One day during the mid-90s, Colombian aerobics instructor Alberto "Beto" Perez forgot his music tape for an aerobics class, and after finding some non-traditional salsa music in his car, he decided to improvise - and Zumba was born. In 2001, he brought it to American shores thanks to its success in Colombia, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now 10 million people around the world participate in Zumba classes - people of all ages and sizes know that Zumba is possibly the most fun anyone can have while staying fit! Wondering if you should join a Zumba class? Here's what you can expect and what you should bring.
What to Expect in a Zumba Class
For starters you can expect to have lots of fun. Instead of following an aerobics routine, you'll be dancing to various types of music. In most cases the music style is Latin, but the Zumba program is definitely not restricted to this genre. Any music with a strong beat is sufficient and Zumba instructors often implement their own touches to the choreography. The classes usually last about an hour and the instructors receive their licenses from the Zumba Academy.
Music plays a crucial part in the program, because different sections of the song are cues for changing the steps. Another big difference you will notice from typical aerobics is that the instructors don't talk very much. Instead they use gestures to signal the momentum and the changes in movement. The choreography itself is funky and fun, which is why the Zumba program is so popular. In most cases beginners end up giggling more than anything else due to the strange dance steps. However, once they get into the swing of things it becomes a serious workout.
Beginners might be caught off-guard in terms of the dance routines, which can be a little frustrating, but don't give up! A couple classes should be all you need to start getting the hang of the choreography. Ultimately, Zumba is a great way to release stress and have fun while getting your body in shape.
What to Bring to a Zumba Class
There should be no misconceptions that you need any dance training to take part in Zumba. If you're capable of standing and moving around, then you qualify. It also doesn't matter what shape or size you are. In terms of clothing, wear breathable fabrics that don't restrict your movement and absorb moisture.
Always take a towel and water, because between songs you'll get a 30- to 60-second break which you can use to get hydrated and cool down. Last but not least, wear comfortable athletic shoes that provide sufficient support for your feet.