MAYS Alfar's love of zumba began when she needed to escape the pressures of working life.
As a newly graduated architect in Jordan, Ms Alfar wanted to prove herself worthy of her new job but, in the process, neglected herself, her social life and most importantly her health.
Now living in Boyne Island, she wants to spread the message of how zumba can improve people's fitness in a fun and social environment.
Ms Alfar started up classes at the Boyne Tannum Community Centre last week.
The classes will run during weekdays and might extend to weekend or nighttime classes depending on demand.
"Three years ago, I started my working career as a junior architect in one of the most important companies in Jordan and, as a newly graduated student starting the first job ever, I wanted to be the best in what I do," she said.
"I became work oriented, and I barely had time to do anything else.
"I totally forgot about myself … most importantly, I forgot about my body and totally neglected my fitness so, after three months of doing the same thing day in and day out, I noticed that my body had changed - I no longer had that slim, fit body I always had."
Ms Alfar then joined a gym and began working hard to regain her fitness, trying all the classes offered.
She describes her first experience in a zumba class as horrible.
At least in my eyes I see it different because it incorporates music, fitness and dance, so who doesn't want to party and work out at the same time.
With all the bodies moving in front of her, she couldn't see the instructor and had no idea what to do so she stood at the back of the room, feeling confused and out of her depth.
Not wanting to give up, she had another try and absolutely loved it.
It wasn't long before the instructors were encouraging Ms Alfar to get a zumba licence to teach classes.
"There are many other fitness programs but nothing is like zumba. At least in my eyes I see it different because it incorporates music, fitness and dance, so who doesn't want to party and work out at the same time," she said.
"Everyone should try something new. At least for a while and, if you like it, that's a good thing; it's for your fitness and for your health."
Born in Kuwait before moving to Jordan to study, Ms Alfar said Australia was very different from back home but she was adjusting well to the new country.
"In Amman, the capital of Jordan, it is very,very active… here in Australia it is a bit different. It is quiet here but I like it because I am getting to experience different things and that's what I like in life," she said.
For more information about classes in Boyne Island, visit the website zumba.com or call Mays on 0424 976 486.
Since it was founded in 2001, zumba has become a worldwide craze, combining Latin and international music with dance routines for a targeted workout system.
The music, dance moves and social environment set it apart from other fitness programs, with an emphasis on having fun while you work out.
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