Darlene is a professional writer, voice-over and performing arts specialist
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Growing up with parents in Ice Capades, Hollywood resident and Zumba instructor Deena McDaniel says she’s had a ‘show biz’ background from the very beginning.
“My flare for rhythm was obvious by age two as I was learning to ice skate.” She’s taught dance and fitness choreography dance for 25 years; but, she fought teaching Zumba for 10 years.
“Frankly,” she admits, “I thought that was just too wild for me!”
It wasn’t until McDaniel moved to Florida in 2004 that she became fascinated with Latin dance.
“I noticed how Zumba dance was changing so many lives,” recalls McDaniel. “Our gym didn’t offer any Zumba classes during the daytime hours and so I thought, ‘find a need and fill it.'” She then became licensed and was given the opportunity to teach both Zumba and Zumba Gold (for beginners and active older adults).“Zumba is a buzz word for PARTY. No one wants to “work out” but we all desire to dance. I bring the crazy light show and wear the wild Zumba gear knowing it’s my party and everyone is invited!” (PHOTO BY CARLOS PEREZ)
Classes started filling up instantly. And McDaniel knows the feeling of a full house all too well.
From a full house to a life filled with joy
“There were six of us living in an RV for four years after we moved from Missouri to Florida right after Hurricane Charley in the winter of 2004,” recalls McDaniel.
“Four more hurricanes followed and the next year brought Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma, but God provided the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood… Hollywood Lakes.”
McDaniel continues, “Coming from a small town in Missouri with a population of 81 people we were looking for that “hometown” feel. Hollywood stole our hearts.”
McDaniel says that it was the Hollywood Lakes community and Downtown Hollywood along with the Arts Park that gave her and her family joy.
Teaching Zumba also gives her joy. “As an instructor, I enjoy setting the mood for my class because I’m always in the mood for a party.”
Not only does shaking your body make you feel good, but studies show that incorporating dance into your regular routine offers several health benefits like: better mental health and decreased risk of dementia, according to the The New England Journal of Medicine.
“If you love to dance and move then Zumba is the music that makes you DANCE. Fitness has always been a passion and dance makes it easy! ”
“We’re not perfect dancers, but we have perfected fun.”
McDaniel believes the fun way to fitness is to find something you like, then you’ll do it and do it often. “Before you know it, you’re happy. You’re healthy. You’re on your way to a better quality of life!”
PHOTO BY CARLOS PEREZ
Christmas Near the Beach
For McDaniel, a better quality of life also includes getting involved with the community.
“My husband and I have been producing Christmas Near The Beach at the ArtsPark since 2007. It’s a variety show attracting thousands every year to enjoy bands, dancers and St. Nick’s Beach House where all the children receive a free photo with St. Nick on his sleigh and in his house! Hollywood is just a cool place to live!”
In it’s 10th year, Christmas Near The Beach will be held at Arts Park, Young Circle Hollywood, December 10, 2016.
Join the dance party
Join McDaniel’s dance party and show up to shake your body at dynamic Zumba classes Tuesday mornings from 9:30 to 10:20 a.m. at Memorial Regional Hospital Fitness Center (300 Hollywood Way.) If you’re not a member, you can try it free with a guest pass.
Memorial Regional Hospital Fitness Center is at the Hollywood Hills Plaza & Shopping Center, just east of the Memorial Regional Hospital campus. They have a wide variety of programs and gym equipment to help you meet your fitness goals.
Find out more about Zumba classes by contacting Memorial Regional Hospital Fitness at 954-265-5800 or by visiting Zumba.com.