Thielen Health Center located across from State Gym.

About 50 ghoulishly-dressed students embraced the spirit of Halloween by dancing along with instructors to mega-hits like “Thriller” by Michael Jackson on Tuesday at State Gym.

After last spring’s insanity launch party, Recreation Services brainstormed ideas on creating other major wellness events, which led to the creation of the Halloween fitness dance party.

By combining dance and a zombie theme, Iowa State students could celebrate the season and stay active. Students were encouraged to come with their best zombie outfits and even had a chance to get zombified with volunteer make-up artists.

Leading the class, recreation services' dance instructors came together with a mixture of Latin and spooky Halloween hits. Students with the most creativity had a chance to win a free smoothie at Whirlybird’s, located inside State Gym. Students who also entered their information had a chance at winning an Echo Dot. 

Ashley Artist, fitness class coordinator, said the success of the first Halloween fitness dance party led to the continuance of the event, with a few minor changes and improvements. By having it after Homecoming week and adding more Latin music, Artist hoped to appeal to younger students who lived on campus.

“We were hoping to provide a fun, healthy and safe Halloween event,” Artist said. 

Located in East State Gym, a podium stood against the wall of the dimly lit court, with carved pumpkins lined on both sides. With the court providing plenty of space, the instructors switched after each song. Varying styles of dance combined with Latin music provided more intense cardio, while each Halloween classic brought nostalgia and fun.

Araceli Lopez, a senior in political science and Zumba instructor, said planning for the Halloween fitness dance party began in September. Lopez said each instructor incorporated their style with each song, whether Latin or pop-inspired choreography. Lopez said it was an atmosphere to have fun, meet new people and work out.

“Everyone says ‘I’m not a dancer,’ but I think everyone has got some rhythm to them,” Lopez said. “When in doubt, dance it out.”

Toward the end, each student who signed in had a chance to win a free Echo Dot. Students who dressed were also considered for the best dressed contest. This year, the winners were Carter Fietek, an exchange student studying mechanical engineering who had fake wounds and a torn, bloody outfit, and three graduate students in biomedical sciences: Alejandra Bargues Carot, a Ph.D. student, Monica Hepker, an M.S. student and Alyssa Nease, a Ph.D. student, who collectively came as the “Powerpuff Girls.”

Each winner shared their favorite moment of the night. Nease shared that “She Wolf” by Shakira was her favorite song played during the night. Hepker said she enjoyed getting dressed up and seeing the big crowd dancing together. Bargues Carot simply enjoyed dancing. Fietek enjoyed getting to meet new people and branching out.

“I didn’t really know anyone coming here because I’m an exchange student,” Fietek said. “It was a great way to meet new people and have something to do on campus.”

Artist hopes to continue the tradition and reign in bigger crowds as time goes on.

(1) comment

Rick Krieger

Even though Step-by-Step, the halloween fitness dance feels slow, you'll burn a ton of calories in your 55 minutes. My heart rate was up and down, up and down during the workout. I continued to walk in place to keep my heart rate elevated instead of standing around while instructors explained the moves and actually demonstrated them. This will make you feel like you're watching a party planner ny with their purple heavier weights while you stand there like a pencil-neck. They do make a rain stick-type noise when you shake them. But since they don't do much for my workout, I gave them to my four-year-old and he loves them!

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