Many dance crazes throughout the years have come and gone yet with a programme boasting over 12 million participants, Zumba looks as though it is set to stay. With classes taking place in over 110,000 locations in 125 countries it is clear that Zumba has taken the fitness, and possibly even dance world by storm.
Where does this leave dance? As a fitness regime, Zumba is renowned for its catchy beats and vigorous workouts but in some cases it is being marketed as a strand of the dance sector, which may or may not be accurate. Zumba Fitness emerged in the United Kingdom in 2001 as a global fitness phenomenon following its huge success in Columbia. Intense popularity demanded an increase in Zumba instructors, leading to the creation of an instructor training programme, placing Zumba in the same league as perhaps the Royal Academy of Dance. Can these two programmes be categorised in the same way? Should they be? The influx of Zumba throughout the world may insist that it is, having begun as an alternative fitness technique.
Zumba is without a doubt more accessible that the RAD and other dance training programmes. The easy-to-follow moves and international rhythms provide an intense workout, but there is no evidence whatsoever that may place Zumba on par with ‘pure’ dance. This is in no way diminishing the value of fitness schemes, quite the opposite, yet the dance styles utilised – such as Salsa, Hip-Hop, Tango and Ballroom – to increase excitement and energy levels may well end up sucked in to a light-hearted profession. As a result, this could have a harmful impact on the distinct formalities of alternative teaching practices which are in no way equals.