Dianne Schommer has been living and working in Switzerland for the past 26 years, the last seven of which she has been teaching zumba.
She learnt the sport of zumba ten years ago, while in the U.S. In Switzerland, she was among the first crop of zumba trainers that popularized the sport in the country.
“I was one of the first people who brought zumba to Switzerland. I was in the U.S from where I learnt zumba, and there it was really happening, so I took it with me to Switzerland,” she reveals.
Every year she travels back to Rwanda where she has also popularized the zumba sport.
Zumba is an exercise fitness programme. It involves dance and aerobic movements performed to energetic music. The choreography incorporates hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue and mambo. Squats and lunges are also included.
At the beginning of October, Schommer travelled to Rwanda, on a mission to test the popularity of zumba among her own.
She has since managed to set up three different zumba classes; one at The Manor Hotel in Nyarutarama (Wednesdays), at the Nyarutarama Tennis Club (Fridays), and at Waka Fitness (Saturdays). Each class lasts one hour.
Schommer is a graduate of sports school, where she specialised in different sports disciplines. But zumba is her first love, and it’s the reason she is in Rwanda at the moment.
She is Rwandan and says she wanted to come home and share her passion with Rwandans because zumba is good in many aspects; mental, physical, and anybody gets something out of it.
“With zumba you get to know people. When you’re in zumba class you’re all on one page, busy working out and feeling good,” said Schommer.
“The movements are funny and something to laugh about. You leave when you’re sweating like crazy, so it’s a really good sport but contrary to popular belief, it’s not only for women. It’s my passion to help people out and teach them the culture of working out because it’s very healthy. You can never lose when you work out,” she explained.
In her classes, she teaches different kinds of zumba like Aqua zumba, zumba fitness, and zumba toning.
Like any other zumba class, the exercises are done to a backdrop of Latino music because, Schommer explains, “the founder, Alberto Perlman was Latino (from Colombia) and he’s my inspiration.”
Following the decent turn out for her zumba classes in Kigali so far, Schommer plans to settle in Rwanda “for good.”
“I just begun with zumba but there is more to come. There is another sport called trampoline, it’s very good, but it needs a trampoline, so I need to first ship in the equipment. There is also a sport called spinning, which involves cycling a bicycle that is not moving and it also needs equipment.”