What if instead of running for a cause, you could dance for it?
That is what Special Spaces did Tuesday when they held a Zumbathon in order to raise money for its organization.
Special Spaces is a non-profit organization founded in July 2004 that creates dream bedrooms for children aged 0 to 21 with critical illnesses, according to their website.
The company, which has at least one affiliate in each state, utilizes a board for each chapter that reviews requests sent in. These requests are often sent through email by family, friends or members of the medical staff that have worked with the child.
Once the request is approved, teams are sent out to interview the child in order to create the perfect space for them to relax through their illness. Since the company is nonprofit, the money for each room often comes from family, church groups or local businesses and corporations. Sometimes extra fundraising is needed.
This is where projects like the Zumbathon come in.
This event was $5 – all of which was donated to the charity – according to the UT chapter's Facebook page.
The first university affiliate offered two hours of non-stop Zumba and a free T-shirt to those who attended.
"I heard about it through (a friend). She wanted to go, so I just tagged along," said Hannah Smith, a Knoxville native. "I thought it was all really good. All three instructors each added a different element."
The dance attracted attendees of different ages and dancing ability. It was headed by three certified Zumba instructors, one leading while the other two made sure everyone was getting the steps. They alternated positions as the songs changed, each showing their own style whether the tempo was fast or slow and keeping the energy up.
Kelly Bekele, the chapter director, found the three instructors through ZIN, or Zumba Instructors Network. There, certified instructors are listed with contact information on the Zumba website.
"I just looked for people in Knoxville and people with phone numbers. They were all so nice. They said, 'Oh, your cause is so amazing. We really want to help,'" Bekele said of the three experienced Zumba teachers.
Olivia Spears, one of the instructors who has been teaching for five years, explained that she hasn't been teaching classes lately due to her busy schedule.
However, she is always open to charity events.
"I'm available for Zumbathons and fundraisers," Spears said. "I'll dance for any cause, as long as it's a good cause. I'm glad that I got the opportunity to meet everyone here. This is just such a special event."
More information, including how to volunteer, how to donate and pictures of finished products, can be found on Special Space's website.
Upcoming events and news specific to the UT chapter can be found on its Facebook page.