Some of the most popular Friday destinations for students are arguably nightlife hot spots South Beach and Coconut Grove. However, the Wellness Center’s Friday zumba class is an alternative that is quickly rising in popularity, and this one is free.
Fridays at the Wellness Center mean students packing the waiting area in front of studio room B, where they are given numbers by the staff. The class only holds 55, so if students get there after 5:05 p.m., they have no chance of strutting their stuff in the hour-long dance/exercise class that begins at 5:30.
“The class is full 20 minutes beforehand,” said senior Daniel Abramovitz, who is also a Wellness Center employee. “I get here at four, and people are waiting outside. Sometimes they even try to sneak in after the class starts.”
Zumba, a fitness program that uses Latin-inspired music and dance steps, was invented by accident in the mid 1990s. Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez forgot the music for an aerobics class he was teaching, so he decided to use his own merengue and salsa music to teach the class. An international phenomenon was born.
At UM, the class is also offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But the one at the end of the week is especially popular. Friday’s instructor, Lisa Sevilla, was certified by Perez in 2004.
“I like zumba because I think you can work out in a fun way with good results,” Sevilla said. “The class consists of normal dance steps that are done with more intensity to target more muscles. For example, a mambo would include a squat.
Though zumba is promoted as a class for both genders, women make up the majority of participants. However, this did not stop freshman Andres Morfin from attending the popular class with his friends.
“It’s really fun and involves lots of dancing,” Morfin said.
One of the traits that makes zumba stand out is its use of popular Hispanic music. Though participants dance to some traditional salsa and merengue, artists such as Shakira and Pitbull can be heard as well.
Though zumba is a relatively new exercise program, it has already been accredited by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America as well as other international fitness organizations.
Zumba’s legitimacy in the exercise world has encouraged students to adopt the class as part of their exercise routines. Second-year doctoral student Amanda Cummings, who participates in other Wellness Center classes such as core, said zumba gives her a different workout experience.
“I like trying new things, and I like to mix up my workout schedule,” Cummings said.
Sophomore Ashley Brozic, a weekly zumba participant, was familiar with the program before she began classes at the Wellness Center.
“I had always known about zumba through infomercials, and my friends were always talking about it. I love the music,” she said.
According to Brozic, zumba is more than just a workout.
“If I don’t go dancing on the weekends, it’s okay because I get my fix on Friday afternoons,” she said.
Kylie Banks may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zumba Class Times:
Tuesday: 6:40 to 7:40 p.m.
Thursday: 12 to 1 p.m.
Friday: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Wellness Center Room B (Second floor)