Zumba Fitness – exercise or dancing?

Zumba is a dancing phenomenon that has only recently exploded into gyms, health and fitness centres, and dance studios all over the globe, making its mark in over 105 different countries. This energetic and exhilarating dancing phenomenon is only ten years old and already it has grown to become the largest and most successful dance-fitness program ever. But how did such a sensational program soar to be loved all over the globe?

You can thank the forgetful Alberto “Beto” Perez for the conception of Zumba; the Colombian aerobics instructor was about to teach a class when he realised he had forgotten to take his traditional music tapes. Rather than cancel the class, he improvised by just using some of the tapes from his personal collection, namely merengue and salsa, and adapting his class to the Latin-based funky music. His class enjoyed themselves so much that he started a new one and called it the Zumba Fitness-Party. Out of this accident, a revolution was born.

Beto left Cali, Colombia to try and change the world. He moved to Miami, Florida and tried his luck there, learning English along the way and trying to push Zumba at fitness centres. After much frustration, he got to teach his first class (despite turning up late and with massive communication difficulties) that was sceptical at first, then pleasantly surprised. In 2001, entrepreneurs Alberto Perlman and Alberto Alghion joined up with Beto and managed to make Zumba global.

Zumba is taught to over 12 million participants all over the world and the numbers are rising – it’s even available on many video game consoles and there are even classes available to do in swimming pools. There seems to be no limits to what Zumba, “the exercise in disguise”, can do!

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