5 Questions with a CYA Zumba Pro
For many CYA students, getting out and getting active is the best way to experience Athens, from jogs in the neighborhood to joining area sports groups to even running in the Authentic Athens Marathon. This fall, Reese Leanell, a fall semester student from Valparaiso University, organized another option worth dancing about: a Zumba class that meets in Ismene Hall! Drop by at Mondays at 7:30pm, and you’ll find students, led by Reese, shaking off Monday exhaustion to the sounds of energetic beats. Here, Reese talks about her background as a Zumba instructor, and how fitness is shaping her experience with CYA.
What are you studying? What brought you to CYA?
I am currently majoring in Sociology-Criminology and minoring in Communications. My free-spirited nature and curiosity is what brought me to CYA. I was in search of an adventure and I definitely believed I could and ultimately, found that here in Greece.
How long have you been doing Zumba? How did you become an instructor?
I have been doing Zumba since June of 2018. I’m not a dancer, but I definitely have always had a love for dance, as well as fitness. I was very athletically involved in high school and was worried about how I would be able to maintain that consistency in college. At the time, I was attending a Zumba class at my local gym back home. [I] instantly fell in love with it after the first class, which was expected since it combined two of my main/favorite hobbies. Going there, I would get so many compliments and people recommending me to become an instructor. I actually thought it was a great idea that I seemed to discover at the perfect time. I decided to attend an all-day training in Chicago and received my certificate at the end. Since then, I’ve been teaching classes at school and at my neighborhood gym and it has been so rewarding.
What inspired you to start a class at CYA?
The main reason was because I missed it SO much, along with the idea of how cool it would be to teach a class while abroad. I was also looking for ways to keep some money in my pocket. My family hasn’t always been the most financially stable, so coming here was most definitely a challenge and I wanted to be as independent as possible and contribute any way I could. Teaching a class here also aided me in maintaining a consistent workout schedule, as well as helping everyone else to acquire one that’s close by, for a drastically lower price than the local gym.
Have you been doing any other athletic or fitness activities while in Athens?
Other than Zumba, I’ve been going to the gym a few times a week. There, I joined a “Zumba” class called “Tumba” which I enjoy, as well as a tabata class, which is similar to circuit training. I would really like to go to the courts up the street and hoop with some people, but I’m not confident enough in my Greek to go there alone…Maybe one day.
What’s one thing you want to accomplish before leaving Greece?
The one thing I would like to accomplish before leaving Greece is building relationships that’ll last, despite distance and inconsistent communication. I would love to build international ties that I can always revisit; help me to stay connected to Greece while I’m in the states. I think that’s a beautiful way of “leaving your mark” someplace, by creating a shared energy with people that has a mutual impact on everyone’s lives.
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