Today we’d like to introduce you to Natacha Zamor.
Hi Natacha, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
The seed for TampaBay Afrofit™ was planted 36 years ago by my maternal grandmother. She always encouraged me to explore my cultural heritage in depth. Dancing our traditional dances was the way to stay in shape, and she always insisted on this fact. This journey started in my parent’s living room… Multiculturalism has always been a standard in my environment. My influences are diverse; born & raised in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) by Canadian-Haitian parents and growing up with an array of different ethnic groups & communities, the world was my everyday. With this very culturally rich upbringing came a multitude of music and dances that shaped my unique way of expressing myself through dance. Movement is part of me. I am trained in various types of dances and extensively trained in one of Kenya’s traditional dances, Chakacha, by the world-renowned choreographer/dancer/instructor Brayo Judah. My training in the healthcare field (Bachelor of Science with major in Nursing/ specialized in orthopedic) brings me a unique perspective on the psychological & physical aspects of the human being when motion is encouraged & maintained. Last but not least, anyone who knows me can attest that fitness is my other passion! It is part of my natural progression to want to combine all that is positive in my life & share it with as many people as I can; dancing, fitness, investing in health and doing my part to open the window a little wider on Afrocentric culture. If I can bring awareness, educate & empower one person to pursue their journey & affect others; I’m a happy camper!
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has been and still is challenging. The biggest struggle has been securing finances to maintain the operations of the company. We have been financing TampaBay Afrofit™ from day one. The goal was to apply for a business loan when it would be time to expand . We have been incorporated since 2015 and by the end of 2019, it seems like everything was finally looking bright. For the first half of 2020, we were booked solid and were anticipating serious growth! Then the pandemic hit. In one week, we saw all the bookings, and weekly classes that were scheduled, canceled. Even though it was a difficult moment, my heart was bleeding for the ones that were in a worst situation than we were. As a nurse, all I could think about was the mental health of everyone. I offered my Saturday class online and made it free for the first few months. we then asked for donations for the class, as times were difficult for us as well. We have been able to keep afloat when we finally received a small loan from the SBA. I must say that we are living through the most difficult time right now. I am hoping that it will only be uphill from now on. I am looking forward to the end of this period and hitting the ground running again!
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
TampaBay Afrofit has been the answer in my life. It is everything that I am and what I want to continue to be! It merges my passion for taking care of people and bringing awareness to health and wellness. Cultural literacy regarding Afro-Caribbean traditions, and education about practices that use artistic expressions as the medium, plays a central role in my life. Finally, to empower those that allow their curiosity to guide them to their optimum state of wellness is the ultimate goal. I am a registered nurse with 23 years of experience under my belt and an incredible passion for movement! I know that many of the health conditions that we are facing can be managed and controlled with an increase in physical activities and sensible nutrition. I am also very troubled by the disparity with two particular conditions; diabetes and cardiovascular diseases which claimed the lives of both my grandmothers. This is what fuels me to encourage everyone that crosses my path to engage in physical activities.
My preferred medium; dancing! I am known for indulging in multiple genres: konpa, kizomba, salsa, bachata, ballet (classical and jazz), Haitian folklore, Chakacha, and Mutuashi. I am also known for my high energy dance fitness classes, and my traditional storytelling. We are proud of being the only approved school to teach Chakacha outside of Kenya (by a non-Kenyan). It was a long process and intense training, but we have been recognized for the quality and authenticity of our instructions. We also specialize in Haitian folklore. I believe that what’s sets us apart from other Afrocentric dance schools, is our approach. Everything is done with health and wellness as a central point. Our reputation for consistency, attention to detail, and quality of instructions precede us. When we teach, it is to provide tools to our students/clients in order for them to continue to implement them on a daily basis. We believe that it is more about cultivating a lifestyle, and not just for entertainment.
What was your favorite childhood memory?
I don’t have a specific moment, but rather a collection of them. The times spent with my maternal grandmother are cherished memories in my heart! That it was when teaching about folklore (dancing, storytelling, traditions), cooking, singing, or speaking in my ancestor’s tongue (Creole), it leaves me with a warm wave of love and a smile on my face.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.tampabayafrofit.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tbafrofit/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009249741936
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/tampabayafrofit
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNMH9y3u_QaTT2SSKQ8GGBA
Brayo Judah Photography by Romuald Jadotte