Party Yourself into Shape!

Rod Smith’s record breaking class at the Hogan Family YMCA with 124 people!

Sara Barker, Writer

Bored with your workout routine, or not seeing any results?  Try Zumba.

Zumba is an aerobic fitness program featuring movements inspired by various styles of Latin American dance and performed primarily to Latin American dance music.  “Beto” Perez created Zumba by accident in the mid 90’s in Cali, Columbia when he came to his aerobics class without his music. He improvised with his personal tapes, which were comprised of Latin salsa and merengue music.  Thus, the Zumba craze was born.

Zumba has evolved into a revolutionary exercise dance class that incorporates modern music and traditional Latin international music to form a workout for anyone to enjoy. Designed for all ages and fitness levels, Zumba is easily modifiable.

Many might assume that a dance-affiliated class requires a dance background; however, those who have taken the class before say that it is not necessary.

Matt Ridley, a zumba instructor at the Hogan Family YMCA, admits that he isn’t even the best dancer. “All you have to do is try. The whole goal is to burn calories and have fun doing it.”

Several members of the Hogan Family YMCA asserted this opinion. “Just try it for the first time, and you’ll love it!” says member and front-desk employee Yolanda.

Deb Cooke, an avid Zumba participant since it first came to the YMCA, also encourages people to just try it. “It’s repetitious and fun.”

Zumba is offered in several places around the Madison area. Rod Smith, another popular Zumba instructor for the area, teaches classes at several locations, including the Hogan Family YMCA, the Southeast YMCA and the Madison Wellness Center. Smith has also broken the record for a group exercise class at the Hogan Y with more than 120 people attending his Wednesday night Zumba classes.

Jane Ringbloom, Deanna Washington, and Lauren Grider are also instructors at the Hogan Family YMCA, all with their own personal twist injected into their classes. Every instructor has a unique style, so be sure you try all available classes to make sure you find the one best fit for you.

Other instructors at Curves For Women, Riviera Fitness Center, and Benders Gym also offer Zumba classes.

In spite of fitness facilities named “Curves for Women,” Zumba truly is made for anyone and everyone, completely disregarding gender, age, weight, or personal fitness level.

Lindsey, a senior at Bob Jones states, “You can make it your own. You don’t have to be exactly the same as the person standing next to you.”

Every routine is modifiable, and no routine has to be strictly followed! If you would rather do jumping jacks during a salsa move, by all means go for it!

Matt Ridley says, “It’s all about having fun and being able to laugh at yourself.”

One of the greatest benefits that Zumba has to offer is the potential level of exercise that comes with every class. Being an easy-to-mix-up class, participants can intensify any move to increase the physical demand. It also makes having fun that much more effortless!

Getting pumped about the class is where most of the passion for the workout is formed. Rod Smith says that “most people don’t even realize when they are having fun taking the class that they’re burning anywhere from 750 to 1100 calories per class.”

The more into it you get, the more you will get out of it!

To see a calendar of Zumba, and other group exercise classes provided through the YMCA, follow this link: