Uplifting, Inspiring, and Empowering: Stacy Gross

Photo by Evan Clark, Founder and Creative Director of The Spectrum Experience 

Sweat it out and get inspired at Zumba, by Stacy! Stacy Gross is a Cal Lutheran Alumni and she's certainly a spectacular woman to look up to. From starting off her college career as a Theater Arts major, to graduating with a Communications degree, Stacy has created a path for herself and has followed it to success. Her success is driven by her belief in using her passions to change the world for the better. You can find Stacy spreading electric positivity while teaching her Zumba classes, or even performing at a Clippers game with the Zumba organization! Go ahead and attend her Zumba classes on campus, you're guaranteed to have a blast!

Her Campus Cal Lutheran: Did you take dance classes growing up?

Stacy Gross: “I started dancing when I was three. I was competitively dancing when I was six. I did all styles, mainly jazz, tap, lyrical, and a little bit of ballroom training, too. In college, I was on the dance team for the first semester, and then I was in the hip-hop club.”

HC: Which one was your favorite and why?

SG: “Growing up, I loved jazz, but now I’m really attracted to the Latin style dances like salsa, hip-hop, some of the belly dances. Zumba kind of combines them all and I get a little taste of each.”

Photo by David Joseph Varela of David Joseph Photography

HC: What are all of the different classes you teach?

SG:  “Right now I teach eleven Zumba classes a week and I just started a new class where I teach popular group wedding dances! For Zumba, three of them are regular Zumba, and the rest are Zumba gold, which is a little lower impact. A few of those classes are late 60’s to early 80 year old students and then I teach at a couple assisted living homes and I once had a 99 year old student.”    

HC: How did you find out about Zumba?

SG: “My mom actually read about it in the paper and she said ‘Stacy I think you would love this and you should become a teacher!’ I actually signed up for a class and then I registered to become certified before I even went to a class because I knew I was going to love it. So I went to my first class and I knew that this was what I wanted to do.”

HC: What is your ultimate goal for your Zumba program?

SG: “There’s sort of two parts. Zumba has been a great tool for me because I’ve always loved dancing. I love performing and I just feel like it’s what I’m meant to do. I’m happiest and the most alive and energized when I’m performing and all my life I’ve seen the impact that it’s had on people. It’s great now because with teaching, I love being able to make it inclusive and to inspire and uplift people through that. Mainly I teach women so it’s been great to see their confidence build up. I just want every woman to feel like she can dance and feel comfortable in her own body and feel beautiful. So that’s one part of it; the teaching and empowering part.

In the future, I’d like to do workshops around the aspects of confidence and dance. Right now, I work with a group of Parkinson’s patients and I teach them a Zumba Gold class. Using dance to connect with groups that have been a bit brushed under the rug and letting them know that they can dance is a really empowering experience. I see myself uplifting, inspiring, and empowering people, in particularly women, through teaching and performing dance. I also see myself speaking and writing books.”

HC: How was it performing at the Clippers game?

SG: “That was my element. It was amazing to feel the energy and to just spread your joy! When you see someone doing what they love, it’s really inspiring. As soon as I had heard about the opportunity through Zumba, I knew I was going to do it. It was great because I got to dance with Zumba students and instructors from all over California! I made such amazing friends and now I have connections all over.”

Check out Stacy's Zumba performance here!

HC: Who or what motivates you?

SG: “Definitely my students. People will come up to me and say ‘It’s your energy that does this!’ but my students have to remember that I come here and when I see them smiling and laughing or getting stronger, it gives me such joy. I feel like I get to make a difference in their lives and then I get inspired by them, too. It’s also awesome seeing people come into Zumba who haven’t danced before. It has such a positive impact on people and I just love it. To do something that’s your biggest passion and to use that to help other people is what life’s about. I’m doing that already, but I have such a bigger vision that I want to build up. I feel very lucky with what I have done already. It hasn’t been an easy path to get here, but I’m glad that I took the time to do things untraditionally.”

HC: If you could think of one word to describe you, what would it be?

SG: “Positive comes to mind because that is what a lot of people say about me, but I would also say passionate. I always have to feel that what I’m doing has a larger purpose and passion. I have to feel like I’m doing it for the right reasons and that it’s making a bigger impact on the world. I have to do what I love. It’s not an easy road, but I’m so happy that I did it this way.”

HC: What’s one thing a lot of people don’t know about you?

SG: “I played ice hockey for 12 years. I was always a dancer, but I also was a three sport athlete. I also played softball, volleyball until 9th grade, and some cheerleading.”

HC: What’s the most exciting/risky thing you’ve ever done?

SG: “Coming out to California. I’m from Minnesota and I came out here to Cal Lutheran completely by myself. I didn’t have any family or friends out here and it was a little terrifying the first week. Also, studying abroad in Italy was huge for me. I did a homestay and I didn’t know any Italian.”

HC: What is your life motto?

SG: I have a lot of them, but it’s hard to just choose one. I would say that I just kind of have the attitude of ‘you never know where this can lead’. I always try to see everything as an opportunity or as a chance for learning and growth. This has really served me well.”

HC: Who are your role models?

SG: “Two role models have really served as an inspiration to me, especially recently. One is an author, her name is Danielle LaPorte. She has a book called The Desire Map and that has been really helpful for me because she comes from a place of first clarifying how you want to feel and then making all your life choices from there. Often times we do the opposite. Marie Forleo. I love this woman! She has a show called “Marie Forleo TV” and she’s this really savvy business woman, but she’s fun and quirky. She gives great advice in a fun, authentic way. She says that ‘clarity comes from engagement, not thought’. And I think this is very important because it makes you go out and try something before making a decision by just thinking about it. I really love that both of these women are inspiring and put-together, but they’re also really honest and real and fresh and funny. I feel like they are very relatable. I would really recommend these two women for college-aged girls.”

HC: Any last thoughts?

SG: “I would just tell everyone in college to really enjoy everything that’s going on and appreciate the quirks that make you different. The things that seem like negatives and are your struggles are all things that are going to become a part of your story and these are what will set you apart from the rest. People are going to relate to you.”