Meet Movemeant’s Minnesota-based grant recipient, Sara Pennington, and take a look into her inspiring journey from solo workouts to outdoor Zumba classes, sharing the movemeant one dance at a time.

By Sara Pennington

I have always been fairly active, usually bike riding, walking or rollerblading. Movement and fitness help me relieve stress and increase my level of fitness. I always felt better one way or another as a result. Most often, I did these activities on my own. I’m a bit of an introvert and found comfort in the fact that these activities were not performed in front of others.

In 2011, I joined a gym and continued with solo activities such as the treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike. After some time I started working with a personal trainer and during those workouts I would see the Zumba classes in the group X room. I was intrigued but never brave enough to go into a class. After some time I finally tried a class and immediately fell in love with Zumba. I’ve always liked to dance but never felt that I was very good. The more classes I took the better I became. The more I saw my own improvement, the more motivated I became to continue, sometimes attended 2 or 3 classes a day.

My passion for Zumba grew and two years later I became licensed to teach it. This was huge for me as I was taking a giant leap outside my comfort zone. I had always been shy and insecure as a teen and some of those feelings lingered into my 20’s and early 30’s. Zumba has given me a sense of accomplishment that I’d never felt before. I worked hard, faced my fears, and witnessed my own improvement. I was able to own it. I was proud of myself and that’s not something I often felt in my life.

Once I was licensed, I started thinking how I could share this with others, for free. I wanted to bring it outdoors in a fun and inviting environment and share with others what Zumba was all about. My goal was to have others feel the empowerment that I was experiencing.

The idea to hold free Zumba classes in the downtown Peace Plaza was supported by many people and my dream was soon realized. Zumba on the Plaza was my first class. I was on a stage, with a microphone, leading a group of people with a crowd of spectators on the sidelines. I never thought I would be capable of something like this. Zumba has given me a purpose. It’s boosted my confidence immensely and provided me with a way to contribute to my community and inspire people.

Learn more about Sara's and her Zumba program at