Zumbathon emcee April Lyn (right) joins instructors Sareena Nickoli and Patty Bunten as they gear up for  Zumba for a Cause benefitting the Vernon Jubilee Hospital maternity ward Sept. 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Vernon Recreation Centre.

Zumbathon emcee April Lyn (right) joins instructors Sareena Nickoli and Patty Bunten as they gear up for Zumba for a Cause benefitting the Vernon Jubilee Hospital maternity ward Sept. 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Vernon Recreation Centre.

Zumbathon shakes it up for a cause

Zumba is the dance fitness program for just about everyone.

Zumba is the dance fitness program for just about everyone.

“You can’t help smiling when you Zumba. The music and the energy are there and people of all ages and any dance experience can do it. It’s a great way to express yourself to music and work out,” said Sareena Nickoli, who is organizing her third Zumba for a Cause Zumbathon to benefit the Vernon Jubilee Hospital maternity ward Sept. 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Vernon Recreation Centre.

More than 200 people came out for the second annual Zumbathon last year and Nickoli is hoping for 300 for this year’s event to bring the total contribution, now at $8,320 for two years, to more than $10,000 total for the three years she committed to doing the Zumbathon.

“Zumba has caught on and it’s here to stay. There are so many different ways to do it and it can be done to music from Latin, to Bollywood, to belly dance to anything an instructor wants to do the choreography for. Beginners can enjoy it because you don’t need to get the step perfect to get the benefit — it’s a good workout that burns 600 to 800 calories an hour — and there are always new steps to learn as people get more experienced so it’s always challenging,” said Nickoli.

“We invite women and men, we have had men in the past, to come out and support this great cause. It’s a fun family activity and I have quite a few mother-daughter pairs in my classes. It’s a good way for anyone who was thinking of trying Zumba classes to get the feel and the vibe of it.”

Nickoli recently attended a Zumba convention in Florida with more than 6,000 Zumba instructors from around the world. She was one of only 70 Canadians attending and one of nine who qualified as a Zumba jammer, which means she can teach choreography to other instructors and is qualified to do so anywhere in the world. She is planning jam sessions for the fall.

Nickoli, an Excel Fitness instructor, will be joined at the Zumbathon by instructors from Fitness West, GoodLife Fitness, Kal Fitness and Ladies World Health and Fitness, who will lead the sessions and do demonstrations.

“People can take part at their own pace and take a rest when they need to. This is a great chance to see all the different music and dance traditions that can be adapted for Zumba,” said Nickoli.

Zumba for a Cause is sponsored by Fitness West and City Furniture. The event includes door prizes. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets are available at City Furniture (downtown location), Fitness West (south location), the VJH Foundation office at the hospital and Ladies World.

For more information contact Nickoli at sareena@zumba4u@hotmail.com.