Loud Latin music penetrates speakers from all corners of a room where the walls are covered entirely by mirrors. Rows of people gather as a packed room excitedly waits the instructorâ€™s direction. The energy in the room is overpowering from the moment you walk in.
Some come for the workout while others show up to dance and let loose. Either way, Zumba has proven to be a fast-paced cardio routine that is rapidly growing in popularity.
â€œAnyone can do Zumba,â€ said Angie Boelen, a Zumba instructor. â€œYou learn how to dance while getting fit and burn calories while having fun; where else can you do that?â€
Boelen has been a certified Zumba instructor for over 10 years. She teaches over 10 classes per week at 24 Hour Fitness and other studios throughout Orange County and the Los Angeles area. Boelen said an hour-long Zumba class burns up to 1,000 calories.
The fascinating thing about Zumba is that it attracts both men and women and enthusiasts of all ages. Classes are generally packed with people from all over the spectrum. Whether they be experienced dancers or those who have two left feet, Zumba is a fun workout that caters to everyone.
According to Zumba.com, Zumba originated in 2001 and has grown to become the worldâ€™s largest and most successful dance-fitness program.
â€œTwelve million people of all shapes, sizes and ages take weekly Zumba classes in over 110,000 locations across more than 125 countries,â€ the website states.
Kristi Kanel, Ph.D., a professor from the Department of Human Services, has been taking Zumba classes for the past three years, ever since it started being offered at the gym. She admits she loved it so much that she now owns Zumba shoes and proper attire.
â€œMembers love Zumba because of its intensity and quick pace. The instructors are usually very enthusiastic too,â€ said Kanel enthusiastically. â€œIt is fast and time flies while youâ€™re dancing. For an hour straight, you go from one five-minute song and onto another one right away.â€
With hips shaking, feet striding and hands clapping to the beat, Zumba provides a rhythmic workout through sharp movements in a fusion of Latin and international music.
Another factor that motivates people to continue going is the encouraging atmosphere. During the dance routines members cheer and laugh. They mirror the instructors movements but with differing styles and experience. Everyone appears to be doing their own thing and able to move at their own pace. Nothing about this workout is typical.
Jessica Perez, a biology major, said she originally tried Zumba for the workout but it has made her a better dancer.
â€œI like doing it because it is obviously fun and there is no pressure. The music pumps you up and no one is judging you,â€ said Perez.
As a fun alternative to the strenuously exhausting workout routine and with more people ditching the treadmill to dance, Zumba is a party-like workout environment that is quickly catching on.
Cal State Fullerton offers drop-in Zumba classes on both Mondays and Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.