Melissa DeBello ’12, an Interdisciplinary Science major with a Pre-Optometry concentration, is shaking things up in Intramurals and Recreation. A certified Zumba instructor, she recently landed a part-time gig at Abington YMCA and is volunteering her time at Arcadia to help her peers stay fit and to contribute to overall student life.
DeBello participated in the First Year Study Abroad Experience (FYSAE) in London Spring 2010, currently serves as a FYSAE mentor and First Year Student Mentor and is the Vice President of both Biology Club, the American Chemical Society (ACS). With 14 years of dance training under her belt, DeBello continued dancing in college with Arcadia's Knight Club. She found Zumba at her local gym, and fell in love instantly.
“Here was an exercise where I got to dance around to catchy international rhythms, forgetting the time or fact that I was even exercising,” says DeBello of her initial response to Zumba. “I'd leave class feeling de-stressed, happy, and let's not forget sweaty. I loved the way the class snuck in fitness moves like lunges and crunches, in a less structured way than traditionally aerobics classes.”
Just after receiving her certification to teach, DeBello became involved in the Personal Fitness Club (PFC), which was new to Arcadia’s club listings as of fall 2010.
“I am addicted to the energy and music of the class and felt that Arcadia students would fall in love with it too,” says DeBello. “I contacted Nick Bargarzone, the President of the PFC and started holding Zumba classes last spring. I found that students enjoyed coming together to exercise in a fun way so I decided to continue the tradition this year. I'm always so blessed by how many students come out each week and how much energy they bring to the table.”
The magic of Zumba is that every class is different, known to bring about unscripted cheering and free-styling by both students and instructors alike. There are no counting or vocal commands and instructors don’t fret if participant’s moves aren’t exactly like theirs, as long as they keep moving.
As DeBello prepares to graduate and move on to Salus University to study Optometry, she wants to get more members of the campus involved—not only in participating but also instructing.
“I'm only one person and have my own style so I think it be neat to see others' flavor and move,” she says. “Seeing other interpretations of Zumba with popular songs would switch things up and bring the club more diversity.”
In addition, DeBello is also looking for ways to partner up with clubs like Puro Ritmo to bring the authentic moves to class routines. She is also coordinating a Zumbathon to raise money for two of the Zumba franchise's causes: battling breast cancer and heart disease. I truly feel that Zumba brings people together as it has become a world movement so as leaders, we need to present it to the wider community.”
Students interested in getting involved should email DeBello.