Four times a week, Eloiza Jorge leads Montclair YMCA classes of sometimes close to 100 members of various ages, backgrounds, and sizes in a series of exercise and dance steps that start with Salsa and travel through Merengue, Cumbia, Samba, and Bollywood moves. She also teaches a smaller “family Zumba” class at the Geyer Center once a week. She always looks relaxed and confident, and she definitely has fun; Elo’s attitude rubs off on her Zumba students who sometimes join her at the front of the class. The energy is positive and accepting, and while not everyone does the steps as they were originally meant, everyone has a great time while getting a fantastic workout. Students credit Elo’s positive attitude and ability to encourage even the most awkward students to attempt and conquer the most challenging moves.
“I want [the dancers] to feel comfortable in their bodies,” Elo said when asked about her goals in teaching Zumba. “And I want to expose people to world music and educate about its roots.” Admittedly, Elo began teaching Zumba for more personal reasons. She gained so much energy and positive body image from the classes she was taking, that once she felt confident enough, she challenged herself to start teaching them. Elo explains, “Weekly Zumba classes made up for not being able to go dancing at nightclubs or take folkloric dance classes in NYC. Dance had been a big part of my life before children – Zumba was the perfect way to lose the baby weight in a fun atmosphere. The thought occurred to me: I could totally do this. It was a fantasy I confessed to my coach and she challenged me to do it; so I did, and here I am.” After beginning with a class of just a few students, Elo now leads classes that are among the most popular at the Montclair YMCA. Check out the short videos of her Zumba routines at the end of this post.
Elo is also an adjunct professor at three (yes, three!) universities in the area. She supervises student teachers and teaches education classes to future teachers. Helping them learn teaching methods and become great educators has been Elo’s priority for many years. She particularly enjoys helping her student teachers gain the confidence to try out their own ideas and develop techniques that address a diverse array of students.
A more recent passion is personal coaching, more formally called Integrative Life Coaching. Elo describes it: I work with women and their longing – the longing for full-out living, more passion, profound meaning and deeper satisfaction. We co-create a safe place for the client to be who she really is. The sessions are an opportunity to practice bringing our playful, fierce, profound, creative, free, authentic selves to light. Coaching with me helps women design the lives they yearn to live. Elo stresses that while it is therapeutic, it is not therapy; coaching is more client driven.
When asked about what qualifies her to be an integrative life coach, Elo first mentions her own healing work and having a life coach herself. However, her Masters in Education from UC Berkeley and her certification from the New York Open Center give her “paperwork” to back up her natural listening and advising skills. Elo says that the year-long program at the Open Center helped her to hone abilities she already had, and she solidified the approach she wanted to use with clients. Elo works mostly with women, especially those who are experiencing major transitions and shifts in their lives, like motherhood, divorce, and career changes. See Elo’s Coaching page on her website Deepening Wisdom for more specific examples and testimonials from clients.
The many aspects of Eloiza Jorge’s life don’t seem immediately connected, but looking closer, they all relate to mentoring in some way. Whether it’s leading Zumba classes, teaching at local universities, being a personal coach, or mothering two young children, she is always helping others find paths to better themselves. Healing. Transformation. Acceptance. Eloiza Jorge is on a quest to help as many of us through these stages as she can.
How does someone who gives so much time to other people take care of herself? Elo admits that while she would like to meditate more often, she makes space for silence at least once a week. She also writes for herself and on her websites – see below for a list. Teaching Zumba at the YMCA also helps her to balance her work and family life. The physical movement and positive energy from the students always end up cleansing any sour emotions by the end of a class.
Thankfully, Eloiza Jorge is a Montclair native who plans on sticking around for the long haul. Her son is starting Kindergarten in the Montclair Public Schools this fall, and her daughter will follow his lead after she finishes her time at the Playhouse in West Orange. It’s people like Elo that make Montclair a vibrant, caring, and exciting place to live.
Elo has generously offered to extend her “Pay What You Can” for coaching sessions through June to anyone who mentions that they heard about her on this weblog. For the sake of brevity, you can call this website “That Unique Montclair Blog.”
Deepening Wisdom – topics include Truth Telling, Acceptance, and Embracing Imperfection. It’s a great introduction to Elo’s coaching style.
Elo’s Playlist – various songs (and videos) used in Elo’s Zumba classes.
Holistic Familia – Elo’s take on raising a family with a positive impact on the world and your entire family.