Zumba was discovered by fitness instructor Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez in the mid ’90s when he forgot to bring his music to the class one day and had to improvise. He went to his car and took some Latin music, and decided to lead his class in some dance moves. In 2007, he was approached by three young entrepreneurs who trademarked this form of exercise as Zumba.
A Zumba dance workout involves grooving to Latin music with a mix of other pulsating beats, where the routines may consist of one or a combination of various Latin dance styles. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there is a dance move in there that you can shake to as you melt those calories away. Here is a breakdown of the six Latin dance styles that are incorporated into a Zumba workout routine.
The national dance of Dominican Republic, merengue is used on every dancing occasion, and is also widely popular throughout the Caribbean and South America. The tempo of the dance varies a great deal with a sharp quickening in pace towards the end. An energetic dance, merengue is characterised by a heavy, easy-to-follow beat with congo drums, accordion, and guitar.
Mambo, meaning “conversation with the gods”, originated in Cuba and was made popular by Perez Prado. Considered as one of the most difficult of dances, it is limited to advance dancers. The original Mambo dance contains no breaking steps, as Cuban dancers describe the dance as feeling the music, where the sound and movement are merged through the body.
Salsa is a blend of many different styles, cultures, and rhythms. The name salsa originated in New York because of the dancing and music created as a result of the mixture of different styles. Drawing from the various Latin dance forms, with a mix of Cuban and Caribbean cultures, salsa emphasises hip motion with a flirty, fun attitude. It is usually done at a faster tempo than other dances, with relatively smaller steps.
This dance form traces its roots to Brazil, and is a popular dance danced during the street festivals and celebrations. Its steps are characterised by a downward bouncing or dropping action. This dance, hailed for its cultural expressions, has gained popularity owing to its festive style and mood. A fun dance music, it is famous for its sexy hip movements and has evolved to fit in with modern music.
This dance form originated as a courtship dance, and was later mixed with Amerindian, European, and African instruments, steps, and musical characteristics. It is gaining much attention with the emergence of younger musicians and new bands offering classic tones and sounds of cumbia blended with rock or other Latin American styles. The dance moves primarily focus on drums, though modern renditions use electronic influences as well.
An art form native to the Spanish regions, flamenco style of song and dance is also influenced from gypsy, Muslim, and Jewish cultures. This dance combines elements of Andalusian folk dance with Arabic elements like the finger cymbals, tambourines, and theatrical costuming. Instead of relying on any particular music, the dancers originally made sound with their bodies like hand-clapping, finger-snapping, and tongue-clicking.
Zumba also has other dance styles like cha-cha, reggaeton, and even, hip-hop, pop, and rock that are mixed to create an exhilarating dance routine. The biggest appeal of this workout is that one does not have to be a pro at dancing, as there are dance moves for every level. The toe-tapping, irresistible music pulls people out of their seats and gets them grooving, which also doubles as a complete body workout combining cardio, muscle conditioning, balance, and flexibility.
So, if you ever groaned thinking about going to the gym or for that early morning jog, put on your dancing shoes, enrol in a Zumba class and get ready to Zumba your way to great health!