Zumba is an aerobic workout that features Latin music and dance moves. According to www.zumba.com/us, the Zumba® program is being taught at over 140,000 locations in 150 countries and has sold millions of DVDs. Go to the site to watch instructors perform and to find classes near you. (When I typed in my address, it gave me the location of 625 classes within 25 miles of my home.)
Apparently, the Zumba® craze started in 2001 when Alberto "Beto" Perez, a fitness instructor in Cali, Colombia, rushed off to teach an aerobics class and forget his usual music. He decided to improvise with his own music collection which was mostly salsa and merengue music. He created Zumba® on the spot that day by teaching a kind of dance-fitness workout that everyone loved.
He came to Miami in 2001 and linked up with two entrepreneus and fellow Colombians named Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion. The three formed an alliance called Zumba® Fitness, produced DVDs and an informercial, and it caught on. Before long, it had spread across the country. In 2005, Zumba Fitness began to license Zumba instructors and the expansion continued. In 2008, the Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation System CD became a best-seller.
The company calls their history a "happy accident" that somehow became a worldwide phenomenon.
There is nothing New Age about this fitness program. It's rigorous, upbeat and fun - and I wholeheartedly endorse it!
Addendum: A staff member here at WOG said that she was uncomfortable with some of the more seductive movements associated with Zumba. If your instructor incorporates moves of this nature that make you feel uncomfortable, quit and sign up for a good old-fashioned aerobics class. You'll get just as good a workout!