After I shared How strange is it that I am now a certified Zumba instructor? on Facebook, a friend said, "I might think it was strange if I had any idea what it meant." Another responded, "So, you teach them how to navigate around the furniture while they vacuum?"
Which made me realize the world is divided between people who have heard of Zumba—15 million are currently taking Zumba classes, according to Zumba's site—and those who haven't a clue what it is, and most of my friends fall into the latter group. This is for them.
The Zumba origin myth is that a gym teacher in Columbia forgot his usual exercise tape and improvised by playing a mix of dance songs that were in his car and leading people in the steps. His students loved it, so he kept doing it, and after a few years, he moved to Miami, where a couple of investors saw the potential, and Zumba went international.
Zumba teachers like to think of Zumba as “exercise in disguise.” Officially, it’s a “Latin-inspired international cardio workout", which means the teachers are encouraged to keep a high percentage of Latin music in the mix, but “international” is open to each teacher’s interpretation. Zumba is effective exercise—people burn an average of 500-1000 calories in a class—but the main reason it's popular is Zumba feels more like dancing than working out—see yesterday's comment about how I hate the idea of exercise.
A few posts about my dancing journey so far:
Old white guy can't dance (yet) - Part 1
Old white guy can't dance (yet) - Part 2
Old white guy can't dance (yet) #3
Fat women will kick your ass at Zumba
Dance is changing my idea of female beauty