Exercising with mom, Zumba-style

News photo by Emily Thiel Jolene Wert and her mother, Joanne Harilla, Zumba together throughout the week.
News photo by Emily Thiel Jolene Wert and her mother, Joanne Harilla, Zumba together throughout the week.

Those who Zumba together, stay together.

Joanne Herilla, Birdsboro, and her daughter, Jolene Wert, Exeter, stay movin’ with the fast-paced moves and smooth bass beats of Zumba.

Zumba combines dance-based exercise routines to Latin and International music for a fun, upbeat workout that can really kick off the calories.

While the mother-daughter duo have always had a good relationship, staying active through Zumba keeps them happy and healthy.


“Music is the feel good of life,” Herilla said. “When Jolene started [her dance career], I followed along.”

Wert has been in love with dancing since she was 3-years-old, and always had the support of her mother.

When her daughter owned the dance studio, Herilla said she would help out where she could.

“My mom follows me wherever I go,” Wert said. “She stuck by me through my dance career,” Wert said about her mother.

“I’ve loved every moment of it,” Herilla said.“I’m always a secretary or something...whatever I can do for her.”

Wert opened her own dance studio when she was 19, but it was not until recently that she has dedicated herself to Zumba.

“I wanted to get back into shape after I had my second child,” she said about what got her into Zumba. After just one class of the workout, Wert was hooked.

“I loved it!” she said about the routines. “The main thing of it is having fun.”

She soon dropped dance to become a licensed Zumba instructor, and that was five years ago. Dancing to support her daughter’s dreams comes easily to Herilla because she loves the music, dancing and of course her daughter.

As a certified as an instructor for Zumba, Zumba Gold, Zumba Toning and the newest addition of Aqua Zumba, Wert hosts 10 Zumba classes throughout the week.

A traditional Zumba class is held in a gym, auditorium or dance floor but Aqua Zumba takes the routines to the pool.

The dance moves in the water stick to a slow Latin rhythm but still offers the “same fun atmosphere.”

The classes have a good turnout, with Zumba Gold drawing in husband and wife couples, but the classes mostly fill up with women.

“There’s a good group of men who come, but we want to see more men,” Harilla said, encouraging men and women of all ages to try the feel-good workout.

Zumba keeps this mom and daughter on their feet, and offers an workout that will get your blood moving.

“She’s the greatest person in the world, I’m so proud of my mom,” Wert said.

Wert’s Zumba classes are held 9 a.m. Zumba, 10:15 a.m. Zumba Gold, 6:30 p.m. Zumba on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Zumba Toning 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Birdsboro Community Center; 11 a.m. Zumba Gold on Fridays, 10:15 a.m. Zumba on Sundays at Valhalla Health and Fitness Club, Reading; and 10 a.m. Zumba on Saturdays at Snap Fitness, Douglassville.

In celebration of her five year anniversary of being a Zumba instructor, Wert along with eight other instructors, will host a Zumbathon to raise money for the Animal Rescue League of Berks County 2:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 27 at the Exeter Fieldhouse, 4401 Perkiomen Ave., Reading. To pre-register your tickets, call Jolene Wert at 610-781-0932.

About the Author

Emily Thiel

Emily Thiel is the editor of The Southern Berks News and is the Community Engagement Editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers. Emily joined Berks-Mont in March 2013. She graduated from Kutztown University in 2011 with a degree in English with a concentration in Cultural and Media Studies. Emily is a native of Allentown, Pa. Reach the author at ethiel@berksmontnews.com or follow Emily on Twitter: @sthrnberksnews.