While Marsha Elowsky attempted to simulate the moves of the kid in front of her with the backward baseball cap, her husband, Joe, bobbed nearby, looking around and tapping his foot.
She alternated long and short steps, swerved and sashayed, bounced and dipped right along with more than 200 people. He looked eager for a break already.
The couple in their 70s drove up from Long Island the night before to participate in a Guinness Book of World Records attempt. The dancing crowd outside the Riverview Center in Menands was nowhere near the largest Zumba class ever. But it was sure a lot of fun.
“We wanted to be one of the 4,000,” said Marsha, as she broke from the crowd Saturday morning for a sip of water. “It’s great fun, anyhow. And the cause is certainly worthwhile.”
Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Northeastern New York affiliate received 15 percent of the event’s proceeds. Members of the crowd, both young and old, donned pink shirts in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most wore gym clothes. Some, including Joe, wore jeans and loafers.
The world record attempt was organized by REZULTZ Training, a fitness studio inside the Riverview Center that opened earlier this year. Owner Jim Rigney said that even though they didn’t get the numbers they wanted, they were the only ones in the Capital Region to try.
“We’re going to do it a couple more times,” he said. “The whole point is to establish a starting point and get a group of people together who want to do things like this on a quarterly or semiannual basis.”
Mexico currently holds the world record for largest Zumba class at 3,869 participants. The highly aerobic exercise program continues to grow in popularity each year, combining hip-hop, salsa, Merengue, Bollywood and other dance moves usually set to catchy rhythmic music.
With an empty and vast parking lot right outside his studio, Rigney certainly had the space to break the record. He recruited Zumba instructors from Malta, Schenectady, Albany and other Capital Region fitness centers.
They demonstrated the 30-minute choreography from atop a stage to a rhythmic, energizing burst of music Saturday.
RANGE OF TALENT
The crowd showed off a wide spectrum of Zumba expertise. Some people danced to the Latin and Bollywood beats like it was second nature. Others muddled along. A few looked completely lost.
Luckily, it was Rigney’s job to stay behind the scenes — handing out water bottles and T-shirts and filling out spreadsheets. Even he’s not too great at Zumba, he admitted.
“I’m not good, no,” he said. “But I can shake it. I’ve tried it. I’ve done it.”
Marsha Elowsky had tried it once before, when her daughter first trained to become an instructor. That’s how she ended up four hours away from home and in the Capital Region on a cold and sunny morning to exercise in an empty parking lot.
The 75-year-old prides herself on keeping up with the active, though. She takes an exercise class a few times a week. Once, an instructor pointed down the hall and told her that the senior class was that way.
“I said, 'I know,’” recalled Elowsky. “She said, 'Well, this is more active.’ I said, 'I know.’ She said, 'Well, you know if you get tired, you can always stop.’ I said, 'I know that.’ And I went through the class. Maybe I didn’t do 30 minutes. I could do 25. She was so embarrassed and apologized.”