Zumba+ Society only affiliated in December 2012, but with 50 people on average going to each session, Sera Berksoy looks into why one of the Union’s newest societies is so popular.
Since 2001, Zumba has become one of the most well-known dance fitness programs in the world and according to the figures on the official website, approximately 14 million people take classes weekly. It describes itself as a ‘Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party’, and Zumba+ Society certainly manage to bring a party atmosphere to the Cube every Wednesday afternoon from 2-3pm, as the lights are turned down and the music is turned up. Joining this society is the cheapest way to partake in Zumba classes in Southampton, because there is no joining fee and sessions cost only £3 on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Alice Caffull, the society’s current president, told me that she and some friends came up with the idea for a Zumba society in the summer of 2012 and that Zumba+ Society was affiliated in December of the same year. Zumba+ means that the society offer not only Zumba, but Bokwa too. Bokwa, like Zumba is a dance based workout but takes its influences from South Africa instead of Latin America. While the society currently divided their one hour sessions to include 30 minutes of Zumba followed by 30 minutes of Bokwa, they hope to have two separate one hour sessions in the future.
For newcomers to this style of exercise, as I was when I took part in a session with the society, the atmosphere created by the ZumSoc committee is welcoming, friendly and fun. The professional instructor stands on a platform at the front of the stage and leads the group through the routine, encouraging them to shout at the tops of their voices regularly. As a person a) who had never done Zumba before and b) who is very uncoordinated, I found the instruction easy to follow and after a few repetitions was able to keep up with the people surrounding me. My technique had improved within the 30 minutes and I was able to push myself harder during my second session. I asked Alice about the number of calories burned in a typical session and she approximated 500, but said: ‘the harder you push yourself the more calories you’ll burn’.
Over 50 people attended the Zumba+ Society’s first session and since affiliating they’ve gone from strength to strength as they now regularly average 50 attendees per session. This success can be put down to the environment created by its committee. Zumba is inherently fun: the music, the shouting – they all put a smile on your face. But ZumSoc’s non-judgemental attitude where newcomers and veterans alike can go exercise among peers plays a massive part in their success. When asking people why they had joined the society, most replied that it was because they wanted to exercise and that Zumba was an enjoyable way to do so. When asked why they didn’t take classes at the Gym through Sports and Well-being, there was a consensus that ZumSoc was more affordable and in some cases, more welcoming.
Get to the Cube at 1:45pm on a Wednesday wearing suitable exercise clothing, trainers with a good amount of grip and, most importantly, a large bottle of water.
To find out more about the society, join the Zumba+ Society’s Facebook group by following this link.