This is the Latin dance fitness craze known as Zumba, which has everyone from corporate executives to elderly grandmothers channeling their inner Shakira.
Created by Columbian celebrity trainer Beto Perez more than 20 years ago, Zumba classes can be found in 45,000 fitness clubs, dance studios and community centers in 35 countries. In the U.S., Ohio is third only to California and Florida in Zumba popularity (as measured by numbers of instructors and classes per capita).
Now based in Miami, Perez will make his first visit here June 6 to preside over a Zumba class at LifeWorks of Southwest General in Middleburg Heights, where up to 300 devotees from throughout the region are expected to flock. With a bit of translation help, we spoke to Perez in advance of his Cleveland debut.
Why is Zumba so popular?
Because Zumba touches the happiness [in people]. There’s the economic situation, the wars ... but people come to Zumba for one hour to smile, forget your kids, your job, your responsibilities and have a good time.
People expect me to be at the nightclubs all the time, but that’s the last thing I want to do. My life is a party. I hear music every day. It feels like work when I go out. I have two motorcycles, and I like to ride to South Beach and take in the sun.
Some people lose weight, but that was the last thing I was thinking. It’s very good for stress. They don’t have to count, they don’t have to feel the burn or [listen to a] drill sergeant. It’s like yoga, but on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Tickets to Beto Perez’s class at LifeWorks of Southwest General can be ordered in advance by calling (440) 816-4210. The class is $35 for LifeWorks members and $44 for nonmembers.