Acea Theroux had recently become a licensed Zumba® Instructor when he decided it was time to take his dance moves to a Zumba class. He did some research to look for an instructor who specifically had a background in dance, and thus found Heather Saia’s class. Little did they know that class would bring them together for the rest of their lives.
We sat down with the power duo to learn their very special love story.
Zumba Fitness: How did you first get involved in the Zumba® program?
Acea: I have always had a very heavy fitness background, but no dance experience at all. My health and wellness mentor, Josie Gardiner, convinced me to attend a Zumba charity event to help raise money for autism. Halfway through the event, I looked around and every single person was laughing, smiling, and moving dynamically. I said to myself, “This is it. This is the definition of pure wellness. People are actually enjoying exercise.” As a fitness professional, I had to get involved. So I took the training and became a licensed Zumba Instructor.
Heather: I have been dancing since I was 8 years old. At 21, I had my first child, became a stay at home mom and began suffering from depression. Knowing that I wanted to get back to dancing, I signed up for a Zumba class at the local YMCA. I left feeling happy, feeling alive, and knowing that this was something great! I rushed home, signed up for an instructor training, and the rest is history. It is truly my remedy for all my negative feelings.
ZF: How did you first meet?
Acea: After becoming a Zumba Instructor, I wanted to find an instructor with a lot of dance experience who I could learn from. I did some research and on May 23, 2011 I took Heather’s class. The moment I saw her teach, I latched on. She’s an amazing instructor – professional, smiling, cuing on point. She possessed everything I pride myself on displaying as an instructor. I distinctly remember her telling me, “Stop trying to move like me. Just listen to the beat and feel the music.” We started practicing together and the closer our friendship became, the more I realized I was falling in love with her.
Heather: May 23, 2011 started off like any other night for me. I was setting up my playlist, doing some stretches, when Acea walked in and I did a double take. I remember during class thinking to myself, “Eyes forward! Stop staring!” I found him on Facebook after the class and we started talking every day. It was an instant connection. He just got me. He accepted my quirky, loud, awkward self and let me be me. And when I saw the way he connected with my son, Alex, that was it. I knew I needed him in my life.
ZF: You guys clearly fell deeply in love and developed an extremely tight bond. Tell us about the night Acea proposed.
Heather: This night was so unexpected. I was teaching on a Wednesday night – December 4, 2013 – and class was rocking, it was really high-energy. I was in the middle of a cool-down when all of a sudden the music stopped, so I thought maybe I blew a speaker. Two fellow instructors came up to me and said “Sit down and enjoy the show”. Mind you, I’m drenched in sweat, makeup running down my face, and my hair is a mess. Jason DeRulo’s “Marry Me” came on and I started shaking. Then I looked up and saw my best friend, Acea’s best friend, Acea’s sister and husband, my mom and my niece, and Acea’s mother and grandmother and they were all holding up signs with important dates from our relationship. After my family walked through, I saw Acea and my son, Alex, hand in hand, and that’s when Acea got down on one knee and asked, “Will you do me the honor of making me the happiest man in the world?” Obviously I said YES!!!!
Acea: I continue to fall in love with Heather every day and I still can’t believe I got to marry my best friend.
Heather: We got married on July 27th, 2014. On April 7, 2015, we welcomed our first daughter together, Jovie Phyllis. Seeing my husband step into fatherhood was amazing. He was a natural. I fall more in love with him every day. He is the kind of guy I want my son to grow up as and the kind of person I hope my daughter meets one day.
ZF: The Zumba® program is such an important part of your love story and we are so honored to have you in our Zumba family.
Acea: The role Zumba® fitness has played in our relationship has been everything. It’s how we met, it’s what we enjoy doing together, it was our initial common bond. Without Josie (my health and wellness mentor), I would not have found the Zumba program and without Zumba I would not have found my best friend, my soulmate, and the mother of my children. Without my wife, I wouldn’t be the instructor, the fitness professional, or the man I am today.
Heather: Being a Zumba Instructor has helped me through relationships, losses, finding love again, my wedding, my pregnancy – I taught up until 38 weeks, and even postpartum. Zumba® isn’t a hobby. It’s not a job. It’s part of me.
On behalf of the Zumba family, we’d like to wish these lovebirds a Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary. Watch their awesome proposal here!
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