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Zumba brings dollars in for Saugus dance team

Posted: January 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Zumba instructor and Saugus grad Brandi Mazzuca, center, leads dancers in a Zumba Fitness fundraiser on Sunday at Saugus High School. The money raised went to the Saugus High School Dance Team. Signal photo by Jim Holt.

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They jumped, they swayed, they danced, they yelled — all in an effort to raise money so that they can jump, and sway, and dance and yell competitively.

The Saugus High School Dance Team held a Zumba Fitness fundraiser at the school Sunday afternoon, raising close to $300 for the team.

About 30 participants met inside the school’s gymnasium on West Centurion Way Sunday for 90 minutes of continuous “high-energy” dancing led by Zumba instructor and Saugus grad Brandi Mazzuca.

Zumba is an aerobic workout that incorporates a variety of dance styles including hip-hop, samba, merengue and salsa.

“The girls they keep me going,” she said during a brief break in the routine. “Their energy makes me be a better teacher so the more they yell and scream the more I am encouraged to teach.”

But, what’s with the screaming?

“It adds more to your workout,” Mazzuca said. “You burn more calories if your yelling and enjoying your workout. Smiling is more calories, so if you’re opening your mouth and you’re smiling and making noises you’re obviously having a better time.

“I encourage them to keep going,” she said. “As long as you’re moving and you have a smile on your face, you’re here to work out and you’re going to get better every day.

“You’re striving for progress not perfection.”

The team held their first Zumba fundraiser last year and, because it was a success, did it again this year.

“I would say we have 25 percent more people this year than last year,” said Mazzuca’s mother and event organizer, Debbie.

Organizers had received word of a man joining the dance workout, but Sunday’s event turned out to be an all-female event involving girls and women of all ages.

“And, I think we have more older people showing up this year,” Debbie Mazzuca said.

According to the news release announcing the event: “Brandi is all about creating a party where you scream, jump, and shake your booty.”

The dance team is self supporting and all funds earned help pay for the team’s competition and choreography fees, according to the news release.

“These are my best friends,” said Saugus High School Dance Team member Emily Garwood as she gathered around her three senior team mates.

“It was so worth the workout,” she said, with her arms around her teammates. “Because it’s so fun.”
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