Motivation, encouragement, knowledge

Club music mixed with Latin flavor blasted through the audio system's speakers.

As the upbeat songs played, about 25 women broke a sweat dancing and jumping throughout the dance room, at the Riverdale Town Center, 7200 Church St., Riverdale.

The ladies were part of a Zumba class of Riverdale's "Get Fit!" program, according to city officials. The one-hour long class is every Tuesday at 7 p.m.

"It is an energetic fun way to really exercise...it doesn't seem like I am working out," said participant Michelle Belcher, of Riverdale.

Lonnie Ballard, director of Riverdale's Department of Community, Cultural Affairs and Leisure Services, said the ongoing program provides fitness and education classes to residents and the community.

"It helps promote good health and wellness to people, and it elevates the quality of life in Riverdale," said Ballard.

He said the program is divided into six sessions and each session lasts two months. The summer session will end on Sept. 2, and it includes various classes, he added.

The most popular classes are kept throughout the year, though new classes are introduced for each new session, he added.

Ballard said having new classes assures the needs of members are met. "We [Riverdale Town Center] are a new venture, so we are still getting a feel of what the community is looking for," he said.

The new "R&B Line Dance" fitness class is currently available every Wednesday, from 7:30 p.m., to 8:30 p.m., said Ballard. Participants will be able to get in shape with line dances such as the "Electric Slide," "Wobble," and "Jamaica Funk."

Popular classes include Zumba and "Gutt & Butt," a toning workout focusing on the gluteus maximus, abdominal and leg muscles. The toning class occurs on Mondays, from 6 p.m., to 7 p.m., he explained.

People can also enroll in education classes such as "Intro to Salsa," "Summer Skin Care & Makeup," and "The Art of Doll Making," said the director.

The classes are available for Town Center members and non-members, for $10 and $20, said Ballard.

Non-members pay an additional "drop-in" rate of $8 for Riverdale residents, and $9 for people not living in the city, he said. This fee is paid each time a person wants to participate in a class.

Town Center memberships are available for youth, adults and seniors, for Riverdale residents and non-residents at different prices, said Ballard. Only members can sign up for an entire session of classes, he said.

For example, he said, adults residing in Riverdale can attain a monthly membership for $20, a semi-annual membership for $110 and an annual membership for $220. The membership also allows access to the gymnasium, fitness center, walking track and special member events. Members must also pay for the classes, he stressed.

Some fitness and education classes are free for members each session, said Ballard. Currently, members can participate in classes such as "Yoga," "Kickbox Cardio," and "Gardening and Landscaping" at no charge, he said.