Zumba Terms

By Denise Reynolds

Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance-style exercise program that has become one of the most successful trends among fitness classes. Since 2001, Zumba classes have grown in number and now reach 10 million people in more than 110 countries. Today there are many versions of Zumba, including classes designed for beginners, children and seniors.

The Origins of Zumba

Zumba was created by Alberto "Beto" Perez who was born in Cali, Colombia. As a fitness instructor in the mid-1990s, he created his own version of aerobics class using salsa and meringue music. Perez brought the concept to Miami, Florida in 1999. Zumba Fitness LLC was formed as a partnership between Perez, Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion in 2001. Zumba is a trademarked fitness program and the name cannot be applied to any other dance-fitness program.

Different Types of Zumba Classes

The Zumba program offers six types of classes. The original basic fitness class teaches the foundation of the rhythms and steps. Zumba Gold classes targets the baby boomer and senior population with modified moves and pacing. Zumba Toning Classes uses a toning stick and combines targeted body-sculpting exercises with cardiovascular dance. Zumba in the Circuit is a high-intensity 30-minute class that combines the original dance moves with a circuit-training series. Aqua Zumba participants do the cardio work and body toning moves in a pool. Zumbatomic classes are designed exclusively for children between the ages of 4 and 12.

The Four Basic Rhythms

The four basic Zumba rhythms are Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia, and Reggaeton. The original Merengue dance consisted only of a shaking of the shoulders and swift foot movement, but today circular hip movements are a common addition. Salsa dance keeps time with the music, and the way the steps fit with the music is called "step-timing." Cumbia is a music style founded in Colombia and the basic dance step is 4/4. Reggaeton is also a dance style named after Latin urban music.

Popular Zumba Steps

Simple meringue steps are often used during Zumba Fitness classes. To perform this, as the right foot steps to the side, the left hip "pops" and the elbows face outward. During these steps, the exerciser should maintain appropriate posture to prevent injury. Salsa dances are performed by starting with the feet together, bending the knees to engage the hips and stepping to the side with one foot and then back to center. Then the move is repeated using the other foot. Some instructors add more modern steps to the Zumba routine such as Hip-Hop, Samba, and Belly-Dancing Hip Shimmies.

Zumba Toning Sticks

Weighted toning sticks are used during the Zumba Toning classes to enhance rhythm, build strength, and tone target zones. These 1 lb. accessories are filled with sand and shaped similarly to maracas. Toning sticks come in pairs and one is held in each hand during the Zumba fitness class as instructed.


About the Author

Denise Reynolds is a registered dietitian, licensed in both North and South Carolina. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in human nutrition from Winthrop University. Reynolds writes primarily about health and nutrition topics such as diabetes, heart disease, food allergies, and weight loss, either through lifestyle changes or weight loss surgery.

Related Articles

More Related