ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) - Zumba! It's a funny sounding word. And in case you are looking up the etymology right now, you can put down your Dictionary. It's the name of a brand of exercise with approximately 14,000,000 people in 185 countries taking part in it every year. After taking a class or two, some will most likely remember the colorful outfits of the participants and the high energy of its instructors. It's the music, however, that really gets the group into high gear. "FOX in the Morning" went down to Peace Plaza where a group of folks were ready to move and groove.
"Zumba, is a great workout and when it's over, you don't want it to be over." Sara Pennington, who is a local instructor, can be found Monday nights; showing everyone how fun and exciting Zumba can be, as she jumps around with a smile on her face.
"It moves you. It's like a party and you're burning calories, all the while having a great time learning how to dance for those that don't; learning how to move your muscles in a different way," Pennington explained. "We don't move this way on a regular basis. So it takes some time. But once you do it, it's like: 'Oh my gosh.' And the Latin moves...I don't know...it's just amazing. It's fun and it's good for you," said Pennington.
When you view Zumba from afar, it may appear as if everyone is a professional choreographer. But that's hardly the case. Ashley Catter, who is one of the new-comers to free "Zumba on the Plaza," says Zumba is a no-pressure style of exercising. She's been doing Zumba for four months and says that regardless of how many times you have done it, Zumba is easily accessible to the very advanced to the casual passer-by.
"It's really easy to catch on," said Catter. The moves are not really hard. If you can't keep up or if you don't keep the pace, you can fall back or you can kind of impromptu your own moves," explained Catter.
Not only can someone make up his or her own moves, Zumba was invented almost entirely by improvising. It all started one day down in South America.
"Zumba was created by a guy in Colombia. His name is Beto Pérez. He was an aerobics teacher at a studio and he had forgotten his music," explained Pennington. "So, he had to go to his car and get his cassettes and just make stuff up. So, he put in some of favorites songs and they were all the Latin-based rhythms. And then, he just made up Salsa steps, Cumbia, Regatón and Merengue," said Pennington.
Catter says: "The music itself brings your energy and the crowd and the people. The more you come, the more comfortable you become." Make no mistake, said Catter, you will work up a sweat. "I'm tired by the third song," Catter said laughing.
Regardless of how old or young, there is a type of Zumba for every age group. There's even Aqua Zumba (not here of course) . These folks on Peace Plaza were having a great time. And if you still have any doubts, Pennington says: "Come to the free class, it will be awesome."
"Zumba on the Plaza" goes until August 25th.