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You Want To Bamba?

Nadine talks about AfroFit, the P.E. class she teaches at Carleton.

Nadine talks about AfroFit, the P.E. class she teaches at Carleton.

When I first came to Carleton I was super nervous about fulfilling the P.E requirement. Although I was on the swim team in high school, I wasn’t really good at it and, in turn, never considered myself athletic. In high school, I was more into the social aspect than the actual sports aspect of swimming. 

rec center
You can take rock climbing as a P.E. class at Carleton! We have a rock climbing wall and bouldering cave.

P.E. Requirement

When I got to campus and realized I had to complete four terms of P.E., I was not thrilled. I didn’t want to play dodgeball and I definitely didn’t want to play kickball. I had played more than enough rounds of each in middle school. So I was happy to find out that I didn’t have to do anything of the sort.

Because Carleton realizes students come in with a variety of interests and abilities, Carleton has a diversity of offerings when it comes to physical education. We have bachata, Tae Kwon Do, step aerobics, and juggling. We also offer virtual yoga if want to get really jacked. While deep sea diving might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of southern Minnesota, you can even get scuba certified through one of our courses.

Lindy Hop

During winter term of my sophomore year, I took advantage of the Lindy Hop Swing Dance class at Carleton. I had gone swing dancing for the first time a few months earlier and thoroughly embarrassed myself. While I still had a great time, I wanted to improve before I stepped foot on the dance floor again. And Beginners Lindy Hop was a perfect opportunity to do so.

Three students have a conversation outside a dance studio.
We have dance studios located in the Weitz Center for Creativity, used for dance classes and ensembles.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived on the first day of class was that the class was actually being taught by one of my peers. For the next 10 weeks, I took a dance class led by current juniors here at Carleton.

I had so much fun in that class that I wanted to find out if could possibly teach a class here as well. It turned out that it was actually really easy to teach a P.E. class at Carleton. In fact, some of our most popular classes, such as ice hockey and social dance, are taught by students.


After some thought, I decided to teach a class called AfroFit. AfroFit is a Zumba style exercise class where all the moves are set to music from the continent of Africa. While the course had existed at Carleton years prior, it hadn’t been taught for while. So my friend and I decided to bring it back. My friend was an amazing dancer, and while I couldn’t shake it quite like her, I had verve. Plus, Carleton did not currently offer anything similar. All we had to do was attend a meeting and submit the course outline and we were good to go. I could even earn money from teaching my class.

The photo shows my Afro-Fit class doing circuit workouts to some banging music.

The first time we taught the class it was mostly our friends. Many had learned about our course through word of mouth and thought it would be a super fun way to get P.E. credit. The next term I taught it, the majority of the class was comprised of people I had never interacted with before. Regardless of this, I still had a ton of fun teaching the course. And it seemed like my students did as well. 

In Sum

Although my class had students with a variety of dance backgrounds, everyone gave it their all. It was clear to see that while some students weren’t used to moving their hips to the music, they were all having a great time. Ultimately, while Carleton already offers a vast offering of P.E. classes, it was a really fun and rewarding experience to teach my own.

Nadine (she/her) is a rising Junior from Spring Lake Park, MN. She is majoring in Political Science and minoring in Educational Studies and Spanish. During the school year, she works at Carleton as a Resident Assistant. On campus, she is involved in Carleton’s Student Government and several Carleton comedy groups, including Queens of Comedy and Lenny Dee. When she is not practicing some of her new material, Nadine enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling. This fall, Nadine plans to be in Spain on Carleton’s Madrid Program. Meet the other bloggers!