With dance moves including the Charleston and the Grapevine, the Waxahachie Senior Center Zumba class fits the bill for getting in shape while having fun, and one of its newest students, Christine Block, can’t help but spread the message.

The Waxahachie resident and several of her friends were looking for a way to get in shape this summer, and they stumbled across this opportunity.

The trio, which consists of two teachers and a librarian who work for the Waxahachie Independent School District, recently discovered this destination that has turned into the perfect answer.

“I’ve come to stay in shape, get some balance and lose some weight,” Block said. “Now that they’ve dropped the age limit from 55 to 50, I can join. We’ve got all ages here, and it’s a happening place.”  

Robyn Dunaway, one of Block’s teaching buddies, feels right at home in this class because she said there’s no pressure added.

“It’s a wonderful place,” Dunaway said. “What a fun group, and I don’t worry about keeping up with the steps. The instructors make it fun, and we forget we’re exercising.”

Tila Gomez is the third member of their exercise group, and even though today was her first Zumba class, she joined the center last week and is already seeing a difference.   

“I just found out about this place, and I love their fees,” Gomez said. “They are cheap compared to having to pay $40 something a month. Of course you have to be over 50 to join, but it has been a year and a half since I’ve done anything like this, and I’m already seeing a difference in my energy level.”

A mother and daughter team instructed Tuesday night’s class, and the two   encouraged their students to have attitude as they swayed and shook the jingles on their hip scarves. It was evident the main requirement was to have fun.

Suzann Hyles, the elder of the two, explained why this class is a success.

“We’ve had several clients come in who took Jazzercise, and they absolutely love it,” Hyles said. “Our philosophy for Zumba is to have a good time. Yes, you’ll lose weight, yes, you’ll get fit, but the best thing is the people smiling and laughing. If you’ll notice the people were smiling and talking before the class and then after too and that’s what you want. There needs to be a warning though that says this is highly addictive, and once you come, you’re hooked.”  

Casey Holden, her daughter, is in agreement with these observations.

“We like to play songs that people can relate to,” Holden said. “That makes people not be self conscious, shake their bottoms and have a good time. It’s a big party atmosphere, and the more the merrier.”  

Jeanne Smiles, the senior center director stressed that this class is designed to bring energy to the students’ as they stay fit.

“We have Zumba classes here six days a week,” Smiles said. “The evening classes are designed for those who work and don’t get off until five. The classes are modified so that everyone can do them.”

She added that the center was opened in 2009, and many people still don’t know what is offered there.  

“We offer so many things for the 50 and over group at such a reasonable rate,” Smiles said. “There is no pressure here, and it’s all like being part of a big family.”

Block admits that she was one of those people who had no idea what opportunities existed at the center, and she’s thrilled to be in the know. She is also hoping the evening classes will continue, so that when school resumes, she and her friends can still be part of this class.

“We’re hoping that the center stays open on Tuesday and Thursday evening as well as Saturday when school starts back up,” Block said. “This is a happening place, and it’s great to see where are tax dollars are going.”

And, that hope will indeed become a reality Smiles confirmed. The center recently did a survey of its members, and it has been determined that the evening hours will remain for winter; however, the Saturday class will not be offered.

“In September we will go back to our winter hours, but we’ll still have classes available for those who work,” Smiles said. “We don’t want to exclude anyone who wants to be a part of what we have here, and we hope that others find their way through our doors.”

The Zumba class is one of many that are offered at the Waxahachie Senior Center at 122 Park Hills Drive. Right now it takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday and also at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. But as mentioned the weekend class will not be offered once the winter schedule starts.

If you would like more information about this class and other ones that are offered at the center, call 972-937-8271 or check out www.waxahachie.com/seniorcenter.

Follow Colleen on Facebook at www.facebook.com/colleenhorningwdl or contact her at 469-517-1452 or colleen.horning@wninews.com.