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Marinera Fit, CT's new Zumba-like workout in Wethersfield, blends Peruvian dances with aerobics

Instructor Nancy Carranza (from left) leads Digna Quispe, Yanina Cuentas, Mercedes Ozorio and Melanie Alzamora through a Marina Fit class.
Maricarmen Cajahuaringa
Connecticut Public
Instructor Nancy Carranza (from left) leads Digna Quispe, Yanina Cuentas, Mercedes Ozorio and Melanie Alzamora through a Marina Fit class.

The summer heat can motivate people to get active and a new class in Wethersfield offers a fun way to keep moving.

Marinera Fit is a Zumba-like workout from Peru's shoreline.

Marinera instructor Nancy Carranza is from Lima, Peru. She's been a Connecticut resident for over 30 years. Carranza started teaching Marinera to children 28 years ago. She said she wanted to teach them about their Peruvian roots.

"I've always loved to dance. It's part of my roots. I grew up with folkloric dances, listening to this type of music. I wanted to continue," Carranza said.

The workout combines all fitness and cultural dance elements from Peru, she said.

"So you work at your own pace," she said. "If you can keep up, it's good. If not, you can slow down, so it's up to each person individually. It's very different, but this is open for anybody, all communities.”

Melanie Alzamora is from West Hartford and has Peruvian ancestry. After the class, she said the rush of energy was so powerful that she couldn’t stop dancing.

"I feel so good, and I want to keep dancing," she said. "It's great to have the cultural dance aspect while getting people to exercise."

The Marinera is Peru's national dance, with roots in the Spanish fandango, African zamacueca, and indigenous couple dances. The dance portrays a couple's flirtatious pursuit.

Digna Quispe, from Glastonbury, attended the fitness class. She said she is happy to see a mix of modern and cultural dances because they unite people.

"It's nice to have more dances from Peru and teach our children," she said. "I will tell my friends!"

About five years ago, Nancy's friends asked her to start a Zumba-like class with Marinera influence. But it was until this summer that Marienera Fit began.

Mercedes Osorio is from West Hartford. She always liked the flirtatious and elegant Marinera moves and when she heard about Marinera Fit she joined in a blink of an eye.

"It's a good idea,” she said. “I felt the movements, and it made me work out my legs. It helps a lot! You feel more flexible!"

Classes are $10 and take place on the first weekends of July and August in the community room of First Church Village in Wethersfield. Classes are suitable and open to all.

Corrected: June 10, 2023 at 9:03 AM EDT
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the instructor in the photo as Nancy Navarro. The instructor is Nancy Carranza.
Maricarmen Cajahuaringa is a journalist with extensive experience in Latino communities' politics, social issues, and culture. She founded Boceto Media, a digital Spanish-language newspaper based in Connecticut. Maricarmen holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from Springfield College, and a Master's in Journalism and Media Production from Sacred Heart University. As a reporter for Connecticut Public, she is dedicated to delivering accurate and informative coverage of the Hispanic/Latino population in the region. Maricarmen is an experienced and passionate journalist who strives to bring a voice to the stories of her community.

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