Not Your Typical Workout: Dance Classes in Alumni Hall

By Nicole Connell, Contributor

As the year heads into the spring and Manhattan College students are striving to stay in shape, many have turned to the Fitness Center, which offers a hefty schedule of exercise classes including yoga, Salsa dancing and Zumba.

These group exercise classes are offered on a daily basis, mornings, afternoons and nights, in Alumni Hall. The classes give students an opportunity to work out, have fun and spend time with friends and peers.

David Cartolano, a junior, teaches the center’s Zumba classes, which are offered every Tuesday and Thursday night at 9:30 p.m.

Zumba is an aerobic dance workout that uses Latin and other international rhythms. Cartolano is an exercise science major and music minor, and is originally from Westchester. He took his first Zumba class here at Manhattan College approximately three years ago, and began teaching the class one year ago.

“It actually happened by chance. Some of my friends were talking about a Zumba class in Locke’s during my freshmen year. I basically asked myself ‘Why not?’ I’m not scared of what other people think of me. I was previously a dancer for eight years, so I’m used to people raising eyebrows,” said Cartolano.

Shortly after taking his first class, Cartolano realized he had a knack for the dance workout.

“I went to my first class, and the steps were all just alternating left/right and in relative 4/4 time. I got pulled to the front. Wherever I went to do a bit of Zumba, I kept consistently getting pulled to the front by the instructor. So one thing led to another, I took a training course, I got my certification, and here I am,” he said.

Cartolano is not the only one who enjoys the unique exercise program; the class has been a hit among MC students.

“It’s definitely not your typical workout, so I could see why people would be apprehensive to try it, but everyone is there for the same reason: to just have fun! It’s also such a great workout if you want to break a sweat,” said freshman Lauren Taccetta.

Sophomore Laura Bombace also enjoys including Zumba in her weekly exercise routine.

“I love Zumba because it’s an awesome workout and so much fun with friends! The music and high-energy [atmosphere] is really motivating. I would definitely recommend trying it at least once,” said Bombace.

Zumba is an aerobic form of exercise, so it uses a lot of oxygen and benefits the cardiopulmonary system. If you’re looking to shed some pounds, Cartolano suggests an aerobic workout like Zumba or using the treadmill because it burns calories and keeps you breathing heavily.

“The difference between Zumba and the fitness center is, unless you get a trainer, you have nobody directing you on what to do and very few people giving you proper exercises. Zumba takes care of that. Also, it blends music and dance into burning calories, so if you consider yourself a musical person, it’s definitely something to try. Just do whatever will keep you coming back for more,” Cartolano said about when it comes to choosing between a class like Zumba or an independent workout in the gym.

In addition to being a fun activity and fantastic workout, taking a Zumba class is also a great way to expand your skill set. Cartolano explained how his Zumba experience became a point of interest during a recent interview for a postgraduate program.

“I like it because it makes me even more multifaceted. You never know where one activity/hobby can lead,” Cartolano said, “Being multifaceted increases different types of intelligence, and that’s what admissions people and employers are looking for. If you are only “intelligent” in your major, what does that make you in everything else?”