Student Journeys @ Z Club NY – Haiti Beach Bum Retreat

By June 8, 2014blog

In May 2014, Z Club NY launched its newest treat for its student community – an all inclusive, high-energy, camaraderie-filled Zumba retreat to Haiti. With careful planning and seamless execution, Edmee put together a trip that blended the thrill and benefits of Zumba with a spectacular backdrop and inspiring culture. Edmee partnered with instructors Irena Meletiou and Jamie Drye for this inaugural trip  – and boy did they bring the heat! The three-day retreat included two Zumba Master Classes, Aqua Zumba in the ocean, Bokwa, and Zumba Step. Club Indigo, a newly renovated hotel that provided cozy accommodation, delicious food and entertainment, and facilitated support for the classes, graciously and delightfully hosted us. – by Yali Szulanski for Z Club NY.

We arrived and were welcomed with local refreshments before changing and jumping right into our first class taught by Edmee, Irena and Jamie. Each one of them has such powerful energy and bringing the tree of them together made for an exhilarating experience. They filled the classes – and the days- with so much energy. We were treated to nightly dinners and even a barbecue on the beach with a live local band.

On the second day, we started off with a bright and early Aqua class and then made our way to one of the most beautiful places on Earth – Saut D’eau – an in-forest waterfall and holy site of Erzuli Dantur, the Haitian Spirit of motherhood. We had a chance to interact with locals, explore the country a bit, and bond over the experience of climbing up a waterfall together. Edmee carefully monitored every aspect of the trip and we felt safe and nurtured throughout. We returned to a heart-pumping Bokwa class taught by Jamie, which left us all energized and refreshed for the evening celebration.

The third day was our Zumba extravaganza! We started out with a Master Class taught by the extraordinaire Z Club NY team, and after a little bit of beach time, we jumped right into another Aqua Zumba class taught by Edmee, who had us making waves! No one brings the sizzle to Aqua Zumba like Edmee does – her energy is invigorating. Zumba Step class with Irena. What a thrill that was! If we thought we couldn’t pump up our adrenaline even more, we were wrong! The Zumba Step class was challenging, motivating, and exciting. We couldn’t have asked for a more dedicated and conscientious team of instructors to guide us through the retreat.

It’s been a few weeks since the retreat, but I still find myself daydreaming about my time there. From the breathtaking beauty that is Haiti, to the fierce classes, to the time spent with the group, forming lasting friendships. My favorite moment was on Saturday night when, after a day filled with challenging and exhilarating classes, we came together and created our own dance party. I rarely get such a chance to really let go and release my fears and just dance…so it was fun to do that in a setting that was safe, fun, and filled with love.

I think the comments from my fellow attendees best sum up our unique experience; here are some highlights.

What was your favorite moment of the retreat?
“I had several. Early morning water classes. Seafood dinner on the beach and the camaraderie of all events” – Mona Williams

“Too many- but probably the first master class when we had arrived. It was my first class with Z Club NY and I really loved the positive energy and of course the actual class.” – Sandi Yadegari

“There were so many – loved the waterfall excursion! Cyril was a fantastic tour guide and the restaurant lunch was also really lovely. Also loved the classes and live band and the Saturday night party!!!” – Akilah Whittaker

“Hard to tell… the classes…but also loved Saturday night when we played music and danced to our heart’s content!” – Verouschka Capellan

“I enjoyed the entire experience, I can’t say there was one time I wasn’t enjoying myself. Fabulous from beginning to end!” – Jacqueline Singh

“Loved the BBQ on the beach with the live music & the party we had under the tent the last night of the trip” – Mindy Faustin

“Loved both the Zumba master class with Irena & dancing with Jamie!” – Jessica Castro

Please share any comments you had about any aspect of the retreat.
“Everything was wonderful!” – Virgie Barreras

“Both Irena and Jamie push you to go beyond your comfort zone, which I love and enjoy. Edmee’s Aqua Zumba class also pushes you to go beyond your normal trip to the gym. All the classes were excellent and always worthwhile.” – Jessica Castro

“The resort was beautiful – the beach was amazing! Everything was clean, the staff was courteous, and the food was delicious.” – Stephanie Chrisphonte

“All the classes were great! This is my first experience with Zumba group classes and I LOVED IT. The instructors were amazing and the energy of the group made the classes a lot of fun.” – Jacqueline Singh

“Absolutely loved the hotel grounds, the pool, the bar, the dining area were all very lovely! Also, the food was delicious and loved having all that fresh fruit daily!! Also the desserts were well done!! I really liked the room, it was modest but very clean – absolutely loved the white sheets and white walls!” – Akilah Whittaker

Would you encourage others to go on a future Z Club NY retreat? Why or why not?
“Yes, because I had an awesome time! I felt like I had known everyone for a lifetime. The itinerary and the trip were well orchestrated and excellent! A lot of wonderful surprises.” – Mona Williams

“Yes, it was so much fun – the classes, the people, the other activities. The whole trip was really amazing.” – Sandi Yadegari

“YES! The trip was very organized, in terms of flight, transportation, accommodations, classes and food. I felt safe the entire time and it was fun.” – Stephanie Chrisphonte

“Absolutely!! The trip was well organized and full of fun activities and classes but also left time for relaxation!” – Akilah Whittaker

“ABSOLUMENT!!!” – Virgie Barreras

“ABSOLUTELY!!! I’m already encouraging my friends to come on the next retreat.” – Jacqueline Singh

“Yes of course. It was such an enjoyable experience. I have already shared this & have encouraged my friends & family to come to the next one.” – Mindy Faustin

“Absolutely! The Z Club NY team is truly a family & community effort. Z Club NY welcomes you into their circle of friends and makes sure everyone is having a blast! We all left New York not knowing each other’s names, and once we arrived Haiti, we instantly became friends.” – Jessica Castro

I think my fellow traveler summed it up best: “I feel as if we arrived as strangers (recalling our quiet bus ride from the airport to Club Indigo) and left as friends (the warm farewells at JFK).” – Virgie Barreras

Up next: Guadeloupe! Sure to be an incredible time!

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