Let’s Zumba. When Rebecca met Beto

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The dance phenomenon that is ZUMBA continues to be as popular as ever here in the UK. I discovered a LOVE of Zumba three years ago. I joined a local Salsa group – always obsessed with dancing. From ballet to ballroom, tap and disco. For years, my mum spent hours hand sewing sequins on my performance costumes.

So one night I decided to stay on for another class thinking it was advanced Salsa….oh no, it wasn’t.

The room filled with masses of people (mainly ladies) bearing torso, looking fit and keen on getting started.

We all stood in lines, the music was intense and rhythmic and everyone watched the instructors and followed every move adding in extra hips and arms. Like a drug, I was addicted.

Fast forward three years, living in a new area and finally I join a new Zumba class and start my ladymance (like bromance) with Putney Queen of Zumba Rebecca Rogoff of Zumba Funk London. Post baby, I’m back into my size 8’s and toning up week after week.

In February Rebecca was invited by London Mums Magazine to interview global King and Queen of Zumba, Perez and Gina Grant at the ZIN (Zumba Instructors Network) Convention in London.

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Here’s Rebecca’s interview.

Well, to start at the very beginning, what does ‘Zumba®’ mean?

Nothing, actually. It’s a sound, a feeling, a wild sensation. It’s a mixture of hot Latin rhythms, moving to a Tumbao beat. It’s new music, movement, dancing. It’s Montuno, Boogaloo, Salsa, Reggaeton, Cumbia and Merengue all rolled into one delectable package.

Pronounced “Zooomba”. Go on, say it – slowly. Let it fill you up & fall seductively from your mouth – do you see what I mean?

“Zooooooooomba”…………..Oh yeh!

But the word ‘Zumba®’ is derived from a Colombian word that means ‘to move fast and have fun’ and I think that pretty much hits the nail on the head!

It’s a fast, fun dance-fitness workout that was brought to America by one Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez, a Colombian dancer, in the early 1990s and then bundled up in bright packaging and lovingly sent over to us here in the UK.

It is now enjoyed in over 125 countries by more than 12 million people every single week! Wowza! And with very good reason…

Between 500-1000 calories can be burned in a 1 hour Zumba class. Cripes.

Zumba® mixes high-cardio with muscle toning for incredible results.
It’s fun!
It’s social!

No previous experience required.
With the various Zumba® programs offered, Zumba® is truly accessible to everyone.

Zumba® brings dance and fitness together in a wonderfully dynamic union and because of this, every instructor delivers a different style of class – some more focused on the dance, some more on the fitness, but with over 30,000 registered instructors, you’re guaranteed to find a handful you love who’ll float your boat and boogie you into shape without you even noticing!

Personally, I’ve always been passionate about dance and fitness. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of ballet, Greek, tap, Ceroc, jazz, even disco dancing lessons over the years, I’ve been a wall climber, tennis instructor, event cyclist and runner and so, when I threw myself into my first Zumba® class on a whim approximately a year and a half ago, I was immediately smitten. Everything I’m bonkers about seemed to come together. Not only was the class a ludicrous amount of fun, I was loving the impact it was having on my body.

For a woman, dance creates elegant lines, strong yet feminine muscles and improves general posture. We tend to hold our heads a little higher and our backs a little straighter. I have met so many fabulous women who have managed to lose unwelcome kilos and develop muscles through Zumba® they didn’t even know they had and the best part of all is the beaming smile that, honestly, seems to be a constant theme with every single Zumba® dancer.

To me, exercise shouldn’t just be about trying to get into a bikini or summer dress. Now that winter’s behind us, the sun’s shining – although I won’t deny that is, without a doubt, a common and important incentive – but exercise should be a way of life and I don’t subscribe to the notion that it should be painful or hard work.

It shouldn’t be a competition either, we all have different body shapes and we should be striving to achieve what suits us. We really don’t need to waste energy beating ourselves up by comparing our bodies with our friends or airbrushed magazine models – no, instead we need to find that comfortable shape; size that works for each of us – that’s what’s attractive – comfort in our own body.

I believe we should all find activities in our lives that we find fun, workouts that make us smile and teach us something new in the process. Cross-training is important: running in the park, cycling along the river, joining a sporting team perhaps – and, at only 1 hour a class, Zumba® can easily be squeezed in to our busy schedules to provide an all-over body sculpt.

It also opens a big, colourful door to a wonderful, infectious and happy community of like-minded folk. It’s a Zumba® party train. If you love meeting new people, come on your own, many do, if you feel a little more self-conscious, grab a friend and bring them along – trust me, they’ll thank you for it afterwards!

Remember, stepping out of our comfort-zone by trying something new is good for both the mind and the soul. Come on, give it a go! I promise you’ll be welcomed with open arms. It will leave you grinning!

See you in the Zumba® zone – love Rebecca x

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