A jazzercise-style teen dance class in Mexico ignited LIliana Resendiz's passion for dance. She chose her dance instructor for her quinceañera and from there continued on in a variety of dance classes.
A couple of years after she moved to Colorado (Resendiz lives in Hygiene), a friend convinced her to take her first Zumba class. After attending an all-day class, expecting an opportunity to dig deeper into the Zumba world, she had a surprise at the end of the day — she had earned a license to teach this popular dance fitness style.
Resendiz thought she was only attending an expensive — $300 — and long Zumba class. What she didn’t understand was her friend had referred her to a training workshop.
She had sticker shock on the cost for "just one class" but she did choose to pay and go with a group of five or six other people.
Resendiz said, "I was clueless as to what exactly this training did. At the end of the day, they told us to come up and get our certificates. I asked what it meant and they told me 'you're an instructor now."
She was quite happy about that as the work allowed her flexibility to have time for herself and her children. She's been teaching Zumba for nine years and learned how to adapt to the needs of her students.
Her approach changed from teaching exactly what she was taught and at the fast pace she preferred, to one that allowed for class participation, more accessibility and a community feel, she said. Resendiz calls her classes "the people's classes."
Additionally, Resendiz added toning and strength training to the traditional Zumba dance fitness format so her students could get a whole body workout.
This is exactly the type of Zumba class Katie Winter was looking for after moving to Longmont from New Valley, New Jersey. She had a similar class in her hometown.
Winter said, "I started doing Zumba in my early twenties. I used to do it as a workout. I always loved it. It was something that I looked forward to as opposed to something I dreaded. It's so much fun."
Winter tried several classes in Longmont but struggled to find any that matched the workout she had experienced in New Jersey until she found Resendiz's class during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"She (Resendiz) posted on a Mom's group, and I thought, I'll just try it; whatever. I have nothing else to do," Winter said. It felt COVID-safe as it was being offered outdoors, socially-distanced and masked.
There were times due to shutdowns, exposures and other life events that Resendiz would need to cancel a class because she was challenged to find a substitute to step in.
Little did Resendiz know but the answer to her trouble was taking her class. Winter had brought a few songs and choreography to Resendiz's class and also knew the format really well after so much time in the Zumba world.
After a 10-hour virtual training, taken after her two children were in bed, Winter obtained her own license to teach Zumba. Now, the two have joined forces to offer Ignition Dance Fitness.
The duo strives to keep the class geared toward everyone regardless of age, gender identity, race, culture, etc. and regardless of fitness level. Though the class is high energy, there are always modifications available and no dance experience is necessary. Because the two instructors work together, they are able to provide more personal attention to newcomers and to those who require modifications for injuries or other limitations.