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

By Selene D. Guerrero



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,

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 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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