Niki Risteski runs Zumba classes at the Taylors Hill Neighbourhood House. She spoke with Ewen McRae.
What is your connection to Taylors Hill?
I lived in Taylors Hill when it was first established for a few years and then I moved to Sydney where I married my husband. After 14 years we decided it was a good time to move our family to a place we felt at home and safe and where all of my family live.
What do you like best about the area?
I love the community! The people in the area are friendly. There is everything we need here – shops, buses, supermarket, doctors – it’s convenient.
What could make the area better?
Maybe a police station that is manned 24/7 in case of any emergencies and maybe upgrade some of the parks in the older estates.
Where is your favourite place to go for a feed in the area?
We enjoy going to Toscanini’s in CS Square, the food is delicious, and Slices in Caroline Springs.
Can you tell me about your work at the Taylors Hill Neighborhood House?
I am one of the tutors at the Neighbourhood House and I teach Zumba and Zumba kids. I love giving back to the community so the Neighbourhood House is the best place for me.
How did you become involved?
I decided to look into places where I could teach my Zumba classes and stumbled upon
the Neighbourhood House. I had a look around and found that it was exactly the type of place where I would love to teach, close to home and a part of the community.
This is where I began teaching my first ever Zumba class. I ran four weeks of free Zumba during Active April and it had such a great response we decided we would make it a permanent class. The class grew from once a week to now three classes a week.
What is it about Zumba that makes it so much fun and keeps people coming back?
Zumba is a workout in disguise. Every class feels like a party. The atmosphere in a Zumba class is fantastic, so much energy and everyone always looks happy. It’s just so much fun. Dancing has a lot of benefits to people’s health, mentally and physically. Zumba is a safe place for people to come and work out and become social, you get to meet new people and even have a laugh . At the end of each term I organise a class with other Zumba instructors and we all teach together, giving the students a taste of different Zumba styles. We have barbecues, tea and coffee and get to know each other. We also have fun themed classes. For example, I will be having a glow theme for the Monday class for Mother’s Day and you get to bring your mum for free. Kids are always welcome to my classes for free with their parents as well so it also creates a place for parents to be active together with their children.
When do you run your classes?
I teach Zumba for adults on Monday and Thursday at 6.30-7.30pm and now we have begun a Zumba kids class on Wednesday afternoons from 4.30-5.15pm
What has been some of the highlights from your time at the centre?
Every class is a highlight for me, I love seeing my students come back and have fun at every class and to be able to put a smile on each of their faces each time is a highlight for me. I love watching the kids dance with their parents and even better when they come up to the front and teach with me, it makes my heart full of love.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
Most people are surprised I teach Zumba to be honest! I don’t look the sporty type, but I am fit and it’s all because of Zumba. I am a mum of three and I’m 36 years old. People are always amazed at how much energy I have.