From shy participant to Zumba mentor
Desiree Shortland once hung at the back shy and embarrassed but now she’s all about fronting up and having fun.
The qualified Zumba dance instructor, who grew up in Tokoroa, will run her first class at the 1st Tokoroa Scout Hall tonight from 6pm until 7pm for a gold coin donation as a way of encouraging others to become more active and overcome personal setbacks.
It’s been no easy journey for Shortland though who for several years has suffered from back problems and weight issues.
‘‘I was limited to the exercise I could do and that is how I found Zumba and in 2015 after going to weekly Zumba classes I got my licence,’’ she said.
She said anyone can get involved with Zumba if they set their mind to it.
She never thought she would one day run her own class.
‘‘I was that person at the back of the class hoping no one would look at me. I went in shy and during my first class I couldn’t move the same way as others because I was so unfit,’’ she said.
‘‘I’ve been there so I know it can be daunting but there came a point where I thought ‘just let yourself enjoy the experience and let go’.’’
‘‘There are always lots of first timers and everyone has to start
‘‘As someone who has struggled throughout much of life with weight issues, Zumba has changed a lot for me.’’ Desiree Shortland
somewhere. Not everyone has the right moves but it is not about having the right moves, it is about having fun and being around people who are positive does rub off on you,’’ she said.
Shortland, who is now based in Hamilton, said the Zumba community has become like a second family to her.
‘‘I’ve made some great friendships in the Zumba community. There is no judgement, everyone is on the same level. You might be teaching but you are still on the same level as everyone else,’’ she said.
She said anyone from 20 plus was welcome to take part and there will be door prizes up for grabs. Classes will be $4 each week after the launch.
‘‘I like motivating, encouraging, and helping others. As someone who has struggled throughout much of life with weight issues, Zumba has changed a lot for me,’’ she said.
Zumba instructor Desiree Shortland is now offering weekly classes in Tokoroa.