This 70-Year-Old Zumba Instructor is Dancing Through the Pandemic

For the Love of Dance

“I always went to the gym,” she says. “I did 5Ks and 10Ks. I ran with my dogs. But dancing I’ve always loved.” 

When she discovered Zumba in 2011, she instantly knew it was for her. In 2013, she became a certified Zumba instructor and began her classes at a local church with seniors in mind.

“My girls range from age 65 on up — I have one lady who’s 93 — and they can do it. They have the energy. And that’s because they keep doing it.”


Moving Through the Pandemic

When the pandemic began last year, Scarpello knew she had to keep her classes going. After working with her cable company to improve internet speed and setting up the right equipment, she was ready to teach Zoom classes. 

“Zoom took a few trial and errors at first...but it was worth it,” she says. “I love teaching, and I love watching them enjoy it. That’s the part that makes you want to continue doing it. That’s the best part of doing anything.”

Even though teaching Zoom classes requires more physical effort on her part — she has to be more animated so her movements are seen clearly through the screen — she felt it was worth it. 

“You still have to get those endorphins going,” she says. “It helps the mind and the body — and it’s fun at the same time.”

Now that her community is getting vaccinated and restrictions are being lifted, she’s resumed some in-person classes at a new location. 

“We’re at the local community center, now,” she says. “The same people have come back and I’m hoping to get new people to come. It’s exciting to be somewhere new.”

“It’s Not a Workout — It’s Party Time” 

In order to teach three classes a week, Scarpello has to remember 34 choreographed songs. It takes her about three hours of practice per dance, and she says it’ll take her maybe 30 tries before she has it fully memorized.

“Me being 70... that’s great for me,” she says. “That keeps me on my toes. I don’t learn it as fast as I used to, but it’s so good for me to be able to do that.” 

It’s a lot of work, but instead of feeling exhausted, she says it makes her feel energized — even with her physical pains. To her, it’s not a workout. It’s a dance party. 

“It doesn’t hurt while I’m doing it, it’s so funny,” she says. “I’m thinking about steps, I’m thinking about how much fun it is.”

For anyone considering Zumba, or any new workout for that matter, she advises not putting pressure on yourself. 

“I don’t think you have to have experience,” she says. “You just have to be willing to have fun. Anybody can do it. It’s good for the mind, the body, and to be out with other people. You can do everything at your own speed. Have an open mind about your body.”

Interested in Zumba class with Donna?

Join the Central Citrus Community Center, located at 2804 W Marc Knighton Ct, Lecanto, FL for Zumba Class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 11 a.m. The cost for each class is $5. Visit Donna’s Zumba profile for more information.

Email to inquire about future online Zoom classes. 

The above content is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before beginning any exercise or fitness program or acting on any content on this website, especially if you have a medical condition. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.

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