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Dancing for charity

July 8 - 14 , 2020

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Gulf Weekly Dancing for charity

Dancing queen Mai Alumran has been staging virtual Zumba sessions to encourage people to stay fit as well as to support an initiative aimed at feeding families struggling from the outbreak of Covid-19.

The 28-year-old counsellor by day and Zumba instructor by night joined the global Your Moves Matter campaign to help make a difference.

Zumba Fitness, in partnership with The Global FoodBanking Network, aim to donate one million meals. For every person who joins a virtual Zoom session, one free meal will be delivered and the initiative will not stop until the target is reached.

Within weeks, more than 100,000 meals had been handed out. Mai said: “I think the initiative is fantastic. Zumba has managed to find a way to help those in need during this pandemic.

“I have around 15 people per week signing up for my sessions and the beauty of having virtual classes now is that it allows people from all over the world to join in.”

Aside from supporting the cause, participating in Zumba, she says, is a great way to dance any stay-at-home blues away.

Zumba is an exercise fitness programme created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto ‘Beto’ Pérez during the 1990s.

Mai, a school learning support teacher and counsellor, joined because she loves to dance. She completed a foundation year in performing arts - dancing, singing and acting - in the UK and then received her bachelor’s degree in psychology in the US.

 “It has always been a way to express myself and I have found it to be an incredible stress reliever too,” added Mai, who lives in Mahooz.

She got her Zumba certification in September 2018 after completing an instructor-training workshop in Bahrain and is currently teaching two virtual classes per week.

“It provides a non-judgmental, safe and fun environment to let loose and express yourself,” she added.

She is also a certified Zumba Kids and Kids Junior instructor, as well as a newly-certified Zumba Gold instructor.

 During the month of April she provided free classes to encourage more people to try the fitness sessions during the pandemic. Participants donated the usual fees to local charities such as the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS), Bahrain Animal Rescue Centre (BARC) and Shamsaha.

Her next initiative is a women’s empowerment class, held later today, in support of the environment. For each person who attends this session, the restaurant Eighty Thirty has pledged to plant a tree on their behalf.

For more details follow @zumba.mai on Instagram.

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