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Zumba

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 Gold is a program designed for beginners and older people.
  • Zumba Step is a lower-body workout that incorporates Zumba routines and step aerobics with Latin dance rhythms.
  • Zumba Toning is for people who do their workouts with toning sticks. It targets the abs, thighs, arms, and other muscles throughout the body. This type of Zumba class provides participants with a cardio workout and strength training.
  • Aqua Zumba classes are held in a swimming pool. The instructor leads the class poolside while participants follow in shallow water. Moves have been specially adapted to combine the same dance movements used in a Zumba Fitness class with those used in aqua fitness classes.
  • Zumba in the Circuit combines dance with circuit training. These classes usually last 30 minutes and feature strength exercises on various stations in timed intervals.
  • Zumba Kids  and Zumba Kids Jr. classes are designed for children between the ages of 7 and 11.
  • Zumba Gold-Toning is a toning class for older participants with goals of improving muscle strength, posture, mobility, and coordination.
  • Zumba Sentao is a chair workout that focuses on using body weight to strengthen and tone the body.
  • Strong by Zumba was launched in 2016. This specialty combines high intensity interval training with Synced Music Motivation.

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.