A true happy accident

Zumba classes, like this one at Ideal Shape in Orem, are becoming more popular by the day, filled with people excited to workout. Kim Lender / UVU Review

A year and a half ago, sophomore Mallory Denison had no idea that she would ever enjoy working out. She began going with her sister to a fitness class that focused on Latin dancing, taught by her sister’s best friend. This class is called Zumba Fitness.

At first Mallory didn’t love Zumba; in fact, she hated it, but she stuck with it based on the recommendation by her friends. Now, at age 19, Mallory has fallen in love with the party that gets you to work your body while having fun.

Zumba is an “exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party that’s moving millions of people toward joy and health,” according to Zumba Fitness.

Zumba Fitness focuses its workout program on learning different Latin American dances such as la cumbia, merengue, samba and salsa.
Finally a workout program has been developed that is “super fun and works the whole body,” said Torina Moore, a junior.

Alberto “Beto” Perez created the Zumba program in the mid-‘90s in Colombia when he spontaneously used Latin music in place of the traditional music to teach his aerobics class. The class loved the energy that filled the room and Perez saw the future for the Zumba Fitness party.

“Zumba is something fun, a break. It doesn’t feel like a chore or that you are working out.  You can just let loose,” said Hannah Loumeau Leonard, Zumba instructor at Ideal Shape in Orem.

The average age of people who attend Zumba is between 20 and 30 years old; however, there are people present at Zumba Fitness between the ages of 18 and 60 years old, said Leonard.

“I have been lifting and dieting and I haven’t been losing any weight, and now I finally am,” said Sharon Whipple, 51, after having been to six Zumba classes.

In the last 10 years, the party has spread to over 110 countries where more than 10 million people are taking weekly classes in 90,000 different locations, according to Zumba Fitness.

“It is a way to have fun and to feel better about myself. When you run, you don’t feel sexy, but when you do Zumba, you just feel cute about yourself,” said Denison.

The majority of Zumba students don’t dance and never have. Thinking that Zumba is solely for dancers is a huge misconception, according to Leonard. Zumba is not for dancers; it’s for everyone.

Leonard’s motto is “we aren’t here to be divas; we are here to burn calories!”

The university is offering an aerobics/Zumba weekend class beginning on May 6 for 10 weeks, according to Deni Preston, PE Fitness Coordinator.

“Don’t be afraid; it’s a big party for everyone. It doesn’t matter what you look like or what you are doing. No one really cares,” said Denison.

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