Zumba involves dance and aerobic movements performed to energetic music. The choreography incorporates hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue and mambo. Squats and lunges are also included. Zumba Fitness, the owner of the Zumba program, does not charge licensing fees to gyms or fitness centers. Approximately 15 million people take weekly Zumba classes in over 200,000 locations across 180 countries.
Zumba was founded in the mid-1990s by Perez in Cali, Colombia. In 2001, Perez partnered with Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion, and the trio released a series of fitness videos sold via infomercial. Insight Venture Partners and the Raine Group made an investment in 2012. The company expanded into class instruction and by 2015, according to Perlman, there were 14 million Zumba students in 186 countries.
The name "Zumba" has no particular meaning; it was made up as a brand name. The original name was Rumbacize, a combination of tumba ("to party" in Spanish, and a musical style and dance name), and Jazzercize.
An instructor coaches a Zumba class in a fitness center
Zumba classes are typically about an hour long and are taught by instructors licensed by Zumba Fitness, LLC. In one Zumba class, a person can burn up to 600 calories, depending on the energy put forth. The music comes from the following dance styles: cumbia, salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, chachacha, reggaeton, soca, samba, hip hop music, axé music and tango.
There are nine types of classes, for different levels of age and exertion.
Zumba instructors have the option to become ZIN™ Members (Zumba Instructor Network members) to receive bimonthly training DVDs to assist with the creation of music and choreography for their personal Zumba classes.
Because Zumba offers different options, proponents of the Zumba program claim that it is safe for all ages, meaning that anyone from age 0 to 100 can participate in this form of aerobic exercise. At least some of the classes are specifically aimed at elderly people, to help them build strength, improve motion and posture, and socialize.