Murray State dances in virtual classrooms

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Megan Reynolds
Opinion writer
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Although people spend their time socializing indoors, they are still looking for ways to stay active during the COVID-19 pandemic

Murray State Zumba instructors Chanel Schwenck and Trish Lofton are ready to help students and the community stay active by providing an online Zumba opportunity.

They moved their classes to a virtual format through the Twitch streaming service. At 7 p.m. Tuesday and 3 p.m. Saturday, students are invited to tune in and dance.

Schwenck and Lofton met and became best friends thanks to Zumba classes at Murray State.

“Trish had taken Zumba classes at MSU’s wellness center, but came to try classes at Carr Health in the summer of 2014,” Schwenck said. “She walked into my classroom one day and the rest is history.”

Trish and Chanel broadcast live Zumba classes every Tuesday and Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Trish Lofton)

They have been teaching “Zumba with Trish and Chanel” since 2015. Schwenck and Lofton find dancing a great stress reliever and a fun way to stay in shape. They both started Zumba for fun and ended up liking new people they met.

Schwenck and Lofton both think they work well together and attribute this to their similar tastes in music and dance style.

“Part of the beauty of Zumba is that it encompasses music from countries around the world,” Schwenck said. “We fell in love with merengue, cumbia, salsa, reggaeton, belly dancing and soca, to name just a few of the many rhythms in Zumba. ”

Teaching at a university with students from all over the world, Schwenck and Lofton use music and dance routines to represent as many cultures as possible.

“Zumba allows us to do that,” Schwenck said. “We use a combination of the music provided by Zumba as well as the music we discover on our own to create our routines. “

With so much music to choose from, the two instructors sometimes have a hard time choosing what to choreograph on. They just want to use it all.

“There are as many different song artists as there are types of music and we are fortunate that Zumba is doing everything possible to travel the world to bring a great variety of music from all over,” said Schwenck.

Before choreographing dance moves, Schwenck and Lofton listen to a song of their choice several times to determine which choreography will work best. Their goal is to work every part of the body, so the process can be long, especially when choreographing new routines every week.

Zumba is a great way to stay in shape, so for those looking for ways to stay active during their 40s, Schwenck and Lofton’s virtual classes may be the perfect opportunity.

(Photo courtesy of Trish Lofton)

“Training with a buddy is always more fun, even a virtual buddy,” Schwenck said. “Accountability partners help us achieve our goals and stay on track when we feel like we’re slipping. “

Schwenck and Lofton like to take a week at a time so they and the students don’t get overwhelmed.

“We say to our students, ‘Just think about what you can do this week to stay healthy,” Schwenck said. “At the end of the day, exercise has to be fun and meaningful, otherwise people won’t want to do it.”

The instructors have found that the best part about Zumba is its lack of discrimination. There is no need for a certain body type, and participants do not even need dance training.

“We like that it’s for everyone,” Schwenck said.


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