CARSON CITY, NV - They say necessity is the mother of invention.
Arik Bannister's moment of inspiration was forced on him, a few moments after he set out to become a Zumba instructor.
For those who are not current on such things an explanation may be in order.
Zumba is a popular workout routine based on Latin music with the sort of hip swinging, foot-twisting moves you might expect.
There's the problem.
"After 15 minutes I started to feel sore and I thought, you know, how am I going to be a Zumba instructor if I pop out a knee," says Bannister. "I better fix this right away. I needed less friction between my feet and the carpet."
If Arik needed help, it was fairly certain his students, many of them middle aged and seniors, would too. He named his solution Z Gliderz.
They're actually quite simple, a patch of slick material held on the soles of your shoes with velcro snaps.
He had some made for his students, then started offering them on line.
A new piece of workout gear was born.
Watch Arik and his daughter China use them and you get the idea.
They obviously know what they are doing. The question is will they work on someone with no talent, no rhythm, two bad ankles and one bad knee?
Having just those qualifications. I thought I'd give it a try.
A disclaimer here. My claim of a total lack of dancing talent is no exaggeration. I once lost a leading role as a Dutch boy in a second grade Christmas play because I couldn't master a simple step in wooden shoes.
Trying and failing to keep up I give what can only be called a wooden performance. Unlike my feet, not to mention the rest of my uncoordinated frame, the Z Gliderz actually seem to work.
After a few minutes, I can feel the burn, but my feet keep slipping and sliding, if always a couple of beats behind, and I emerge with no harm done, but to my dignity.
I may be hopeless, but Arik seems to be on to something with his Z Gliderz.
Though I should expect no calls from "Dancing With the Stars", Arik and his invention may have a genuine shot at the big time.
WalMart is holding a "Get it on the shelves" contest for new products. The winner will be decided by public vote and will see his or her product on the shelves of all WalMarts.
"This could be a positive for Carson City," says Bannister.
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