Wednesday, July 23, 2014





     Zumba® is a Latin-inspired dance fitness program developed by a young Columbian man named Alberto “Beto” Perez in the 1990’s. Beto tells of his love of dance and the birth of Zumba in the book he co-wrote with Maggie Greenwood-Robinson, PhD: “ZUMBA: Ditch the Workout, Join the Party!” It is fascinating to read about Beto’s life as a child in Columbia, his passion for dance as a young boy, and how Zumba evolved from Beto’s expertise in dance. His dance skills led him to teaching aerobics classes in order to make a humble living. One day he arrived at class and realized that he had forgotten his tape of aerobics music for a class he was teaching. He decided to use his Latin music, consisting of traditional salsa 
and merengue songs, and improvised a class using this non-traditional aerobics music. His students loved it and they wanted more! The foundation of Zumba was born!
     In 2001, Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez joined Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion, a childhood friend, and the three Albertos launched the company ‘Zumba Fitness®’ in Florida, USA. Zumba® (pronounced Zoom-bah) is a word they created by fusing the words “Samba”, the lively Brazilian dance and “Rumba” meaning “party”. According to the Zumba Fitness® Facebook page, “The Zumba® program is a fitness-party with a contagious blend of Latin and international rhythms that provides a fun and effective workout to a global community, either at home or in the gym. Our goal is simple: We want you to want to work out, to love working out, to get hooked. Zumba® Fitness is a global lifestyle brand that fuses fitness, entertainment and culture into an exhilarating dance-party workout. Coined “fitness-parties,” Zumba classes blend upbeat world rhythms with easy-to-follow choreography, which provide effective, total-body workouts.”
     The Zumba Fitness® company slogan became “Ditch the Workout, Join the Party!” Beto Perez accurately describes Zumba class when he says in his book, “It’s all about joy and fun”. He says, “People experience so much happiness while moving to the beat of the music”. That sounds like it must be an exaggeration if you've never experienced Zumba. But, once you have given it a fair try, three classes minimum, I believe that you will agree with Beto: “You do not even realize you are exercising because you are caught up in the music and movement”.
     To Beto, music is the heart of Zumba. When Zumba started as a U.S. company in 2001, it focused only on Latin rhythms. Today it is a mixture of Cumbia, Reggae, Samba, Belly dancing, Hip Hop, Merengue, Cha-Cha, Bollywood, Salsa and Reggaeton, among others. The passionate and lively music makes you want to move, and the party-like atmosphere is healthy and fun. The Zumba routines encourage you to use your whole body, flowing with the rhythm of the music. The
result is a cut-loose activity that frees the emotions and lifts the spirits.
     Beto Perez has become a star who fills stadiums with Zumba, his own method of exercise mixed with dance. This great exercise is enjoyed by many well-known people including Shakira, Jane Fonda, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Letizia, Michelle Obama, Victoria Beckham and actress Kirstie Alley, as well as 15 million followers in 180 countries, all moving to Salsa and other rhythms of the world.
     Zumba® is officially the name of a particular kind of exercise, a dance fitness program, and is typically used as a noun such as: “I go to Zumba Class”. I've started using the word Zumba as a verb, meaning it describes a motion, such as “I Zumba, you can Zumba, too!” Let’s Zumba, let’s move to the music, let’s party!

COPYRIGHT © 2014 by Terry L Turrell
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