#Meet_the_Oleh Ava Szilagi
Updated: May 5
Aliyah Date: February 2012
Made Aliyah from Long Island, NY
Currently living in Ramat Gan
"But I'm not a dancer..." is no big deal for Ava's dance fitness classes. Ava made Aliyah and since then, has been helping people dance their way into their best lives through fitness classes. Keep reading for the rest of her story!
Ava has been in Israel for nine years. She came here when she was 22 and spent most of her young adult life here. Before that, she lived in New York, where she would participate in dance performances with professional small contemporary companies. She came here to get a degree and planned to return to her life in New York right after.
As it is in life, her plans changed. She didn't end up pursuing the degree but rather went with her gut and stayed in the field of dance/dance fitness. It started with Zumba and then she began teaching Zumba classes on the kibbutz where she was learning Hebrew in Ulpan! The women there loved it. This led her to get a job at a studio in Rehovot, and then ultimately Tel Aviv.
Ava stuck with Zumba but also branched out into different fitness classes, like pilates and yoga, but dance fitness stayed her passion. She runs classes at 305 Fitness. 305 Fitness has unique dance aerobic fitness classes that are a blast and also a great workout. Usually, they're in person, but during the corona period of time, they've gone online.
She says, "The most important thing about the class is that it's fun. It's about inclusivity. Everyone can come. Not taking yourself too seriously; we're here to feel good, not burn calories." She continues, "We approach fitness from a positive lens; it's supposed to be a relief from the day, so it has to be something you enjoy."
The classes are a great workout and accessible to all since it's dancing! You don't have to be a dancer either, 85-90% of the students didn't dance growing up!
For Ava, and in general for Olim, a major challenge in Israel is finding a good support network. Israelis have the ability to move home with their parents for a few months to save money or receive help from their parents with their children. It's a big challenge to not have this in Israel. It's natural to rely on family, and so Olim must find other solutions, or marry an Israeli who has family in Israel!
Ava says the best part of her Aliyah is being able to make her life here. Every decision she's made has led her to where e she is now. Yes, she could have done this in New York, but it's different here. She was able to stand out more. Sometimes being different is a good thing, and it's helped Ava to progress. She says, "The highlight is really to create the life I want to live. It's not easy, and I think I had a lot of luck. I worked really hard. There are constant rejection and criticism, but I was able to accomplish things here that I wouldn't have done in America".
Ava will be continuing her classes hopefully in person or on Facebook live after her maternity leave. Make sure to check out her Facebook to find out more about the classes, or to check out a trial class.