Real Life

Meet the world’s first Zumba instructor with Down syndrome

“When she's with the music, she's got it!”

A truly motivational story.
A young California woman has fulfilled her dream of becoming America’s first ever Zumba instructor with Down syndrome.
The inspirational 24-year-old from San Francisco became an official Zumba teacher in March of 2012, after memorising and practising the routines for six hours a day.
Yulissa Arescurenaga took part in her first class in 2008, and was immediately besotted by the way the joyful routines and Latin music made her feel.
Zumba is influenced by hip-hop, samba, salsa, and mambo.
She set out to become a certified instructor in the hopes to make others feel the same way, and six years later, the brunette beauty achieved her goal.
When she’s not dancing on stage with Zumba’s founder Beto Perez, Yulissa can now be found teaching regular classes around the San Francisco area.
Last week, she and her mother Marlene Palomino even travelled to Anchorage, Alaska to lead two days of workshops.
Watch Yulissa dance to her own beat in the video player below! Post continues...
"She was killing it," Liam Mamikunian, one of the 50 students who took part in the classes at the Service High school told Alaska Dispatch News. "She didn’t miss a beat."
Adam Ahonen, a life skills teacher at the school seconded the notion, adding that her drive to achieve her goal was an absolute inspiration to the other students with Autism and Down syndrome.
"It just opens up so many doors, to know somebody's out there doing it," he said. "It teaches them they could be the first person with Down syndrome or autism doing something."
The go-getter turned her dream into a reality.
Her mother, who was watching proudly as her daughter lead the classes, said to the paper that her usually-shy daughter has the ability to connect with students on another level when she stands on that stage.
"When she's with the music, she's got it," the proud mum quipped.
Congratulations on your incredible achievements, Yulissa!
Yulissa is the first ever US certified Zumba instructor.

read more from