daughter, Erin, loves Zumba. A 21 year old engineering student, Erin
talks about her fondness for the fitness / dancing phenomenon with unfettered,
uncharacteristic enthusiasm. Erin always
returns from Zumba flushed, sweaty, and invigorated.
time, it’s the same. I ask, “How was Zumba?”
she says and it warms my heart she enjoys such an enriching, positive
Erin got her Zumba Instructor certificate, so she can lead classes. She’s
lead 3, so far, and looking forward to more.
Erin is not alone in her affection for Zumba: although it is only 20
years old, it’s estimated more than 14 million people, from 180 countries,
participate in Zumba classes, moving and meditating their way to a happier,
high-energy exercise program, Zumba is dance and aerobic movements, put to
lively Sambo, Salsa, Mambo, Merengue, and Hip Hop music. Listening to
well-liked music is, of course, an affirming experience, on its own. Adding dance to music is like putting gravy
on fries and Smarties in the ice-cream. Erin said, of the music and its
variety, “I like all the styles used in Zumba, but Reggaeton is my
had to look it up.) Reggaeton is a
energetic genre, which started in Puerto Rico in the 1990s. It is
influenced by homegrown sounds, Caribbean music, and hip hop. With the world at my fingertips, I went to
the Internet and listened. I can hear why Erin likes it.
Perez started Zumba classes, in the 1990s, in his hometown of Cali, Columbia.
In pursuit of the American dream, he moved to the US in 1999. Erin said, “Alberto couldn’t speak English,
well, when he came to America, so Zumba only uses visual cues. Anyone can
take a class and follow along, no matter what language they speak.”
believe, wholeheartedly, in, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” Mindless, mindful, muted locomotion is
therapy, beyond words. Invigorating beats can enhance the experience and
benefits of exercise.
lack of lyrics in Zumba music allows participants to write their own.
Zumba dancers think and figure life out, without interruption or input,
while moving and grooving, to groovy tunes. Zumba is meditation in
provides a nice slice of variety; the spice of life. Erin said, “It’s
fun, because the company (Zumba) is constantly coming out with new music and
dances, on the instructor’s website, so it’s rarely the same class twice, for
is death: we are supposed to move, vigorously, and breathe hard. According
to what I’ve heard, vigorous exercise can restore brain cells. As well, when the body burns fat, most of it
is converted to CO2 and exhaled, so robust exertion is necessary to maintain
optimum health. No guff: huff and puff until buff. It is important to find an enjoyable fitness
program, in order to stick with it.
Dancing is fun. Vigorous dancing is fun and aerobic.
fitness facilities can be cesspools of judgment, resplendent with withering,
derisive looks. Passively hostile climates put, some, people off
exercise, which is tragic: exercise is divine.
Erin said, “Zumba is a supportive, positive environment; there’s no judgment.
We’re all in this together.”
are social animals, so prolonged, hearty, heartfelt dancing, with a group of
like-minded Zumba enthusiasts, is an enjoyable path to a happier self.
Erin said, “I met a lady, who is in her 60s, and has lost 50 pounds
doing Zumba. Her name is Erin, too. She’s obsessed, and has been doing it almost
every day for 2 years.” Earned, accurate, and inviting, Zumba’s motto is,
“Ditch the workout, join the party!”
universal, international celebration, there are Zumba classes for seniors,
children, beginners, differently abled… Almost, everybody can
Zumba. Music, movement, meditation, and comradely:
Zumba is joy.