Ditch the Workout, join the Zumba® Party

The Latin dance-inspired Zumba Fitness-Party™ craze hits Cape Town

Jennifer Lopez recommends it as a way of getting your spark back. 7 500 000 people have tried it and most of them agree. So I thought it’s about time I give it a shot. The Zumba® dance fitness programme is quickly spreading from Colombia all over the world - 110 countries and counting at the end of 2010.

After getting in touch with Abigail Kwan from 'Zumba® Fitness with Abi' in Cape Town, I pitch up at the martial arts cum dance studio in Kenilworth. Bottle of water and sweat towel in hand, of course, as I’ve heard that it is quite the workout. All that, while being a whole bunch of fun too; hence the name Zumba Fitness-Party™.

Abi has been dancing since the age of four. She still does tap dancing but admits to being somewhat of a Zumba® addict: “I'm crazy happy about it. The Zumba® Programme has become a big part of my life making me feel super happy and fit! It feeds my soul. Absolutely love it!”

Shake, shimmy and samba

Once we’re warmed up, we start moving to the energetic Latin beats. The movements are fast but easy to follow and we laugh as much as we shake and shimmy and samba. I’m glad I brought the water and towel as the sweat drips as quickly as I work through the bottle. We dance to the hypnotic Latin rhythms for an hour and yet I don’t even notice the time passing. Never mind the fact that I’m doing a high energy, calorie burning cardio workout.

Zumba® was stumbled upon by celebrity dancer and choreographer "Beto" Perez. One day during the mid-‘90s he arrived at his aerobics class realising that he forgot to bring his aerobics music. He quickly grabbed the traditional Latin salsa and merengue music tapes he had in his backpack and decided to improvise. From this last-minute plan the Zumba Fitness-Party™ was born and soon became the most popular class at his fitness facility in Cali, Colombia.

Beto’s dance fitness routines as practised by Abi, feature interval training sessions where fast and slow rhythms as well as resistance training are combined. The best part is that it feels like you’re partying it up on the dance floor while toning and sculpting your body and burning fat. Let's dance!

By Lize de Kock

Check out Abi’s Facebook page.

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