Joan Morgan has recently started attending the Zumba classes at Allendale Village Hall, and sends us a report:
“Although ‘Zumba’ sounds like a character from ‘The Lion King’, it is in fact a fitness programme created by Columbian dancer and choreographer Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez in 1999. The story goes that he forgot his regular music to his aerobics class, so he used his hiphop cassette tapes instead, and the class went so well that he called his new brainchild Rumbacize. While drinking coffee in New York with his two friends, both also called Alberto, the trio came up with the new name of ‘Zumba’ after going through the alphabet to find an easier word similar to Rumba, which means ‘to party’ in Spanish. Zumba, which is defined as ‘fun, aerobic exercise mixed with dance moves’, became a very successful brand, and by 2015, there were 14 million Zumba students in 186 countries.
The Allendale class was started in 2016. A few Zumba enthusiasts who travelled to Hexham every week persuaded local Zumba teacher Ruth Murray to start the class. Subsequently, her son, Adam, trained with ‘Zumba Fitness’ to become a licensed instructor, and in 2017, he took over the class, which has grown to become very well attended. At only 17, Adam is the youngest fully trained Zumba instructor in the world! He had to undertake an intensive three week course to qualify, and he attends various other courses to extend his expertise. He says that if everyone in the class is not smiling by the end of the session, he feels he has failed. In fact, he never fails, because it is almost impossible not to feel the endorphins being released with the beat of the music, the dance moves, and the fun of it all. It’s called the ‘Zumba High’.
Typically, each class lasts about one hour, and there are 10 types of classes for different fitness levels. Ruth now runs a gentler ‘Zumba Gold’ class for those enthusiasts who like a slightly less energetic work-out; although participants can put in as much or as little effort as they feel capable of. She is also starting a ‘Zumbini’ class for babies up to 4 years old, and a ‘Zumba Kids’ class for children from 4 to 11: Mums need to take their tissues to these classes as they have been known to shed emotional tears as they watch their little ones dance to the music. Zumba music is originally Latin American, but any music with a strong dance beat, including modern, can be incorporated in the session. Following the movements of the instructor to the music is exercise for the brain as well as the body, and there is no problem with ‘getting it wrong’. Balance is improved, muscle tone, stamina, and most importantly, it’s fun!”
Thanks for a fascinating glimpse into the sessions, Joan, and another valuable contribution to the diary of life in this village!