Getting Fit With Zumba

History of Zumba

Zumba is a dance fitness program created by Alberto “Beto” Perez in Colombia during the 1990s. The program combines international music with dance in an effort to make exercise fun. Zumba classes are offered through licensed instructors in more than 110,000 locations in over 125 countries. DVD’s are also available for learning at home. Classes and instructional DVDs use music based on salsa, merengue, cumbia, reggaeton and other international music styles and forms.

The Zumba program is recognized by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, IDEA Health and Fitness Association, and the American Council on Exercise.



Beto invented Zumba in the early 1990s: as he entered his aerobics class he realized that he had forgotten his music. His only option was to use whatever tapes he happened to have in his backpack, mostly traditional Latin salsa music. Beto improvised the entire class on the spot using this music (which was non-traditional for aerobics) and from this experience he began to further develop Zumba. Soon, it became the most popular class at the fitness facility

Following his success in Colombia, Beto moved to the United States and began teaching Zumba classes in Miami. The class gained popularity and in 2001, Beto joined Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion to create the company, Zumba Fitness LLC,

The Exercises

The Zumba exercises include music with fast and slow rhythms and resistance training for fitness and losing weight.  The music comes from the following dance styles: Cumbia, Salsa, Merengue, Mambo, Flamenco, Chachacha, Reggaeton, Samba, Belly dancing, Bhangra, Hip hop music, Axé music and Tango.

Classes are offered at health clubs, gyms and community centers worldwide. Zumba has the following types of classes:

  • Zumba—The original Zumba class including basic rhythms like merengue, salsa, cumbia, reggaeton, belly dance, flamenco, tango, samba.
  • Zumba Gold—This workout is designed for older people.
  • Zumba Toning—This class focuses on losing weight and strength-training. Instructors use weighted, maraca-like “Toning Sticks”.
  • Aqua Zumba—This workshop is an all ages class similar to water aerobics
  • Zumbatomic—In September 2009, Zumba Fitness launched Zumbatomic, the first Zumba program for children. The original workout program is designed specifically for girls and boys ages 4-12 and incorporates urban dance styles like hip hop,reggaeton  and pop with concepts such as coordination, discipline, confidence and teamwork.