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A Short History of Zumba

WFCC Promenade members enjoying a special outdoor Zumba class with our instructors!

If you’ve been to the gym at all in the past several years, you’ve probably seen or taken a Zumba class. (We’ve got lots of them here at WFCC.) This Colombian exercise-dance style incorporates international influences including Caribbean dance styles like soca, South American dances like meringue and samba, Indian styles from Bollywood films, and even martial arts (it’s similar to the Brazilian martial art/dance capoeira in that way). Zumba is also one of the most fun, and best fat-burning, workout classes out there. Over 12 million people all over the world take Zumba classes every year.

But where did Zumba come from, and how did it get so popular?

Zumba was created by the choreographer and fitness instructor Alberto “Beto” Perez in the mid-1990s. According to the official Zumba website, it was a result of a “happy accident” – Beto was on his way to teach an aerobics class and realized he’d forgotten his music. He didn’t have time to double back and get it, so he improvised, using the salsa and merengue tapes he happened to have on him. Instead of strict rep-counting, he ended up improvising a class that was the perfect mix of dance and aerobics that kept his students moving and having fun!

In 2001, he started teaching his hybrid dance/aerobics in Miami, and through another “happy accident”, he got in touch with two other Albertos – Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion. Together, they called the new style “Zumba”, a word that doesn’t have any specific meaning but has become synonymous with this great combination of fitness and fun, and brought it to fitness centres all over the world.

Zumba was designed to be low-impact, and to be an intense and efficient calorie-burning workout that is adaptable and suitable for all different ages, body types and levels of fitness. At Womens Fitness Clubs of Canada, we aim to help women of all ages, shapes and sizes reach their fitness goals in a healthy, comfortable and supportive environment. Zumba’s philosophy therefore fits in well with ours!