Zumba workout debuts at IBC

The new dance-workout class is popular among students, who say it allows them to get fit while having fun.

The new dance-workout class is popular among students, who say it allows them to get fit while having fun.

ALEX HANNAN TTN Students participate in the popular Zumba class, which incorporates dance styles from meringue to belly dancing. The new class drew so much attention that sessions generally fill before their start times.

Though the Zumba fitness dance class at the IBC Student Recreation Center has only been in full swing for three weeks, it is already one of the most popular among students. By 7 p.m. last Wednesday, eager participants already took all 55 tickets for the 7:30 p.m. session.

“I think Zumba has gotten popular so far because it is very different from anything the students have ever seen, and it’s fun,” said instructor Daniela Acosta, a junior communications major. “Nothing is worse than dreading a workout, but with Zumba, you don’t even realize how much you’re actually exercising because you’re having such a great time. The Zumba motto says it best: ‘Ditch the workout. Join the party.’”

Kelly Monaco, a junior kinesiology major, agreed.

“It’s a fun way to work out, and it doesn’t feel like you’re working out,” she said. “You work your entire body.”

According to the official Web site, Zumba is a modern form of dance that incorporates several Latin styles, including the salsa, meringue, tango, flamenco and belly dancing.

Zumba fitness was brought to the United States by Columbian trainer Alberto “Beto” Perez in 1999 when his fitness program caught the attention of two American entrepreneurs who offered to help Perez market it.

By 2002, the three men signed a contract with an infomercial company, which allowed for more exposure for Zumba and helped them sell millions of DVDs to date. Following the success of the videos, another infomercial campaign reached out to the Spanish-speaking market. Today, Zumba has reached audiences in more than 30 countries around the world.

Zumba made its way to Philadelphia, and its hard-to-resist rhythms are now making their way to the pulse of Temple students. From the start of Wednesday’s fitness session, the room was full of excitement and energy.

Students took a palpable liking to Acosta, who started dancing in sixth grade and has a background in ballet, modern dance and hip-hop.

Acosta, who received her certification in September 2009 and taught her first class at the start of the Spring 2010 semester, said she was more nervous than most students during her first class as an instructor.

“The first time was definitely nerve-racking because I didn’t know what to expect,” she said of her first experience teaching Zumba. “I thought I would forget all of my choreography or accidentally fall or do something equally as embarrassing.

“However, after the first couple of songs, I saw that everyone was responding really well to what I was teaching, and I just started having fun.”

It seemed Acosta has no problem passing the passion to students — smiles and laughter filled the dance studio in the minutes before the class, which began with warm-up choreography and picked up progressively.

By the time the second track started, Acosta stepped up on the platform and was already clapping. Toward the end of the second number, just five minutes into the fitness routine, people were already out of breath.

“The most important thing is learning how to be energetic and engaging, but that only comes with time and practice,” she said. “Getting certified was the easy part. The real work is coming up with high energy choreography and passing that passion along to your students.”

Classes are offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. on a first come, first serve basis.

Ashleigh Gray can be reached at ashleigh.gray@temple.edu.

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