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Health and Fitness Events



8 October 2010

For many of us, dancing in public is something that only takes place after a stiff drink and under the cover of the darkness in a nightclub, writes Emma Ailes...

But with Strictly Come Dancing back on the box this month, even the hardiest of non-dancers can start to feel a little footloose.

If the Foxtrot or Cha Cha Cha are a little beyond you, a dance fitness craze called Zumba, that has landed in Dulwich all the way from Columbia, could be the answer. Apparently even Ann Widdecombe could master it.

Loosely based on Samba moves, Zumba is described as a sort of fitness party. It was created by Columbian fitness trainer "Beto" Perez, who stumbled upon the concept of Latin-inspired dance-fitness in the mid-‘90s.

One day, he walked into his aerobics class and realised he had forgotten his aerobics music. He quickly grabbed whatever tapes he had in his backpack - a mixture of traditional Latin salsa and merengue. Improvising on the spot, Beto led the class and Zumba was born.

Over a decade on, Zumba is a global trademarked brand, but local instructor Kathy Yvanovic reassures that this is nothing to be intimidated by.

“I teach it like an easy dance fitness class. We do a warm up and and learn easy moves,” Kathy says.
“The wonderful thing is that you can go wrong and it doesn’t matter. We have people with two left feet and people who do ‘dad dancing’.

“It’s dance steps of Samba to real Samba music as opposed to an aerobics class. We play American Rock and Roll, Bollywood and other things too. There’s a real party atmosphere”

Kathy even plans to invite live drummers to the class, to add to the carnival atmosphere, and suggests coming in summer clothes and flat shoes, rather than the usual gym kit.

“It sounds a bit silly,” says Kathy (pictured), “ but just putting your hands in the air and clapping can really help people start to lose their inhibitions. And it’s great exercise.”

Zumba dance fitness-Party Classes, St. Barnabas Parish Hall, 23 Dulwich Village, Thursdays 6.30pm, £8. Men and women welcome.

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