By Aswathy Visweswaran
When the announcement of the 3rd Runner up for Mrs India 2017 Title came, the entire ZINs (Zumba Instructor Network) were delighted and eager to share it with our friends. What made Divya Vanissery, the young home-maker from the bustling Muvattupuzha town in Ernakulam district, unique was her self-preparation, confidence and hard work that helped her achieve her childhood dream.
India’s leading women’s magazine in Malayalam,Vanitha in its Facebook page, attributed Divya’s success to her Zumba training.
Yes, Zumba has changed the lives of not only Divya Vanissery but several others including me- it has helped me look younger- almost half my age, helped gain confidence, become fitness entrepreneurs and financially independent. Moreover, it has helped motivate more women and men in the 30’s, 40’s and early 50’s who were shy of dancing or not interested in gym workouts to join the Zumba training.
How it Started
It all started in 2013 when I took my daughter Diyah for ballet classes taught by best-selling author Arundathi Roy’s niece Maria Roy in The Floor. Parents who came there told me about the Zumba classes and I also joined with them just to try out.
I was a prize-winner in dance competitions in school at state level but couldn’t continue my training as my parents wanted me to focus on studies at college and get a job. Before the birth of my second child Diyah, I tried to revive my interest in classical dance and joined for Bharatanatyam classes in Thiruvanthapuram but my knees wouldn’t support the steps. I was crest fallen when the Orthopedic Surgeon said it is better to avoid dance at this age. And had given up all hopes of dancing again.
However, The Floor provided a friendly atmosphere with lot of young men and women dancing to the beat of latin songs and music. Each session begins with a warm -up, cardio, followed by cool down lasting an hour. I enjoyed each Zumba session that I never missed a class whatever my other engagements or state of my health.
Soon, visible changes were seen, I lost weight and helped tone my body. I began shedding my age faster and this was confirmed when my son Darshan’s class teacher who thought I was his sister! I deeply thank Arunima Gupta, the co-founder of The Floor who was my mentor from the start of my fitness career.
A year later, we came to know about the Zumba licensing offered in Chennai. I went for the 2-day program conducted by Sucheta Pal, the versatile fitness trainer and Zumba Education Specialist (ZES). I was amazed at the energy and enthusiasm of Sucheta and couldn’t keep pace with it. I did face some problems on knees and joints but I could overcome it with help from Ortho surgeons and physiotherapists.
Formation of Beats’n’Steps
Even after a year of training and obtaining ZIN status I was not confident enough to take classes and resumed training under Arunima who felt I should start classes on my own atleast at home as Zumba Fitness needed to be spread to other places in the city. That was when Prasanth, a corporate trainer in insurance and fellow Zumba student at The Floor was also thinking of starting a new fitness venture. We teamed up and started Beats’n’Steps at South Kalamassery in May, 2015.
It soon captured the attention of dance-fitness enthusiasts and we started offering classes in Zumba,Aerobics, Yoga apart from Bollywood Dance, Bharatanatyam and later Contemporary Dance classes. We were invited to hold demo sessions in malls, corporate houses and sports centers such as Decathlon. The media -TV, Online and Print media had given tremendous support by promoting Zumba Fitness as an ideal way to remain healthy and fit.
I believe that for a fitness expert, grooming never ends. I took to personal training under Rithin Antony using dumbbells, stretches and bench press apart from keeping a strict low carb-low-starch diet supplemented with fruits and nuts. I still continue with my personal training which keeps my muscles toned.
Latin Dance and Media
I am thankful to The New Indian Express, The Hindu, Deccan Chronicle and The Times for supporting us in my interest in promoting Latin Dance -Salsa, Cha Cha, Bachata … in Kochi. We were overjoyed at the media coverage received when Beats’n’Steps hosted Latin Dance workshops by Arun Srinivasan-Bonny Avannur (my Salsa Trainer of Salsa Madras Group) and Rahul Stephen, all international stars in Latin Dance.
In fact, I also don’t miss an opportunity to perform on stage – performed Belly Dance with Jyothi Vijayakumar at Mrs Asia Global Event in CIAL Convention Center. I also go annually for the Latin Festival Madras (LFM) that sees the highest participation of Latin dance lovers from all over the world held every September and October.
Beats ‘n’Steps in Panampilly Nagar
After two years, we have started a new center for Beats ‘n’Steps at Panampilly Nagar in the heart of the city. It provides Strong By Zumba, Bolly Fitness, Latin Dance, Contemporary Dance and classical dance training for all age groups. It was my co-partner Prasanth’s vision to make our venture visible in the city that led us to start the second venture. Behind every successful man there is a woman, goes the popular saying. The reverse is also true and in my case it’s my husband Sreekumar who supported all my initiatives. I feel blessed after all this effort that we have become part of a new-generation business that helps people remain healthy, fit and happy.
Special Interests: Gardening, Cookery, Traveling, Interior Decoration, Nutrition, Pets, Social Dance
Professional : Registered Pharmacist, Zumba Trainer (Basic and Toning)
My message to men and women in 20’s 30’s and 40’s shy of dance or fitness- ‘it’s never too late to begin anything’
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or Mob:9895611537