Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Zumba Boom [Video]

“It [zumba] arrived at Bodyworks Fitness Center in Marlborough just last month, and already there's been enough interest to add three classes, said gym owner Janice Flanigan. And Marlborough is only a microcosm of the exuberant dance/workout's popularity. Zumba (pronounced ZOOM-buh) has gained devotees in China, Italy and Spain — and in Connecticut gyms, community centers and schools from Bloomfield to Danbury, Middletown to Brookfield, Newtown to New Milford. And everywhere, the official slogan is: ‘Ditch the workout, join the party.’ Make that the ‘sweaty party.’ By some counts, reasonably committed participants can burn 500 calories in an hourlong class, said Danielle Rich, a Zumba instructor at the Taking Care Center in downtown Hartford. She's been teaching since October. ‘I'm a dancer, so I was thinking, 'I don't really know if I'm going to like this,' but I really like the dance-fitness thing," Rich said. "I think a lot of people feel silly at first, but that's what makes people smile. I love watching the looks on the faces of the people in class. That's what makes the class for me. I know they're having a good time.’ Laura Namnoun, Taking Care's group exercise director (and master personal trainer), has been pleasantly surprised by the turnouts and the people who keep coming back. ‘The first day of class, our exercise room holds 30 or 40 comfortably, and over 60 came,’ she said. ‘We were moving equipment just to make room for everybody, and then we were waiting the next time to see how many came back, and they all did.’ Part of the attraction is that participants forget they're working out. It's not a boring half-hour on an elliptical machine or a mindless moment on a stair-stepping machine. And Zumba, a Colombian expression for moving fast and having fun, lets participants move at their own pace. ‘You end up laughing at yourself,’ said Namnoun. ‘People sweat without having to think about it. For myself, the first time it was hard to catch on, and then the second time I got into it more and more.’”,0,6996336.story

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