While the weather was still cold and wintery on the outside, the large indoor basketball court on the inside was steamy hot and sweaty. Seniors were dancing and exercising to the rhythms of hip hop, salsa, and the latest radio hits. Within the hour, there were beads of happy sweat dripping from their foreheads, and through their clothing. And their expressions were brimming with joy.
Tony Bryan, the Zumba dance instructor, holds court and provides cautiously monitored dance exercises to the lively audience of young 60+ year olds. The Zumba Gold sessions are the most well attended events at the recreation facility. For Montgomery County Senior residents, it is a daytime party with the benefits of exercise. There are energetic dance movements with enthusiastic warmth and excitement. Just like Carnival, but without the costumes, everyone revels in the energy of the music and the dancing is both spontaneous and choreographed.
Every Thursday, from 10:30 – 11:30 am seniors and everyone young at heart gather at the newly built Mid County Recreation Center, for a lively, energetic and exhilarating Zumba workout. Tony Bryan, a Trinidad and Tobago native, brings sunshine from the islands and some Carnival fever to participants with his personal style and artistic presence.
Tony migrated first to Canada in the early nineties to complete his Masters in Business Management. After a coup attempt in Trinidad, and the prospect of civil unrest at home, Tony decided to come to the United States to explore further advancement opportunities.
Luckily Tony landed in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, where there was a robustly active community of Caribbean nationals. He first met Brian Walker and Fred Davis, leading champions of dance exercise at a Calypso aerobics event. Before Zumba became the highly popular form of dancercise raging through the world exercise circuits, there was a bustling dance exercise therapy of calypso, steelband, reggae, jazz, soul, with Brazilian, African, Latin, Caribbean influences known as calypso aerobics.
The Washington DC Caribbean communities were first to launch the calypso aerobic dancersize. Brian Walker the innovator and creator of calypso aerobics and soquatics – soca in de water, was a masterful and theatrical Trinidad and Tobago born dance, art, and culture enthusiast. He took Tony under his wings and nurtured him in the field of dance theatre. Brian taught Tony the new style of aerobics workouts themed in Carnival dance, and fondly name Calypso aerobics.
Soon thereafter, Tony and Brian and Fred partnered in spreading the joy of dance to many. Where Brian was the energy, the spirit force that exploded with infectious and combustible joy with his audiences, Tony structured, studied, refined and enhanced his teaching, dance, and exercise instructor skills. In affiliation with other professional dance/exercise enthusiasts, Tony perfected and honed his crafts to become one of the most prolific health and body fitness gurus in the Washington DC Metropolitan area.
The Mid County Recreation Center at Silver Spring Maryland gained a highly accomplished and versatile fitness instructor for their Zumba Gold classes.
With popular music on the cd player, seniors were treated with cautious courtesy and concerned directives for their hour long Zumba session. More so, Tony repeatedly sent out shout outs of encouragement: “Great Job! You Got it! You Got it!” to his group of elders. He forbade them to undertake any exercises that would be too stressful, and he made everyone feel as if he were their personal dance partner.
For the Zumba Gold hour, there was glee, there was laughter, and there was revelry among all. Caroline, a 66yr old, was more than happy to be there, she was happy to be alive. In July 2013, Caroline underwent major brain surgery. With a look of beautiful gratitude, silver grey hair cropped short, and a palpable smile, she comes to Zumba Gold as part of her exercise therapy. Vicky, 77 yr old, has had knee replacement surgery on both knees and was overwhelmed with emotion. It was something to do and it was delightful to be with others of her age.
What a recipe for life! There is great music, dance/exercise, and good fellowship. There is more so, the joy of having a great time. Seniors at the Mid County Recreation center in Maryland experience Zumba Gold, with a taste of Carnival revelry, and gain an hour of sheer excitement with their dance instructor, Tony Bryan.
In an extraordinary legacy of friendship, from Calypso Aerobics to Zumba Gold, the Carnival dance plays on.
Watch the video: From Calypso Aerobics to Zumba Gold dedicated to Brian Walker and Fred Davis