Instructor finds fun and fitness in Zumba

Chanelle Benally is the Zumba instructor at Kaleidoscope. Enlargephoto

Special to the Times

Chanelle Benally is the Zumba instructor at Kaleidoscope.

Dancing has long been considered a good workout, and the Zumba classes at Kaleidoscope fit right in.

Zumba is a dance that originated in Colombia, South America, so it has a Latin feel to it. "It's an exciting dance-inspired workout," said Chanelle Benally, Zumba instructor here in Mancos.

Benally started having Zumba classes in December of 2012 at Kaleidoscope, mainly because she wasn't able to find a class in the area. "The closest Zumba class was in Towaoc," she said. So when she moved up here from Gallup, N.M., she decided to start a class.

Benally has been certified in Zumba since August 2012, but has been working out with Zumba for about two years. "I guess it was the beginning of last year, I decided that I wanted to get certified so I could bring it to other people."

As all fitness routines do, Benally lost weight with it. "Oh, I feel so much better since I've been working out with Zumba. I run and lift weights, too, but this has helped me feel better, have more energy, and focus on having a better life," she said. She said she's lost over 60 pounds since starting on her workout.

Benally said that many of the students that she has at Kaleidoscope are beginners and they are a bit dubious about the coordination involved. But she assures them that it will come to them and not to stress about it. "First I have them concentrate on the footwork, then I tell them we can add the arms after they that." She really enjoys taking the time to show the steps to the new students.

Benally's classes at Kaleidoscope are on Wednesdays and Friday evening from 5:30 to 6:30, and on Saturday mornings from 9 to 10 a.m.