By Jackie Stone
The Cove Herald
Instead of spending their Tuesday morning behind a desk at school as usual, a handful of Copperas Cove children last week instead learned to shake it to the drum-heavy beat of world music and the bell-like tinkle of coins on gypsy scarves.
With students free from school for spring break, the Copperas Cove Armed Services YMCA took the opportunity to try out one of the latest workout crazes on a younger crowd.
The 14 children and young adults who attended the first zumba class moved to the beats and excitedly ran to tell their parents when they accomplished a new move.
Zumba is a Latin dance workout that combines elements of salsa, meringue, bellydancing and several other styles of dance.
Jeannette Brown, who teaches the zumba class for adults at the Cove YMCA, said she wanted to try the class out with the kids and see about getting it set up for summer classes as well.
"It gives them something to do other than just sit at home, and it keeps them active," she said. "Hopfeully, we can bring it for them (in the summer) and get them excited, because the music is really fun."
Several gyms and activity centers around the area now offer zumba classes alongside other popular workouts like yoga and kickboxing.
"It's a fun little workout," Brown said. "You'll come in here stressed out from work and leave in such a happy mood."
Brown, 38, said an adult can burn from 500 to 1,000 calories in a regular workout, and she estimates children could burn around 300 calories if they commit to the dances.
As the group of children as young as 4 mimicked the pointed toe hip shakes, and energetic jumps on Tuesday, several mothers who have been trying zumba themselves watched from the sidelines.
Sherry Haslach brought her two children Hunter, 7, and David, 4, so they could try out what mom has been doing at the adult classes.
Haslach had never tried a dance workout before, and said at first it was daunting but then she got into it.
"It's fun, it's stress relieving, and it motivates you," she said.
Haslach said she has seen as many as 50 people attend the class, with women of all ages from teens to a grandma. She said she planned to bring her children back to the other zumba kids class on Thursday.
"At least this is good for spring break to get them out here," she said.
Elizabeth Conway has also been attending the adult classes to lose weight after her fifth child was born three months ago. Her two daughters Hailey, 5, and Amanda, 4, joined in excitedly for the dance class.
"They watched me do it one day and they went home and showed my husband," she said. "They just wanted to dance like me."
Brown said now that they've tried out the class over spring break, she wants to get it added to the list of programs the ASYMCA offers for children during the summer.
ASYMCA Copperas Cove director Doreen Vasseur said the Cove center will announce its summer programs sometime in the next month, but they usually include sports and dance camps for children.
Fees to join the programs are lower for ASYMCA members. The Cove center opened its new fitness center in September of last year and has somewhere between 250 and 300 members, Vassuer said.
The Cove ASYMCA on Clara Drive offers hourlong adult zumba classes Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. and on Saturdays at 10 a.m. Brown also teaches zumba twice a week at the Copperas Cove Senior Center.
Contact Jackie Stone at email@example.com or (254) 501-7474. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcoveeditor.