Saturday, May 20, 2017

Teacher stories 11: Zumba instructor Nichole Becker

For today's post, I interviewed Nichole Becker, who teaches Zumba classes at the Radisson in Grand Island, as well as various other places. The Zumbathon that Nichole organized will be held tomorrow at the Radisson. It will feature two hours of Zumba, a basket raffle, demonstration of different types of Zumba classes, and much more.  This is Nichole's story:

How did you get interested in teaching Zumba?

The gym I was a member of had classes. I just checked it out one day, and I fell in love. Plus I have a dance background. I grew up doing tap, jazz, ballet, and hip hop. I went to Miss Cathy’s on Grand Island. That’s where my daughter goes. She likes acro. She does tap, jazz, and acro.

I  was going to Best Fitness on Sheridan. There were Zumba classes and, after a couple of years of taking classes, I was thinking, "Why am I not teaching this?"

So funny story: Basically, I was having a pre-birthday meltdown, close to my 29th birthday. I was stuck in a job, and I wasn’t going any where. I asked myself, what do I love? I love dance and I love fitness, and Zumba gives me the opportunity to do what I love.  I work part time at night so my kids have never been in daycare. I am lucky to be with my kids all day.

How did you get the idea to do a Zumbathon?

Well it’s been on my mind for a while. I noticed how involved AnnMarie Salviski was with Relay for Life. We kind of tossed the idea of a Zumbathon to raise money, so I figured this was my way of contributing. I did it for my Grandma Sarah. She was diagnosed with breast cancer over 10 years ago, and she’s been in remission for a while now. Everyone knows somebody who has been affected by cancer, so I wanted to do what I could to raise money for the cause.

Tell me more about choosing a Zumbathon for your fundraiser.

There are two things that I am very passionate about: Zumba and my grandma.

I love Zumba, and I love my grandma, and this is a way for me to use my talent for Zumba to help support people like my grandma.

Also, there is NNF neurofibrosis, which is cancer in the brain. I know multiple children who are affected by that, as well. I just can’t imagine what they are going through. As a parent, that’s a whole other ballfield.

What is your teaching style like?

I have been described as energetic and intense in a good way. Not intense as in scary but intense as in it’s a party! We have a good time. A lot of my music is music that I get from Zumba. I try to incorporate a lot of different rhythms and I try to keep up with modern hits so it’s music people are also familiar with. Zumba has got 10 base styles. to name a few merengue, salsa, cumbia, and reggaet├│n. These are the four main dance styles that you learn when you become a Zumba instructor. There are tons more, including Bollywood and hip hop.

My Zumba slogan is ditch the workout; join the fun

Zumba is fitness in disguise.

What can people expect at your Zumbathon?

I’ve been to Zumbathons where it’s been Zumba for two hours. When you’re with people who are are doing it with you, it’s easier to find the energy. It really is. Also, this is what I am doing to keep it entertaining. Were not doing just Zumba. We’re going to have a Strong by Zumba demo and a pound demo. Pound is fitness incorporating drumsticks.

We have eleven other very talented instructors who are joining us for this Zumbathon. They are certified in different fitness formats that we will be seeing at this Zumbathon.

What kind of turnout are you expecting for the Zumbathon?

The dream is 50 people. Right now, we have about 30, but that includes the vendors.

What has putting a basket raffle been like for you?

It’s been hard work trying to get enough baskets to really get excited, but I finally got there with the help of some local businesses and good friends. We have about 50 baskets/gift cards for the raffle, so it’s a decent raffle. I had to hide baskets from kids and cat. It's just like when the Easter bunny visits. The basket with pet stuff barely survived the attacks of the excited seven-month old kitten.

What do you think about holding the Zumbathon at the Radisson?

The hotel has been super accommodating. They gave us the room at a discount, and they are donating refreshments so none of us will die! Fruits and veggies, cheese and crackers, and water are all going to be provided from Radisson.

When should people show up for the event?

Come on Sunday, May 21st . Doors open at 1 p.m. Tickets are available at the door. There are about 12 local vendors, who will also be set up. 95 Nutrition is going to be there, Mary Kay, Dove Choclolate, Sensei, Avon, and 716 fit kitchen .
Where will the proceeds from the fundraiser go?

All of the proceeds will be divided between Relay for Life and Hannah Boyer, a three year old, who is currently fighting a rare and aggressive form of leukemia. I went to school with her mom, Chandra.

(Note: According to the May 19th issue of the Island Dispatch, Hannah has been at St. Jude Hospital with her mom. She has been undergoing chemotherapy, and she needs a bone marrow transplant.)

If people would like to donate, how can they best do it? 

Any time after the event, people can donate directly to Relay for Life, which is scheduled for June 9th at Veterans Park in Grand Island, New York.

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