Celebrity fitness trainer, "Beto" Perez, stumbled upon the concept of Latin inspired fitness in his native country of Colombia (South America) in the mid 1990's. One day, he walked into his class and realized that he had forgotten his aerobics music, and his only option was to grab whatever tapes he had in his car. Beto's tapes were comprised of the songs that he loved, the traditional Latin salsa and merengue music with which he had been raised.

But it was a challenge to improvise a whole class on the spot using non-traditional aerobics music. Beto rose to the challenge and from this last-minute improvisation was born a revolutionary fitness program - Zumba®! The class soon became the most popular class at his fitness facility.

1999 - Following his success in Colombia, Beto decided to come to the United States and began teaching Zumba classes in Miami. His classes once again became very popular and word spread quickly of this new and fun fitness offering. Soon thereafter, he was approached by entrepreneurs Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion to create a global company based on the Zumba Fitness philosophy. 



The Dominican Republic is usually credited as the origin of Merengue although Haiti and Santo Domingo fall in that category as well. It is faster paced rhythm. Common instruments are congo drums, accordion, and guiro. The most common move for the Merengue is the "basic march".


Salsa is a blend of many Carribean cultures and strongly influenced by Cuba, but made popular in New York and Florida as it is known today. Salsa had a very distinct beat and is usually a faster tempo.


The Cumbia is known as a rhythm from Columbia, South America, but holds influences from Africa and Europe. Cumbia is often associated with a tropical or creole flavour to the music.


Reggaeton has Jamaican influences and was made popular in Puerto Rico and Panama. The music contains a heavy bass drum beat, with a primary instrument being a Reggae style drum. The most common move is the "ZUMBA hit" otherwise known as "crumping".


Currently known as the rhythm from Andalusia in southern Spain with influences from Gypsy, Muslim and Jewish cultures. Flamenco is known for the sounds of hand clapping, finger snapping, tongue clicking, knuckle gashing, etc... In ZUMBA, some of the moves are related to the "picking of the grapes" for wine production. Much attitude is projected in the upper body movements.


Samba originates in Brazil. Samba is known for its sexy hip moving moves.  It was and is danced as a festival dance during the street festivals and celebrations. First introduced in the U.S. in a Broadway play called "Street Carnival" in the late twenties. The festive style and mood of the dance has kept it alive and popular to this day. Samba is a fun dance that fits most of today's popular music.