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East Tennessee Zumba team reaches for top prize | News

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East Tennessee Zumba team reaches for top prize
East Tennessee Zumba team reaches for top prize

East Tennessee Zumba instructors know how to dance.

In fact, their original choreography landed them in the top ten in an international competition where they hope to bring home the top prize.

They call themselves the Hard Knox Crew: Shanie Marshall, Paulette Ray, Jen Celeste, Liz Harding, Kay Houser and Gabbie McConkey.

They are Zumba instructors mostly from East Tennessee.

"Crystal from New Jersey, Samantha and Sarah from North Carolina. We had a tenth member from Saudi Arabia but unfortunately he was unavailable to get signed up for registration in time to join the contest," Liz Harding said.

They competed as a team at a Zumba convention in Orlando. The competition included 160 teams and 7,000 instructors.

Zumba instructors usually lead students in energetic exercise classes like one at The Rush in West Knoxville.

"I myself have lost 70 pounds doing Zumba so it works and I explain to people it works for everybody and it is fun. If you're not having fun working out or doing whatever you're doing in everyday life then why are you doing it?" Harding said.

At the convention, Hard Knox Crew came up with choreography for a contest called "original moves."

"That is the hard part. Coming up with something totally original was extremely hard and I looked back over the ZIN videos -- that's Zumba Instructor Network videos -- and there was so much and there are so many different flavors," Shanie Marshall explained.

She says Gene Kelly the tap dancer inspired some of their original moves.

They're top ten finalists.

"We're just little old Knoxville. Little old Knoxville. We rocked it out!" Harding said.

Zumba instructors will select the ultimate winning team who will fly to Los Angeles to perform with the founder of Zumba.

Voting continues through Veterans Day. The dance veterans are confident they'll zoom to the top.

Liz Harding said, "I think we're going to be number one."

Hard Knox Crew team members are:

Liz Harding - Knoxville
Shanie Marshall - Madisonville
Gabbie McConkey - Madisonville
Jen Celeste - Loudon
Paulette Peters Ray - Kingston
Kay Houser - Kingston
Samantha Collins -North Carolina
Sarah Nagle -North Carolina
Crystal Gaynor - New Jersey

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