Zumba Gold instructor has all the right moves 

By Marie Fricker 

Jean Beale, 89, of Scituate lifts her leg and kicks, spins around and “shakes her booty” as Zumba Gold instructor Justine Hobin changes the tune to a Latin beat for the next dance. 

“Justine keeps everything new and exciting,” said Beale, who takes Hobin’s classes on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Scituate Senior Center. “It really filled a need for me when they closed Mosely’s in Dedham where I’d gone ballroom dancing every week for years. But now we have Zumba, and it’s a lot closer to home.” 

Hobin, 66, who wears a gold coin-bedazzled hip scarf (similar to a belly dancer’s), teaches Latin-based dance at the Marshfield, Scituate, Middleboro, and Hull senior centers.  

“I have an extensive playlist of songs because I don’t want my students to get bored,” said Hobin. “My one-hour class begins with a slow warmup, builds up to a higher intensity, but never more than any senior is required to do, and then ends with a cool-down song.” 

Recently, in her hometown of Marshfield, she instructed a motivated group of women, most dressed in yoga pants with sneakers, some wearing the shiny Zumba clothes of their teacher. 

The students punched the air with green-tipped maracas (toning sticks) and danced to the lyrics of “What I Like About You.” 

Hobin, a certified Zumba and toning instructor, has developed a large following of seniors since she started her classes seven years ago. 

“This is a hobby for me, and I don’t raise my fees,” said the mother of three adult daughters and grandmother of four. “My classes are just $5 and they’re how I socialize.”  

She leads her Marshfield group with exuberant shout-outs and explicit instructions. 

“Heel, toe, on the count of two,” she says, smiling and moving across the gleaming floor of the dance studio. “Arms up, deep breath, exhale, shake it out, and bring it home.” 

One participant, Josephine Bonaffini, 75, of Marshfield, is sitting out this session on a bench in the back of the room. Hobin smiles and waves as Bonaffini follows her classmates’ movements with her arms and feet while singing the strains of “I Want to Put on My, My, My, My, My Boogie Shoes.”  

She injured her leg recently but was eager to participate in a modified version of her workout. 

“I wouldn’t miss Justine’s class for anything,” said Bonaffini. “Even when it’s raining, I feel like dancing.” 

Terry Ziccardi, 79, of Scituate, recently a Zumba session in Marshfield. 

“I follow Justine wherever she goes,” she said. “It brings me a lot of joy. But more importantly, I had a heart condition (cardiomyopathy) for 25 years and my doctor recently told me it’s gone. He said your heart is functioning normally. Don’t stop exercising.” 

Linda Hayes Kelly, director of the Scituate Senior Center, has been integral in planning the programs and activities of the three-year-old Council on Aging facility, which recently earned its national accreditation. She also teaches tai chi at the center. 

“Justine’s students love her, and with good reason,” said Hayes Kelly. “It is not just about the dance and toning exercises she provides, but also about the community she creates in her classes. We are fortunate to have her!” 

Roberta Engler, 73, a former dance school owner in Marshfield, joined Hobin’s Zumba class after her retirement looking for “something to do,” but it soon became a passion. “I love the Latin American music,” said Engler. “And if you’re dancing to music you love, you’ll want to keep coming back. That’s what I do.”  

Some of the seniors who exercise with Zumba Gold on a regular basis report having been able to cut down or entirely eliminate heart or blood-pressure medications. Most attest to having increased energy and more of a zest for life.  

Hobin enjoys the fun and camaraderie of her Zumba instruction, but she is serious about the health benefits of her program. 

“It’s up to you how much you want to put into it,” she tells her students. “The exercises and toning strengthen your cardio and your muscles, but my motto for all of my classes is ‘No move is a wrong move.’ Just move!”