Sports & Fitness

Zumba Is Taking Over the World

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Ditch the workout, join the party? Partying yourself into shape is exactly what Zumba is all about. When a friend of ours recently lost 15 pounds by going to Zumba class, the rest of us were inspired to check it out.

What we found is that Zumba”s an exhilarating cross between salsa, hip-hop and cardio dance. In between laughing at ourselves, we found Zumba to be easy to follow – and definitely calorie-burning. Okay, we all admitted that it was more fun than any of us have had in awhile. Or, maybe we need to get out more.

The next time, a few of us brought our daughters who really laughed at us while we smoothly – or not – tried to execute our red-hot dance moves. The 60-minute class passed quickly, and dripping with sweat we all left out of breath and still laughing.

Now on Monday mornings, one of my girlfriends sends a text to everyone, “Who”s going to Zumba this week?”# It”s become our happy hour.

As a fitness instructor in his native Cali, Colombia, Alberto “Beto”# Perez”s life took an unexpected turn one day in the mid-“90s when he hurried off to teach an aerobics class and forgot his traditional aerobics music. He improvised using his own mix of music from tapes he had in his backpack (salsa and merengue music he grew up with).# And spontaneously, he created a new kind of dance-fitness – one that focused on letting the music move you instead of counting reps over the music. Energy electrified the room; people couldn”t stop smiling. His class loved it! And on that day, Zumba was born.

In 2001, Beto brought his new dance-fitness style to Miami, Florida where he met entrepreneurs Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion. All three hailed from Colombia and all three had a vision to bring this dynamic dance-fitness class to the masses. The three Albertos formed an alliance and created a business, calling it Zumba Fitness. They trademarked the word Zumba and set a goal to expand the brand all over the world.

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