Melinda Boutte, better known as Mel B, started attending Zumba classes at her local YMCA to achieve her weight less goals and avoid the monotony of gym machines.
“After a long day of work, the last thing I wanted to do was spend an hour on the treadmill,” said Boutte. “I was walking past the dance room at my gym, heard some cool beats, and after that I absolutely fell in love with Zumba. It’s all about partying yourself into shape, and I love the connections you can make with people through music and dance.”
After two years of taking classes, Boutte realized there were no kids Zumba classes in her areas, and decided to meet the need.
Boutte’s Zumba Kids class is designed for kids ages seven to twelve and her Zumba Kids Jr. classes is for ages four to six.
Boutte uses Zumba choreography broken into kid-friendly routines, and adds age-appropriate games and activities into her class.
Boutte also incorporates the kid friendly versions of popular songs into her class mix to provide an upbeat atmosphere where kids can jump, dance and shake.
“Zumba Kids can help children to gain coordination, self-confidence, overcome their fears, learn about teamwork, and much more,” said Boutte. “Kids love the party feel the class offers, where everyone can join in, follow the simplified routines, and enjoy modern beats like Latin American, Hip Hop and Reggaeton music.”
Boutte works hard to create varied classes so kids feel like they’re not even working out.
“Zumba Kids fitness classes are creative and varied, so it takes out the monotony and boredom of repetitive movements and adds in dynamic dance moves instead,” said Boutte. “I also try to incorporate games and fun activities so the kids don’t feel like they’re working out.”
Boutte uses games like seeing who can hula hoop the longest and playing a sort of hula hoop musical chairs, where kids pass the hula hoop around the circle to see who can get it over their body the fastest and avoid having the hula hoop land on them before the music stops.
Boutte currently works for the Louisiana Workforce Commission as a Veterans Representative, but as a former military member, she approaches each class with a coach mentality.
“Being a positive role model to kids is important to me,” said Boutte “You never know what kids are going through or who they will turn to in a time of need. Zumba kids gives them a chance to connect and express themselves.”
Boutte cites the class as helping kids boos their self-esteem, elevate their mood, build leadership skills, improve memory and help develop creativity and imagination.
For Boutte Zumba kids classes are one of the best ways to engage kids in fitness.
“Fitness is an essential part of children’s health, and Zumba, which literally means “moving quickly and having fun,” is the perfect way to incorporate exercise into kids lives in a fun, easy way that offers multiple personal and social benefits,” said Boutte.
Zumba Kids is held on select Saturdays during the month at various locations throughout New Iberia.
Visit facebook.com/melbzspot/ to stay up to date on class information and pricing.