Teaching Zumba Brings Joy to New Lacey Business Owner
Rhythm Zone offers several classes daily to a variety of ages
Claudia Flores will never forget the first Zumba class she held in Lacey Township. It brought her joy.
“I walked into this place and I saw all these people,” the Toms River Zumba instructor said. “It felt so good because I never had that big of a crowd. I was so happy. Until this day those faces are still with me.”
Flores went from renting out space at fitness centers such as Ultimate Fitness and Alice’s Dancin' Corner to opening her own gym on Tuesday, April 3. Rhythm Zone offers a variety of Zumba classes, a Latin dance-inspired fitness program.
“It was always a dream of mine to have my own dance studio, “ she said.
From instructing Zumba classes at various gyms throughout the area, Flores’ following was growing.
“It was time to get my own place,” she said. “I couldn’t use the Zumba brand. Zumba is music and you have to feel the rhythm. That’s where I got Rhythm Zone.”
Flores took her first Zumba class in 2007 at a gym in Toms River.
“What brought me to Zumba was pretty much the feeling that I was looking for something different,” she said. She walked into the gym and saw many people waiting for a Zumba class to begin.
Flores gave the class a chance and quickly moved to the front of the room to dance alongside the instructor.
“She was the one who gave me the push that I needed to explore something I didn’t know I had,” she said.
After moving to America from Peru at age 16, Flores was disappointed to leave her native land. After returning home from her first class, her mom said, “Something changed in you,” she said.
Flores, now 27, got certified and began teaching.
Today, Flores has more than 700 students and holds several classes at Rhythm Zone each day.
“I started with eight people in the morning. Now there are 50,” she said.
Even with the growing numbers, the classes are comfortable with the larger space now, she said.
“My second dream is to have a bigger place with a bigger parking lot in two to three years,” she said.
Soon, Flores plans to add more classes.
"Dancing is something fun," she said. "You don't fell like you're working out. My goal is to bring a different type of fitness fun for everyone. Zumba is an exercise in disguise."
Flores’ philosophy for herself and the students at Rhythm Zone is to “love what you do and every person here,” she said.
“My students to me are like family,” she said. “These people mean so much to me. Each and every one of your students, you’ve got to love them and make them feel welcome.”
Students range from 15 years old and over. Rhythm Zone also offers a class for 4 to 7 year olds and 8 to 13 year olds, she said.
The gym is located at 335 North Main Street in Lanoka Harbor. For more information visit the Rhythm Zone website or call 732-600-5985. A class schedule can also be found online.