I said yes to attending the Zumba class at my gym last week. For those of you who don’t know what Zumba is, it’s a dance fitness program created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto Perez. It incorporates salsa, samba, merengue, mambo, martial arts, hip hop, and belly dancing moves into an aerobics class. The theory behind the class is that instead of counting steps and beats like other dance fitness classes, Zumba lets the music control the movements. The story goes that Perez, already an aerobic dance instructor, forgot his traditional music tapes one day, and grabbed the CDs he had in his car, which turned out to be salsa and merengue. He improvised the class to the music, and the rest is history!
It became popular in Columbia in the 1990s, and Perez brought it to the United States in 2001 under the name “Zumba Fitness Party” (www.zumba.com). Since then, it has exploded. You can find Zumba classes in pretty much every city in the US. Several of my friends have loved it so much that they have become certified instructors, and now teach their own classes. I thought that with all the hype, and a little prodding from one of these instructor friends, that I should check it out.
The instructor was great at leading us through new moves, the type of dance varied at each song–one minute we were salsa dancing, the next we were belly dancing, and then we were skipping in a circle to Celtic music–and I don’t think I have had that good of a workout since my college swim practices. I’ll admit, I got a side cramp after a particularly rigorous portion of hip thrusting and jumping, and had to take a breather. At the end, however, I left feeling satisfyingly sweaty and oddly exhilarated. Something about that combination of music and movement just works!
If you’re interested in amping up your workout routine, I highly recommend Zumba. Here are some places that teach Zumba classes around Davis:
Barbara’s Dancing Tonight: 1921 Sycamore Lane, (530) 756-8371
Peak Performance Health Club: 2795 2nd St., (530) 759-7746 (membership required)
Davis Swim and Fitness: 303 Ensenada Drive, (530) 753-5683 (membership required)
Davis Athletic Club: 1809 Picasso Ave., (530) 753-5282 (membership required)
Spotlight Dance and Fitness: 2534 Industrial Blvd., Suite 150 West Sacramento, (916) 649-3269 (I know it’s not in Davis, but it’s one of the few places that doesn’t require a membership, and it’s not too far away)