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Wellington virtual Zumba class keeps students moving, hoping

Kristina Webb
 
| Palm Beach Post

WELLINGTON — Elyse Beras’ relationship with Zumba did not start out well.

The Wellington resident’s first try at the fitness class, which combines aerobics and Latin dance, fell flat. The instructor just wasn’t engaging.

Then Beras found Jamie Tizol. 

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The effervescent Zumba instructor drew Beras into the high-energy workouts — something Tizol continues to do with new students, now in a virtual format using the Zoom video conferencing platform, prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“She makes every individual feel, ‘You can do it with me, and I’m going to show you how,’” Beras said.

Tizol has earned praise from her students at the Wellington Community Center, with people heaping acclaim on the 43-year-old instructor for her engaging personality and skill as an instructor.

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But something else about Tizol’s virtual classes is getting the attention of Wellington residents. 

When Tizol moved from her physical classroom at the community center to a virtual classroom using the Zoom video conferencing platform, it opened up an opportunity for her dedicated students, like Beras, to share the classes with friends and family around the country.

It’s helped them connect, stay in touch and see each other in a fun setting each week, Beras said.

“She could get a person that’s dying up to dance,” she said.

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Tizol joined Wellington’s slate of community center instructors in 2016. She teaches four virtual classes: Zumba, Zumba Gold for people age 55 and older, Zumba Gold chair for people who may not be as mobile, and Zumba Toning, which incorporates a small amount of weight.

Moving from in-person classes to Zoom was “seamless” for Tizol, said Jenifer Brito, Wellington’s Community Services specialist, who organizes and directs senior programs. 

“We’re so lucky to have her,” Brito said. 

With 20 to 35 people per class, Tizol still finds a way to make each class personal for her students, Brito said. 

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“She really loves what she does, and it really shines through,” she said.

Wellington has received a flood of calls from grateful students over the past few weeks, Brito said.

“She’s bringing family members together during this time,” she said. “That’s special.”

For Tizol, each class is a gift. 

“I look forward to it every day, to see their smiling faces,” she said.

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Tizol began teaching Zumba about 15 years ago while living in Virginia. Growing up, she had a passion for dancing and music, and when a friend introduced her to the lively workouts, she fell in love. 

When she and her family moved from Virginia to Wellington six years ago, she had to start fresh with a new group of students. 

It was fate that she met Mary Ann