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Kids Groove During Zumba Classes at Forest Hills Yoga Center

QUEENS — It's a step in the right direction for kids' fitness.

Hoping to give children an opportunity to have fun while learning dance moves and to provide them an alternative to television and video games, a Forest Hills yoga center recently introduced Zumba classes for youngsters aged 3 to 7.

The class at Genesis Tree of Life Yoga and Wellness Center, at 102-02/06 Metropolitan Avenue, is also designed to develop children’s attention and motor skills.

“They learn to follow basic instructions and develop both major and minor motor skills,” said Blair Hotchner, the kids Zumba instructor at the center.

During the class, the children move non-stop, Hotchner said. She also teaches them traditional Zumba elements like marching, side steps, and back and front steps.

Children also wiggle their fingers, roll down and sit up, slide side-to-side or freeze in a pose, pretending that they are birds or other animals.

“It’s just fun,” said Hotchner, who plays a mix of pop and classical music during her class. “In a world where we are sitting around in front of TV so much, it’s good activity.”

The class, parents said, has many benefits. “It’s important at the school age because they need to listen to directions and follow directions,” said Antonella Natale, whose 4-year old son attends.

Natale said her son likes to run and move around and she thought the class would be a good way “of getting more organized instructions for him.”

“They also build their vocabulary about dance and music,” she said.

One participant, Epiphany, said, "It was fun."

The classes are offered in a series of 10 which costs $120.

The center also offers classes for adults, including pre-natal yoga, meditation, ballroom dancing, Kabbalah studies and tai chi.