A Zumba® Instructor With Down Syndrome

Yulissa was born in Lima, Peru on August 9, 1991. Within minutes of her birth, she was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. From an early age, she had a strong affinity to music and dance. When she and her family moved to San Francisco, California in 2003, Yulissa learned to speak English and started using her mantra: I Can. With that mindset, she’s accomplished so much, especially as an athlete in sports like soccer, basketball, baseball, swimming, and roller-skating. But it was when Yulissa took her first Zumba® class, in 2008, that she discovered her true passion. Four years later, she earned her license to teach Zumba®, and even got to dance alongside the program’s creator, Beto Perez. Yulissa tells us about her experience as an Instructor:

“When I got to dance on stage alongside Beto, it made me feel totally happy and it was a dream come true. I feel like I have a valuable job that has given me more confidence and more friends.

My favorite thing is to share my passion. I love to see people smile and dancing with me. It makes me feel happy to help other people. I love being able to say that I am a Zumba Instructor!”

Yulissa’s mother, Marlene, leaves us with a final thought:

“Yulissa has faced many challenges in life, like learning how to talk and walk. But I think her greatest obstacle is that some people don’t believe in her. It’s because of her own perseverance and effort that she has achieved her own goals. And she has shown everybody that yes, she CAN!”



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