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Zumba for Toddlers and Their Parents Is an Exercise in Bonding

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Copyright 2013 Virginian-Pilot Companies LLC
All Rights Reserved

The Virginian-Pilot(Norfolk, VA.)
October 31, 2013 Thursday
Bayside Edition
VIRGINIA BEACH BEACON; Pg. B3
475 words
Zumba for toddlers, parents is an exercise in bonding

By Selene D. Guerrero

Correspondent

OCEANFRONT

Toddlers' feet pitter-pattered across the dance floor and vibrant silk scarves waved from the hands of tiny dancers at a recent Zumbini class.

Zumbini is a program developed by the same company that brought the hip-shaking dance exercise, Zumba, except there's less hip shaking and more parent-child bonding, said Wendy Jaffe, Zumbini instructor.

"It enables the parents to bond with their child," Jaffe said, "but it's also an opportunity to get a little bit of exercise while having fun."

Jaffe, who is a pediatric physical therapist by profession, attests to the importance of providing stimuli and movement to help a child's development.

Currently, Zumbini is only taught by Zumba instructors, and according to Jaffe, hers is the only Zumbini class in a 100-mile radius.

On a recent Saturday, I decided to get my dance on with my 2-month old, Joaquin. Fastened safely into a baby carrier, Joaquin and I arrived at Dance Space for our Zumbini class.

Joaquin was the smallest child there. The rest of the kids teeter-tottered without the help of a parent, but Jaffe assured it was fine and even at his age he would gain from the movement.

The classes are geared toward children ages 3 and younger.

Before class, Jaffe mentioned that Zumbini is not a fitness program. But somewhere between dancing with Joaquin strapped to me and following the group in a circle, waving our arms up and down, I worked up a sweat.

The 45-minute class began with a welcome song that Jaffe led. Parents and children sang along.

The class offers a balance of high- and low-energy activities that include singing, instrument play and of course, dance. Lots of dance.

Melissa Knightes, who attended with her 20-month-old Kate for a second week, said her daughter is happy with their new activity.

"She's content and enjoys it," Knightes said, "There's a good routine in the class, and afterwards, she is ready for a nap."

At the end of class, the rattling egg shakers, bells and scarves were put away and the lights dimmed. The group's energy hushed to a soft lull as we sat in a circle and hummed the farewell song.

I looked down at Joaquin who had been alert during class and was now fast asleep against my chest. He couldn't move without my help, but I'd call it a success, especially when I caught him staring and smiling at the other children.

"This is a multi-age class, you're not sitting there thinking, 'Oh my child is not doing that,'?" Jaffe said, "Every child develops at their pace."

Selene Guerrero, selenedguerrero@gmail.com

if you go

What Zumbini Dance Class

Where Dance Space 2228 W. Great Neck Road, Virginia Beach, Va. 23451

When 10:15 to 11 a.m. Saturday

Visit www.zumbini.com or contact Wendy Jaffe at 757-268-2604 to sign up.

Classes are 45 minutes long and run for 10 weeks. The cost is $185 per session. The first class is free.

Selene D. Guerrero photos During a Zumbini class, do not expect to be still or quiet. Wendy Jaffe, a pediatric physical therapist and Zumbini instructor, offers children tons of stimulating activities through movement and instrument play. Children grab an instrument during a recent Zumbini class. The classes are tailored to children ages 3 and younger. The classes are not designed for fitness, but for learning. Melissa Knightes dances with her 20-month-old daughter Kate, who is ready for a nap afterward.
October 31, 2013

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