The Rapidian

Live.Dance.Move inspires change in our community

Local dance fitness instructor Kate Rehmus talks about how switching careers and discovering Zumba gave her strength to lose 80 pounds and fight through a troubled marriage and now dedicates her life to inspire others.
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Kate's Typical Weekly Schedule

Mondays

  • 5:45 pm, Zumba at the YWCA
  • 7:00 pm, WERQ at the YWCA

Tuesdays

  • 10:00 am, Zumba at GVSU
  • 11:30 am, Bellydance for Fitness at GVSU
  • 4:00 pm, Zumba Gold at Gilda’s Club

Thursdays

  • 10:00 am, Zumba at GVSU
  • 11:30 am, Bellydance for Fitness at GVSU
  • 5:45 pm, Zumba at the YWCA
  • 7:30 pm, Zumba at Cedar Springs Middle School 

/Rhiannon McCalmont of Adorn Photography

/Belding Commuity Education Fitness Classes

Kate Rehmus, creator of Live.Dance.Move, is using her own life experiences to help build confidence and community across the Grand Rapids area. She teaches 15 classes a week, and she’s been doing it for six years. While dancing was something she grew up with, it was not a career that she picked for herself. "I thought I was gonna be a career woman wearing little business suits,” she laughs,”but now I wear black stretchy pants all day!”

Kate grew up studying dance, but was forced to give it up in college to focus on a more practical career choice. But after graduating, she stumbled across many obstacles which slammed her with emotional and physical hardships. “My marriage started falling apart right after our honeymoon, it was a very negative place for me,” she confesses, “I did a lot of sitting on my full-time job, and I ended up gaining 80 pounds.”

She was overworked and stressed; her parents saw that their daughter had lost the vibrant spark she used to have while dancing. With their help, Kate marched into a gym armed with a membership and the support of her parents. At that gym, they offered a class that spoke to Kate’s dance background – a hip, latin-infused dance fitness class called Zumba.

“When I started my first Zumba class, I didn’t even make it through the warm-up because I was so overweight and out of shape,” she explains, “but as soon as the music came on, something inside of me just woke up that had been dormant for so long. I had forgotten how much dance had been a part of my life and I had let it go.”

As the weeks progressed, Kate would keep coming back to that Zumba class. She would only do two songs, and then three songs, until eventually she was able to complete an entire class. “That one hour was the most joyful moment in my life,” she admits, ”It would keep me going because it was the only time when it didn’t matter what other people thought of me. It didn’t matter what was happening in my marriage. It was a safe place where I could feel beautiful, strong, and confident.”

Even though she was in a class full of people, she felt “at that time, it was just me, just dancing, just music. It was healing my spirit in way that nothing else was touching me at the time.” Kate quickly found kinship with the instructor, who was also dealing with a difficult marriage. Before she knew it, the instructor asked Kate to cover for her during an emergency surgery procedure. Although she was worried at first, it was undeniable that she was right for the job. With her dance background and dedication to Zumba classes, Kate was able to fill in for the instructor for an entire month. It wasn’t long before Kate took the leap and received training so that she could be licensed as an official Zumba instructor.

For the first several years, Kate only taught a few classes on the side. Eventually the popularity of her dance fitness classes led to her teaching ten classes per week. The work became overwhelming with her part-time job, so she had to make a choice between continuing as a dance fitness instructor or relying on her stable career.

In 2008, Kate started her own dance fitness business called Live.Dance.Move. The uniqueness of her personal life situation has led to a lot of acceptance amongst her students. “I am not your perfectly toned instructor,” she says, “I’ve got curves and always will. I’ve got stretch marks that will never go away, but that just shows where I came from. I can relate to a lot of people out there that have struggled with their healthiness.”

Attending and instructing local dance fitness classes have helped Kate develop a lot of friendships and encourage her that she wasn’t alone in the community. In many cases, teaching other students helped inspire her to carry on through her own life obstacles. She talks about what motivates her to teach despite exhaustion, “There is a moment, specifically for the women that come to my class, where I can look at them while they're dancing in class…and they do that first shimmy or first little hip shake, and something inside them lightens up and they realize that they can be fit, happy, and sexy. I love seeing that on their faces and I know that’s it, that’s why I’m still here.”

As painful as they may be, Kate is unashamed of the struggles she went through and uses her difficult experiences to inspire other people in the community. While doing a Zumba demonstration at the Rockford Freshmen Center with the Stress Management and Choir classes, she told the freshmen how “managing stress is finding the one thing that speaks to you, and don’t ever let that go, because I let that thing go and it nearly destroyed me.”

While it can be physically tiring to constantly keep up with new routines and different events, Kate wants to keep inspiring her community to grow and improve their fitness. Her students range from all ages, genders, and fitness levels. “I don’t care how fast or which direction you’re moving, as long as you’re smiling and breathing. They say that Zumba and WERQ are the gateway drug to fitness,” she laughs, “It opens the door, it gets people who like to dance comfortable with fitness, to see that it isn’t hard or scary.”

People interested in viewing one of Kate Rehmus' local classes can check the schedule here. Her next event is an AfterWERQ party this Sunday, November 25, 2012. It is located at The Pyramid Scheme and spots can be reserved in advance online.  

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