One of the first things I do on Saturdays is try to choose a subject for my blog. This morning I didn’t have to think very long about it. As so often happens lately, there was a song stuck in my head and I just had to find out what it was. You see, I’ve been taking a zumba class for a few weeks and the catchy tunes as well as the dance moves seem to have grabbed hold of my subconscious. And there it was: the topic I was searching for!
What is zumba, you might ask? Well, it’s a workout first created in 1986 by fitness instructor, Alberto “Beto”Perez, when he forgot the music for the aerobics class he was teaching in his native Colombia. Luckily, in his backpack he had a tape of salsa and merengue music which he then used to improvise the class. Dancing to the lively tunes really caught on. Around the year 2000, he and his collaborators (also both named Alberto) licensed a company and brought zumba videos to the U.S. Today this worldwide phenomenon encompasses a variety of fitness levels which range from Zumba Gold and Aqua Zumba in the pool for older populations to Zumba Toning which uses toning sticks—whatever that might be! Our class, taught by an upbeat and encouraging young woman named Tina, consists of a fairly wide range of ages. As for ability, you’re moving so fast trying to keep up with the instructor that you don’t notice how you or others are managing! It’s a whirlwind of an hour, fun and quite tiring. Just the right thing for a calorie-burning, cardio workout. A bonus: you really sleep well after all that exercise.
Music for the class comes from many different countries and styles: salsa, flamenco, mambo, chacha, to name but a few. In our case, English-language songs are represented by the likes of American pop artist Katy Perry with Firework and also LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem. For a cool down we dance to I've Had the Time of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. And there’s Dynamite by British singer/rapper Taio Cruz. From the French music industry comes Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now) by Bob Sinclar (born Christophe Le Friant in Bretagne) and Marseille’s DJ Mam who performs Zumba He, Zumba Ha which combines Spanish, French, and creole lyrics. Another favorite of mine is Zumbanessa's merengue tune El amor, even if I don’t understand all of the words.
Just click on one of the above links and see if the music doesn't get your toes a-tappin'! Zumba is a great way to get in your exercise and have fun while you're moving and sweating.