Q-and-A with Zumba instructor David Fisher

Zumba instructor David Fisher poses with fellow instructors Symphony Sanders and Meagan Knee.

Source: David Fisher

Zumba instructor David Fisher poses with fellow instructors Symphony Sanders and Meagan Knee.

Sarah Rense, Reporter

David Fisher’s (Weinberg ’98) day job is pretty normal: He owns a professional consulting firm based in Evanston. But every other Monday night, he ditches the suit and tie and opts for a pair of exercise pants and athletic shoes, so he can bounce, kick and punch to the upbeat sounds of Latin music. Fisher is a Zumba instructor at Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Aquatic Center, and as an Irish male, he definitely sticks out. But he’s been a Zumba instructor for almost two years now, and he’s used to the looks. For Fisher, Zumba is simply a fun way to break a sweat doing something that doesn’t even remotely resemble the torture of an elliptical machine.

The Current: What was your first experience with Zumba?

David Fisher: My first experience with Zumba was actually at Northwestern. My friend was a Zumba instructor there, and another friend said I should check out a class. So I did. I went, and I felt completely self-conscious and completely out of place. But it was a blast. So I was like, “I should try this again!” … I was hooked.

The Current: How did you decide you wanted to be an instructor?

DF: I was going to classes at Northwestern and the YMCA in Evanston, and I kind of became a regular, going in once or twice a week. Some of the instructors approached me and very good naturedly said, “You should become an instructor. We need instructors.” … I thought it would be hilarious if I was a certified fitness professional, so I was like, “All right, I’ll do it!”

The Current: Who usually attends your classes at Northwestern?

DF: It’s a really good mix. … The thing that’s really interesting about Northwestern classes is that they’re very international. It’s the nature of Northwestern. … There are a couple students who don’t speak great English. We can’t talk that well after class, but it’s a great example of the unifying language used in dance. We can have a great class together and jump around and have fun without necessarily being able to speak well together.

The Current: Is the class usually composed of women?

DF: It’s mostly women. Usually we have one or two guys, and I always get positive feedback from the guys because they like having a male instructor. But Zumba has definitely always been focused on and marketed to women. The reality is we have a culture that doesn’t make it acceptable for men to dance. … I’m a guy who likes to dance. My girlfriend likes that. In fact, one of our first dates was one of my Zumba classes.

The Current: How do people react when you tell them you’re a Zumba instructor?

DF: The guys, when I tell them I’m a Zumba instructor, they’ll kind of give me a little good natured ribbing. But I’m like, “Hey, I get to go work out with a bunch of good-looking women.” And they’re like, “Oh, that’s actually really smart.” The women love it. They’ll start telling me all about their Zumba classes and their friends who do it.

The Current: Are people surprised when they see you at a Zumba class?

DF: Absolutely. I was traveling once for work, and I was down in Mexico. I went to a Zumba class, and I was the first one who showed up. The teacher didn’t think I was there for the Zumba class. She thought I was just there to work out in the gym or something. I was like, “No, I’m actually here for the class.” She gave me a weird look. I was this pale, white man, sunburned from the beach, and I was like, “No, I’m here to dance.”… There are definitely a lot of people who are surprised by this guy in Zumba pants in the classroom or the gym, but they warm up pretty fast.

The Current: Why Zumba?

DF: One of the things I love about it is that it encourages people to get out and move. My mom does Zumba, and she’s in her sixties. She’s not going to bounce around like I do, but she goes and has a great time. We need in our society and in our culture more movement. … That’s why I love Zumba. It’s actually a workout that people look forward to.

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