can feel good about themselves too. The more classes I attended and all the instructors I met, I got the urge to do it myself.

What are the benefits of Zumba?

The benefits of Zumba is that it helps you to relax by moving to music and letting your worries and stresses release. It's good to have fun while working out and meeting new people. Not only does it promote fitness but you get to have fun in the process. And you will gain a family. A Zumba Family.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

I enjoy seeing my students leave my class with a smile, laughing and they come back knowing that we will have fun. Seeing those results in my students brings a sense of accomplishment that I have provided them with a workout they enjoy and for an hour they were able to let loose and have fun.

What can be discouraging for new students trying out Zumba?

The challenge of Zumba Fitness, my students have told me, is getting the coordination down. My advice to them, and to anybody who is new to Zumba, is to take it at your own pace. I work with my students at getting footwork down and when they feel comfortable we add the arm movements to the routine. Soon they are adding their own personalities into the routine!

What are your goals for your future as a fitness instructor?

My ultimate goal is to at least be half as good of an instructor as my past instructors are. Having taken their classes, I was inspired to get certified as an instructor and do what I love. Being an instructor myself now, I now know why they love to bring Zumba to others. It's an exciting workout yet it's a dance party.