Zumba Fit 4 Life
Erica Dixon recognizes that not everyone is a professional dancer, including herself. During her Zumba classes, she motivates students to break a sweat with aerobic choreography that dancers of all levels can catch on to quickly, leaving the pro moves to the tiny ballerinas trapped in jewelry boxes. In addition to Latin styles such as salsa, merengue, and samba, she infuses routines with moves from some of her favorite styles, including hip-hop, African dance, and belly dance.
Erica's passion for helping others get a handle on their health is inspired by her own life. Though she'd always been active, when she started working at a fast-food joint before her senior year of high school, she packed on 25 pounds. Despite knowing that if she didn't get fit she was at risk for developing type 2 diabetes—like her father did—, she continued to gain weight until she saw him injecting insulin into his stomach. Terrified by the thought of having to use needles, she became dedicated to new habits: eating fruits and vegetables, walking laps around the track, and counting calories. She left college 10 sizes smaller than when she enrolled.
To continue pursuing fitness, Erica convinced a local gym manager to give her a membership in exchange for cleaning treadmills for three hours a week. She reveled in the fit-centric atmosphere and realized she wanted to make helping others get into shape her career, so she signed up to be a Military Recreation intern in Sicily. When she returned home, she earned six gold medals at the USA Jump Rope Nationals and helmed her own fitness center for two years. She's now the director of campus recreation and wellness at her alma mater, North Carolina Central University, and inspires students to shimmy off pounds in her Zumba classes in addition to training other instructors as a Zumba choreography specialist.