Every time New Year’s Day comes around I seem to experience the same thought process. I promise myself that this year I will get fit, lose weight and generally feel fabulous when the sun finally emerges once more. Then the dazzle of summer suddenly arrives with the horrific prospect of wearing a bikini on holiday and my new year’s resolution is a distant memory, lost in the blur of a winter season of over-indulgence and lack of will power. But this year I refuse to have that sudden dawning moment, and I think I have a weapon to combat it. That weapon is Zumba.
Back in the mid-‘90s, Zumba was created when fitness instructor Alberto “Beto” Perez arrived at his aerobics class without his traditional aerobics music. He improvised with the salsa and merengue music tapes he had in his backpack and this new type of dance-fitness was born. The Latin-inspired dance-fitness program combines funky dance steps and international music into a calorie burning class that is completely addictive. Zumba was the fitness class of 2010 when it burst into gyms, church halls and any space that was big enough to shake your booty and salsa, with more than 10 million people joining the craze.
And I was one of them, despite never having been to a dance class in my entire life. Being too shy to brave it alone, I dragged along my reluctant best friend, and within ten minutes we were bright red, sweating, but slowly cha-cha-cha-ing our way to the front of the class; so much for me being the shy, retiring type hiding at the back of the class and cowering away from the mirrored wall. Zumba gives me that great feeling of being in a club when the blaring music and the odd alcoholic beverage makes you dance like nobody is watching you. But the best part about it is that feeling makes you burn calories, have a laugh and is a great activity to do with friends. The good news for my new year’s resolution is that there is a Zumba course running this year at the University each Wednesday from the start of semester two. Summer 2011… bring it on!