GHENT - A small, but enthusiastic group of young girls lined up in front of the stage Saturday afternoon in downtown Ghent to get a lesson in Zumbatomic.
Tracey Mork and Angela Yahnka, Zumba instructors from the Marshall Area YMCA, taught both children and adults about the current exercise trend with a Latin flavor during Ghent's Belgian American Days on Saturday.
Mork, who has become certified in Zumbatomic, which is Zumba exercises designed for kids, said it's taking the songs used in Zumba classes and making them kid-friendly. And it's specially choreographed.
Photo by Cindy Votruba
Angela Yahnka, left, helps McKenna Johnelson, Maddy VanKeulen, Daylin Crowley and Skyla Crowley do a Zumbatomic dance Saturday during Belgian American Days in Ghent.
"(There's) more moves that mimic animal moves," Mork said. According to the Zumba website, Zumbatomic is designed for kids ages 4-12. Mork said the movements are a lot of shaking, wiggling, jumping around and having fun.
In her black and white dancing dress, 7-year-old McKenna Johnelson was ready to get started. She was soon joined by Maddy VanKeulen and Daylin Crowley. After a little coaxing, Crowley's sister, Skyla, decided to give Zumbatomic a try.
After warming up with the opening song, Mork and Yahnka instructed the kids on a song that involved animal moves.
"We're going to be a penguin in a freezer," Mork told the kids as she went to start off the song they were going to dance too.
Pretty soon, a couple of boys, Tristan Sussner and Carter Siemonsma, joined in the fun, hopping up and down on the blacktop.
"You guys make good penguins," Mork said as the girls and boys bounced around while doing a penguin shuffle. The boys soon dropped out of the dancing.
Once the song was done, Johnelson, who's been in dance for three years, was feeling the workout.
"(I'm) sweaty," she said.
After the girls went to get a drink of water, Mork and Yahnka continued to show the girls various Zumba moves, doing them slow enough so they could follow along. During an actual Zumbatomic class, Mork said, kids would learn the choreography to one or two songs and do a rhythm review instead of learning 15 like in a Zumba class for adults.
A little while later, Mork announced to the girls they were going to do a "freestyle" kind of dance where they get to choose what they want to do and teach her and Yahnka how to do the moves.
One girl had to go in the middle and start off a dance move that everyone had to do. Then the person in the middle had to choose someone new. Mork said that while the music was playing, there would be times when the music would stop. What does everyone have to do when the music stops? she asked the girls.
"Pause," said Daylin Crowley.
As everyone gathered in a circle with Skyla Crowley in the middle, they started to imitate what the little girl was teaching them. After a routine of jumps, spins and disco moves, once Mork was chosen to go in the middle, she had a new idea.
"We are gonna swim," Mork said as she started off the dance. Ava Duthoy walked up to the group and quickly followed suit.
About 20 minutes into the class, Yahnka asked if they were tired. Some of the girls nodded but they were ready to dance to Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger."
"Can you wiggle all the way to the ground?" Yahnka asked the girls who were still grinning.
Toward the end, the girls were ready for water and a rest.
"I'm tired," said Johnelson.
But they enjoyed themselves.
"It was fun," Daylin Crowley said.
"I liked it, that we could dance," VanKeulen said.