This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
group exercise: zumba

in the groove

Maryrose Fison talks to the founder of Zumba, the highly popular, Latin

dance-based group exercise concept W

alk into any gym this summer and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a timetable that doesn’t

offer Zumba classes. The Latin- American dance-based programme has galvanised gym-goers across the globe and transformed couch potatoes into overnight converts in recent months. Today, more than seven million followers take the classes and the media has been awash with news of the workout’s health benefits. So what is it that makes Zumba so appealing? We speak to Alberto “Beto” Perez, celebrity dance choreographer and inventor of Zumba, to find out.

a passion for dance These days it’s rare to secure an interview with Perez. He’s a busy man. When he isn’t teaching four Zumba classes a week in Zumba’s Miami headquarters, he’s travelling the world introducing the class to countries as far afield as South Korea and Indonesia. Yet in spite of his gruelling schedule, he exudes energy and warmth. Perez’s inspiration to dance

stems, he says, from a childhood removed from material wealth and immersed in a culture of celebration. “I’m from Cali [in Colombia],” he explains in a heavily- accented voice. “Cali is the capital of the salsa world – it’s a hot city full of very

46 Read Health Club Management online at

happy people. People don’t have money, but they celebrate everything.” He describes a youth spent hanging

out with friends, going to parties and soaking up the myriad cultural infl uences that surrounded him. But it



was a trip to the cinema on a sweltering summer’s day in 1978 that he credits with putting him on his chosen path. “When I was eight years old, I went

with my friends to see the movie Grease with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John and I loved the rock and roll. It opened my mind and I discovered that I loved to dance.” In the years that followed, Perez

acquired something of a reputation as a formidable performer. Known affectionately by locals as “the Latin John Travolta”, he routinely stunned those around him with his dance repertoire. By the age of 16, he had won a place at the prestigious Maria Sanford Dance Academy and began teaching aerobics classes to help subsidise his tuition fees. It was while teaching one of these classes that unexpected circumstances produced the burst of creativity that gave birth to Zumba. “One day I forgot my music and the only

thing I had in my bag were cassettes of Latin-American music,” he explains. “I didn’t have the option of going home, because I needed the work and the class was waiting for me, so I went in and improvised for an hour without any of the students knowing – and they loved it!” Soon after graduating from the academy, he moved to Bogota – “the New York of Colombia” – where he made a name for himself choreographing routines for A-list pop stars such as Shakira and working for Sony

Music. With his Zumba classes also proving a hit he was, as he puts it, “in two worlds – the fi tness world and the choreography world”, transitioning between multiple jobs with an adaptability that would become a defi ning feature of his success in years to come.

catching a break In 1999, still only 29 years old and driven by an “obsession to go to the United States”, he packed his bags and boarded a plane for Miami. But far from being the effortless journey to recognition he had hoped

Alberto “Beto” Perez is a celebrity dance

choreographer and the founder of Zumba

july 2010 © cybertrek 2010

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76
Produced with Yudu -