Everybody Zumba!

Loud, thumping music flowed out of the open exercise room. I could hear shouts of “Come on guys, you can do it!” and “Move with the rhythm!” Curious, I peeked in and saw about fifteen people dancing, laughing and sweating to the loud music. It looked more like a party than an exercise class. I asked a gym member if she knew what kind of class it was and she grinned and said, “Zumba of course! It’s great. I’ve met a lot of friends through Zumba, and it’s fun.”


Zumba is an exercise program that combines body sculpting movements with dance steps derived from merengue, salsa, hip hop, mambo and the rumba.  Tamara Wrenn, a Zumba Fitness instructor practicing in the lower Hudson Valley, tells us a little more about the course.


How long have you been teaching Zumba and what drew you into it?

I have been licensed and leading Zumba classes for a year and a half. Initially, I saw a Zumba infomercial about two years prior to taking the training. I dismissed it as another fad. Time went by, and I noticed that A Taste of Zumba, an introductory course, was being offered by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (the organization I am certified with as a group fitness instructor). Within that two-year period, I opened a Wellness Studio and decided to invest in training so I could add it to our menu of services.


What is your favorite part about teaching Zumba?

Knowing that people are having a good time and for many it includes stepping out of their comfort zones. I’ve had participants who have told me that they have gone home and smiled for hours. Another still associates one song in particular with our class. When I had to close my studio, she said she also wanted to tell me how coming to the class was more than exercise; she looked forward to hanging out with the girls. No matter what mood she was in or how tired she might have been during the day, Zumba lifted her spirit.


What kind of songs do you exercise to?

Zumba Fitness has a formula that every licensed instructor is expected to adhere to. It’s a specific ratio of Latin/World Music and whatever else you enjoy. This formula is one of the things that makes Zumba unique. I mix it up with the selections I receive as part of being a licensed instructor from Zumba with my favorites and popular tunes.


What if someone doesn’t have rhythm and can’t dance well (like me!), would they still be able to participate?

Dance experience is not required, and Zumba classes are not a competition.

The creator of Zumba, Alberto “Beto” Perez, recently released a book and in it he says it best, “If you take your time and feel the music, dancing will come more easily to you.” One thing I also want to stress is that Zumba is not a dance class, but a dance fitness class which is stressed during training. It uses fitness variations of dance movements to replace the traditional aerobic workout. My rule is if you can’t get the step, keep moving, have fun, be safe and don’t bump into each other.

Here is the rest of the interview

Bridget Schultz lives in Orange County and will Zumba again even though she lacks rhythm.