In 1986, Colombian Alberto (Beto) Perez was going to the gym to teach an aerobics class when he realized he’d forgotten to bring the music for the class. So he improvised — he went to his car and took out his personal music, which included salsa and merengue among others. That music changed the tone and movements of the class and Zumba was born.
Perez moved to Florida in 1999 and, with the help of a friend, he was able to grow Zumba in popularity. Now it’s a worldwide phenomenon.
Fort Garry Community Centre began offering Zumba to adults this past fall and is offering Zumbatomic to children this spring.
Ainsley Borus, a certified Zumba instructor, teaches Zumba at the centre on Thursdays from 7 to 8 p.m.
"You don’t really realize you’re exercising. It’s exercise in disguise."
I took one of Borus’ classes and found it to be a vigorous yet fun workout. The hip hop, salsa, and merengue music made me want to move.
"Cardio is the biggest benefit of Zumba," said Borus. "Plus we focus on all muscle groups and do toning moves."
Music by local group Little Darjeeling accompanies the cool down and stretching at the end of Borus’ Zumba class.
This spring, Yvonne Bayer Cheung began teaching Zumbatomic classes at Fort Garry. She also teaches at Linden Woods Community Centre.
Zumbatomic is for children from four to 12 years old. Yvonne, who certified as a Zumba instructor and later as a Zumbatomic instructor, stops the music in class and practices the steps with the children before doing a sequence of Zumbatomic.
"The children do the ‘sleeky’ leg and the sugar cane move to music with a salsa or a merengue rhythm. The merengue is easier for children because it has a marching rhythm," Bayer Cheung says.
Bayer Cheung also takes Zumbatomic to schools and special events, including birthday parties. That’s how much fun this exercise is.
"The music starts and everyone is smiling," Bayer Cheung said. "I do get everyone participating."
That’s Zumba action!
Please phone or email Fort Garry Community Centre for more information: 204-505-3970 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dianne Doney is a community correspondent for Fort Rouge. You can contact her at email@example.com