Thessalenure (~Thess~) said that parents proudly exclaim that she danced before she could walk so she has been dancing her entire life. Her formal dance training; however, in West African, Modern, Contemporary, and Hip-Hop dance, began in college. She has been a performing member of two professional dance companies: the Wesley Williams Dance Ensemble (1993-1997) and the Wesley Williams Urban Dance Theatre (2003-2008) and numerous dance teams including “Eagle Essence”, the dancer group for the NCCU Sound Machine.
Thess holds a Ph.D. from Iowa State University and Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from N.C. Central University. She has been a faculty/staff/administrator at several universities including: NC A&T State University, Rutgers University, The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the University of Kentucky, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, The University of the Virgin Islands, Texas A&M University and The University of Houston.
Thess has conducted research and taught classes in sociology, research methods, family studies, human development, multicultural issues, cultural competency and professional development. She has written numerous articles, presented at multiple professional conferences and co-authored a textbook chapter.
*Zumba® Background (ZIN™ & Zumba® Jammer)*
Thess has always loved dance fitness. While in graduate school, she taught step classes at the university in between classes; however, it wasn’t until 2010, that she began attending Zumba® classes. She was instantly hooked and felt an immediate connection between the movements and rhythms. One of the instructors at the facility suggested that she obtain her licensure to teach so in 2011, she did just that.
In July 2016, Thess was selected as a Zumba® Jammer (ZJ™️) and is thrilled to represent the Zumba® Family by leading Choreo ZIN™ Jam sessions for the ZIN™ community. She has held ZIN™ Jam sessions in various cities across multiple states including Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Missouri, Tennessee, Delaware and Alaska!
*Certifications and Licenses (and Continuing Education)*
Thess is an AFAA-certified Primary Group Fitness instructor. She is also licensed to teach Zumba®, Zumba® Toning, Aqua Zumba®, Zumba® Gold, Zumba® Sentao, Zumba® Step and STRONG™ Nation. She has also completed trainings in Zumba® Basic 2, Rhythms 3 and Zumba® Pro Skills.
Teaching group fitness classes are a welcome change of pace to her current professional career and she is grateful that those classes are a prominent part of her life. She LOVES teaching Zumba ®️classes, LOVES the fitness community, LOVES the music/choreography/rhythms and, especially, LOVES the way it still puts a smile on her face and in her heart.