by Job Abraria
Billed as a way to find fitness by “Partying yourself into shape”, Zumba is gaining ground as a solid exercise choice. Begun in Columbia by Alberto “Beto” Perez, the latin-inspired workout encourages exercisers to feel the music and let loose. And Zumba comes in all shapes and forms, I have seen it all from aqua-zumba, to zumba without music, to nude zumba (yes I sometimes use my Google powers for evil).
Workouts have easy to follow choreography and are led by an instructor(s). More involved than a typical aerobics, the vibe in the room levels at fun and electrifying. This encourages both newcomers and regulars to kick it up a notch and dance. With choreography that infuses the samba, merengue, salsa, mambo and even some martial arts, it is easy to see why women (and men) are coming in to take hold of the beat. It's an insane workout with a bit of sex appeal like tantric yoga.
Zumba is offered at many places within the Peoria area, but the operation I visited is held at the Fondulac Park District Building in East Peoria. Classes are an hour long and taught by Zumba licensed instructors, Carrie and Michelle (Both were trained under Alberto “Beto” Perez in Puerto Rico). Classes are well attended and can get as large as 30 people. Kids and senior adults also make strong appearances in the crowd, as moves are easily adapted and modified for skill levels. And I really appreciate when I see middle aged woman who to make an effort to look and feel better. The instructors both work hard to encourage self confidence in the woman. So, if you are looking to maintain your body then get off the couch and come get motivated by some awesome people. Also, for a bunch of Midwest girls the dance level isn’t bad, not like the latin flair of the commerials but you cannot help but want to move to the beats. Zumba classes help attendees build strength, improve motion and posture, and quite importantly, offer the opportunity to socialize. Outside of class, Carrie and Michelle also offer private instruction in both fitness and dance and Spanish speaking instruction is also available.
After an affordable $10 registration fee, classes start at only $6.00 and can be made more affordable by the purchase of an eight class punch card for $40. Zumba classes are available Monday through Thursday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Reached on facebook, under Carrie on Zumba, https://www.facebook.com/carrie.onzumba?fref=ts. But probably a good warning, Zumba is like many of the other things I cover once your are in it, you are in it for life.
Fitness impact: Four stars – Let the calorie burning begin.
Learning Curve: Three stars – There is a ramp up in learning the moves, but once you have them you are golden. Especially with the bonus that once you have them down, you can bring them out on the dance floor of your choice!
Social Aspect: Four stars – You will make friends, but even better if you bring friends.
Availability/Cost: Five stars – One of the best priced places in town for pay as you go exercise.