Over 650 people take part in Dance Day activities | Local News

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By Steve Hoffman |

NORMAL – Fitness and fun were the goals of the fourth annual Dance Day on Saturday.

Both were on display when about 75 people took to the dance floor to participate in Zumba, a high-energy exercise program based on dance and Latin music. It was one of many beginner’s exercise classes offered during the four-hour event at Heartland Community College that drew over 650 participants.

“When I looked outside and it was packed, that’s what it is about,” said Helen Wright, an employee of Advocate BroMenn Medical Center who helped organize the event. This year, attendance increased by around 100 people compared to 2010.

The morning also included sessions of square dancing, tai chi, yoga and salsa, with the aim of helping women find a fun way to exercise.

“We wanted to introduce a lot of styles so that women could find something that could be a lot of fun for them because movement is what is important,” Wright said.

Several dance groups in the area also hosted entertainment, including McLean County Dance, Twin City Twirlers, Twin City School of Dance, McNulty Irish Dancers and the Sugar Creek Cloggers. The event ended with a Dance Off of the Stars, featuring local competitors.

“I thought it would be a small group here, but it’s a big crowd,” said Julie Dobski, a Bloomington businesswoman, who took part in the Dance Off with her husband, Bob.

They overcame their nervousness to win a cheerful competition between five couples, including Colleen Kannaday, president of Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, and her husband, Kim.

“I have two left feet and I can’t keep a rhythm,” Kannaday joked. “But it’s for a good cause, so it’s fun.”

Marge Rientz from El Paso also participated in some exercise classes. She said her active country dancing days are behind her, but she still enjoys dancing for exercise.

“A few years ago I was doing a lot of country western dancing. Now I like to combine dancing and exercise so it was wonderful, ”said Rientz, who is considering moving to the Twin Cities to take advantage of some of its fitness offerings.

Dance Day also included free medical exams, games for kids and door prizes. The event was part of a national effort, with 80 cities participating.


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