Sandy Dizenzo, 41, opened Cardio Party Fitness Studio in Avon last May because there were no strictly Zumba studios in town and she wanted to give people a place to work out without having to be a member of a gym.
"I always wanted to open my own gym," said Dizenzo, who also has owned a Cardio Party studio in her hometown of Southington for two and a half years.
Zumba fuses salsa, merengue and other dance styles with fitness moves. For many – as Dizenzo puts it – it's "exercise in disguise."
"It's fun and energetic and you're getting exercise without realizing it," she said, also calling it a great experience for the "mind, body and spirit" to free people's thoughts.
A disco ball and spinning colored lights illuminate the studio to add a fun flare to the energy-filled dance workouts. Class members can also watch themselves move via an expansive wall mirror.
While Dizenzo said that people have told her they shy away from Zumba because they don't feel they have rhythm, she said "when they actually come to class, they actually find that they can." No experience is needed to do Zumba, she said.
Dizeno – who has been a strength training specialist for about three years – leads clientele ranging from 13- to 70-year-olds in the one-hour classes. Guys have also come to Cardio Party.
Recently, Dizenzo hosted a hip-hop-themed birthday party for a local boy. She is willing to work with parents on other ideas for their kids' parties from Zumba lessons and freestyle dancing time to karaoke. Her husband constructed a "magic carpet" on wheels for princess birthday parties at her studios.
She plans to offer Zumbatomic classes for kids ages 6 to 11 in the future, as well as Zumba Gold classes designed for active older adults.
Sometimes Dizenzo hosts themed master classes with guest instructors.
While building up her new business in Avon is important, Dizenzo also is open to fundraising initiatives at special request. Through Zumba classes at her studios and at events, she's helped raise money for local schools through their PTOs, for juvenile diabetes research through JDRF and the American Cancer Society. The full amount of her proceeds from fundraising classes go to the organizations. All she asks for in exchange is advertisement of those classes.
"To me it's a great way to get people out and active and raise money for a good cause," Dizenzo said.
Cardio Party classes cost $10 for drop-ins and $85 for 10 classes. There's no binding contract to do Zumba there, so Dizenzo said people can come as they please.
Cardio Party is located at 9 Avonwood Road in the business plaza next to the Avon Cider Mill property on Route 10 in Avon. Her Southington studio is at 1475 Meriden/Waterbury Turnpike.
For more information, you can call the Avon studio at 860-620-7304.