|Written by Greg Ruland|
|Sunday, 23 October 2011 12:00|
A Cottonwood dancer with professional credits around the nation distinguished himself again in July when Zumba International, a promoter of physical fitness through dance, selected him as one of only 60 choreographers in the world certified to train Zumba instructors.
Eric Aglia, who teaches dance and Zumba classes locally, was chosen out of more than 40,000 applicants worldwide to become an instructor of instructors, also known as a “jammer.” In July, he received jammer training in Florida, he said.
Zumba instructors may now get direction from Aglia on how to give their clients the best time possible, the best education and the best fitness, Aglia said.
To qualify, Aglia had to complete a 10-page application and submit a video of himself dancing Zumba. He chose to record his Thursday night class, which is always high-energy and filled to capacity. The approach paid off.
“I was sitting next to a guy from Spain, a guy from Australia, two guys from Mexico,” Aglia said of his training. “There were people there from around the world.”
The high point of his training came when Aglia was called onto the stage to dance with Zumba founder Alberto “Beto” Perez, who was there to induct the corps of master trainers. Aglia was the only trainee invited onto the stage to dance, he said.
A resident of Rimrock, Aglia owns and operates his own dance studio in Cottonwood. He decided to settle down and start a family about 10 years ago, choosing to teach instead of perform in places like Las Vegas, where he opened for Elton John.
He made money as a dancer for the first time at age 12 and performed his first professional gig at a theater in Reno, Nev., at age 17.
For a high school production, he performed choreography from Michael Jackson’s music video, “Thriller,” and discovered he had the talent to enrich people’s lives by his graceful movements.
It was after a “Thriller” performance that he learned his work cheered a 7-year-old girl battling cancer. The girl’s greatest wish was to meet Jackson.
Aglia’s connection to Jackson doesn’t end there. Called to audition for the pop star’s final concert tour in 2008, Aglia appears in a movie about the auditions and rehearsals, “This Is It,” which screened after Jackson’s death.
Represented by a talent agency with many dance clients, Aglia continues to find work as a professional dancer when not otherwise occupied with his teaching.
His 1,000-square-foot studio in the 600 block of North Main Street sees as many as 25 dancers a night looking to improve their health by moving to the Latin and world music rhythms of Zumba.
As a choreographer, Aglia modifies the steps at times to improve the experience for his students and likes to use all types of world music.
Lately, he has been employing the music of Bollywood, soundtracks from musicals produced in Mumbai, India.
“My class would probably never be experiencing this style of movement or music elsewhere,” Aglia said. “It broaden’s everybody’s idea of what dance music is.”
For more information, call (928) 274-2226.
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