The music is throbbing an infectious Latin-American beat, the sweat is pouring as the crowd, moving as one, shimmies and shakes, weaves and waves, and big smiles could be seen on everybody's face! It could be Havana, it could be the taping of a Beyonce video but, in fact, it's the LA Fitness in Buford, Georgia. The class is ZUMBA, the fitness dance craze that has taken not just America but the whole world by storm gaining thousands of fans daily.
Zumba is currently the hottest fitness trend with an estimated 12 million devotees around the globe in more than 125 countries, proof of its international appeal is that it reached even my homeland, Romania! The founder Alberto "Beto" Perez launched the technique in his native Colombia in 1986, and its success grew after he moved to Miami, where Zumba's bid for world domination began!!
Zumba, which is Spanish slang for "buzz like a bee", uses salsa, merengue, cumbia and Reggaeton rhythms mixed up with a bit of hip-hop, belly dancing, house music, African and Bollywood choreography. Zumba it's a cardio-based workout which also helps tone and sculpt the body, a great way to lose weight, increase strength and co-ordination, and to foster self-esteem and sheer happiness. That is why so many people love it, and after taking just one class become addicted to it!
My two favorite Zumba instructors, Kat Jacobs and Dominique Elam, were kind enough to answer my questions in regards to Zumba, and I hope that their answers will give you, the reader, one more reason to give Zumba a try!
Mara Circiu: How did you discover Zumba?
Kat Jacobs: I came across a Zumba class with an awesome instructor named Nina Idol. I loved it so much I knew I wanted to be an instructor right away! I went to Miami, and got my certification with Beto, the creator of Zumba fitness on a Thursday, and started teaching my first class on a Monday! The best decision of my life!
Dominique Elam: I took my first class with Mary "Kat" Jacobs in 2010, and was hooked from that point.
Mara Circiu: What does Zumba mean to you? If you were to describe Zumba in three words, what would they be?
Kat Jacobs: Zumba does the body good! When I see my students smiling, having fun and sharing their testimonies with me about how much I have changed their lives because of coming to my class; it's an awesome feeling that puts a smile on my heart. Just hearing those great things from people allows me to be a better instructor, and work harder to keep my class fun and happy! Zumba is FUN, FUN, FUN!
Dominique Elam: Zumba is fun, fun, fun!!!
Mara Circiu: Who are your students? Where do you teach? Is this your full time job?
Kat Jacobs: I have students from Gold's Gym in Suwanee/Sugar Hill and LA Fitness in Buford. Zumba is my full time job but I don't ever consider Zumba as a job!! For me, it's more like a hobby, and I love doing it. If I'm not instructing, I'm somewhere taking a Zumba class.
Dominique Elam: My classes include a diverse group of people: men, women, all races, and extreme Zumba Fanatics like myself! I teach at four LA Fitness locations and Bella Fitness Group. This is my part-time job, believe it or not!
Mara Circiu: Your favorite Zumba song?
Kat Jacobs: I have so many but my three favorite songs at this moment are ZUMBA TIME, BALANS and BUNDA. Sorry, I couldn't narrow it down!
Dominique Elam: It's a tie between Fuego and Bounce!
Mara Circiu: You recently participated in a great Atlanta Zumba event at the Purple Rain, tell us about this experience.
Kat Jacobs: The Purple Rain experience was crazy! I had a blast, and I was so honored to be a part of this event with so many great instructors.
Mara Circiu: Please tell us about your last Zumba Flash Mob? Where did it take place, who was involved, what was the people's reaction?
Dominique Elam: The last Flash Mob was at the Lawrenceville/Suwanee Park during a Play in the Park. The audience was totally surprised and some joined in!
Mara Circiu: Dominique, your husband is also one of your students, you two make a great "Zumba couple"; how did you get him involved in your classes?
Dominique Elam: He's into fitness, as well, being a Personal Trainer and Kickboxing Instructor, so getting the burn from the high-intensity cardio that Zumba offers was right up his alley. He also loves to dance!
Mara Circiu: Please address a Zumba invitation to our readers...
Kat Jacobs: Go to Zumba.com and search in your area to find a Zumba class if you don't know where to start. Zumba will change your life! I've been teaching for two years, and people have shared so many heart touching stories about weight loss, blood pressure decrease, no longer taking blood pressure medications, toning, stress relief and just having fun. The best part about it you will have so much fun and not realizing that you are burning up to 600 calories or more and toning your bodies. It doesn't matter what size, shape, color, race or gender. Just remember to love yourself and work hard to achieve your goals. Just smile, laugh and get your dance on!! ZUUUMMMBA LOOOVE!
Dominique Elam: If you're interested in having pure fun, then come and join the Zumba party with me! You don't have to be a great dancer, just someone who loves to dance!!! Try it once and you'll never turn back!
Mara Circiu: Thank you, Kat and Dominique, for this interview, I really enjoy your classes, and I would like to recommend Zumba to everybody!! It is intense, rewarding and so much fun!!
Dear reader, in case you are still resisting the idea of shaking your booty to a swinging Latin beat, it seems that in the coming months no one will be immune to Zumba. In fact, don't even try to resist: give in, get moving and join the party!