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Ditch the workout and join the party
Sexy aerobic dance craze hits Dawson County
Zumba pic
Certified Zumba Fitness instructor Patsy Brookshire, foreground, leads a group at Rock Creek Sports Complex. - photo by Photo/Michele Hester

“Make it sexy girls,” Patsy Brookshire said as infectious Latin music played in the background. “It’s got to be sexy.”


An elementary teacher by day, Brookshire takes on a new persona a few nights each week to teach one of the latest crazes in aerobic fitness.


In a body-hugging tanktop, Brookshire pairs pulsating Latin rhythms with the traditional cumbia, salsa, samba and merengue music of Latin America as a Zumba fitness instructor.


“It’s such a good exercise, and it’s fun. That’s something I’d never experienced before — fun exercise,” Brookshire said.


Spanish slang for “to move fast and have fun,” Zumba, one of the fastest growing, dance-based fitness crazes to hit the country, was created in the mid 1990s by Columbian native and celebrity fitness king Alberto “Beto” Perez.


With easy-to-follow dance moves, coupled with great music and body beautifying benefits, Brookshire hopes Zumba will now sweep through the Dawson County area.


Brookshire, who teaches Zumba at both North Georgia Athletic Club and Lanier Athletic Club, is now offering Zumba Fitness classes at Rock Creek Sports Complex through Dawson County Park and Recreation.


The routines feature interval-training sessions, where fast and slow rhythms and resistance training are combined, to tone and sculpt while burning fat.


“This is so much fun. I’ve always loved to dance,” said the fifth-grade teacher.


“My elementary students would tell you — we always dance in class.”

It was actually one of Brookshire’s former students that introduced her to teaching Zumba.


“I told her I couldn’t do it, but she knew I could,” Brookshire said.


Earlier this year, Brookshire took a trip to North Carolina to become one of thousands of certified Zumba instructors across the globe. She is also certified to teach Zumba Gold, a Zumba fitness program for the older generation or those who may never have worked out before.


“Zumba is really an exercise for anybody, any age,” she said. “It’s so much fun and such a good workout.”


Zumba classes at Rock Creek begin Thursday, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m., and cost $50 for six weeks. The classes typically last about an hour.


Still not sure if you’re ready to join the Zumba party? Two free intro classes are available to check it out. The free classes will be Aug. 26 at 4:30 p.m. and Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. at Rock Creek Park.


For more information, call Brookshire at (770) 883-1209.


E-mail Michele Hester at