Tagata Pasifika The Pacific voice on New Zealand television since 1987

Lockdown fitness and fun with Zumba instructor Chala

Zumba Instructor Charlie Terei aka Chala
Zumba Instructor Charlie Terei aka Chala and wife Sharleen. Photo: Supplied
Ann-Tauilo Motuga | Reporter/Videographer

Since the Covid pandemic hit Aotearoa’s shores, Zumba instructor Charles Terei (aka Chala or King Chala) has made it his goal to encourage others to stay active and positive by hosting virtual Zumba classes.

“People needed to keep moving for their general wellbeing and to keep connected to others,” Chala says.

“Zumba is medicinal. It releases the good hormones, makes you feel free and helps you to forget about your worries.”

The Cook Island Māori instructor and his wife, Sharleen, are members of the Blockhouse Bay (BHB) Zumba Crew. Since the lockdowns, they’ve shifted their Zumba classes online, where they host from the comforts of their home.

“Our homes became makeshift dance floors. We found ourselves immersed into different ways of engaging with our students and learning how to use new technology.”

He’s known for his ‘extra’ personality as he incorporates props and costume changes into his routines.

“Props bring that something extra to our classes, and a lot of our students join in with their own props too,” Chala says. “Once it’s lights, camera, action, I don’t take myself too seriously; I clown around a lot.”

Chala’s classes are structured similar to a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. There are low intensity levels using dance genres like bachata and tango, while higher intensity levels include faster genres like soca and samba.

“The Zumba programme delivers many different styles of dance, so you can expect rhythms like salsa, merengue, reggaeton, cumbia, afrobeat, dancehall, bollywood, k-pop and hiphop to name a few,” Chala says.

He invites everyone near or far to join in on the fun.

“Zumba is for everyone. We cater to all people no matter your age, ethnicity, gender or ability,” Chala says.

“It’s not about being the best dancer or getting the moves right. It’s about being present in the moment, letting yourself go and just enjoying yourself.”

Chala’s classes are free for all. They run every Monday, Wednesday, Friday with BHB Zumba crew from 6-7pm and Saturday from 10-11am.

For Zoom call and class information, you can visit Charla’s Website, Instagram or Facebook.

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