Zumba is one of the newest fitness dance crazes. Spanish slang for “move fast," Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance workout that lets gym goers groove to salsa and meringue.
The Zumba dance workout was created by accident in 1986 by founder Alberto Perez. While teaching an aerobics class, Perez realized he’d forgotten his usual class music. Looking through the tapes he had, he found his personal favorite Latin music and told his students that class would be different. They loved the music, and Zumba was born.
Unlike a typical dance class that requires dancers to count out steps and pay attention to choreography, Zumba dance classes revolve around four or five easy-to-follow steps. The simple steps are repeated over the course of an hour-long class.
Perez started selling Zumba DVDs on TV in 2002 and has developed a wide following. WebMD estimates that there are 4 million Zumba students and 250,000 Zumba instructors in 40 countries.
Since Zumba took off, Perez has created several versions of the Zumba workout. There’s a type of Zumba dance that uses maraca-like sticks to tone and sculpt the body and there are even Zumba programs tailored for specific audiences. There’s a low-impact Zumba Gold workout for seniors and ZumbAtomic workout for kids.