By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
“Ditch the workout, join the party,” is the motto Zumba’s official Web site boasts. If its motto doesn’t sound exciting enough, just move on to the meaning of the word itself. The word “Zumba” is actually derived from a Columbian word that translates to “fast moving.”
Zumba will be making its way to the recreation center in February. Rec center employee Ronna Stump was excited to announce those interested are urged to sign up at the rec center right away.
“We are starting sign ups now,” Stump said. “Our sessions will be Tuesday and Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. here at the recreation center, starting Feb. 2. They can sign up as late as Feb. 2, or even afterwards if they would like.”
Zumba is no stranger to Southwest Kansas, Stump said. It is so much fun, she added, participants have a difficult time remembering they are actually exercising.
“It has been here in Liberal at least for the last couple of years,” Stump said. “Mona Arredondo will be the instructor. A lot of people love it and have a great time with it. We had a class last fall, and Mona will come and start a new class this year.
“It goes for six weeks and the cost is $30,” she explained. “Mainly it is for adults. Although, (Arredondo) is working on her certification to teach the kids. I would love that because she could teach them in an after school program. That is in the works.”
Arredondo explained Zumba originated when Columbian celebrity fitness trainer, Alberto “Beto” Perez, accidentally discovered the concept in the mid ’90s.
“It comes from a South American dance instructor that came over to the states,” Arredondo said. “He was in a little studio on the east coast. One day he was going to do an aerobic class, and he wasn’t able to do the class because he didn’t have his music. He did have music in his car. So, what he did was brought the music that he listened to and he just started dancing and he called it Zumba.
“There are four different types of dances that make up Zumba,” she explained. “There is cumbia, merengue, salsa and rhythm and blues. That is where Zumba came from and it has gotten very big. From that, there is an exercise program.”
Arredondo, like Stump, is excited to offer the Zumba phenomenon to local children.
“There is what is called, ‘Kids Zumba,’ but we have to do some more research,” Arredondo said. “I was talking to Ronna about that, too. I have to get certified in that, but it is just another class that I need to take which probably will be taken out of Oklahoma City.”
Zumba is gaining ground, Arredondo said. She added the concept is all about having a great time – and the weight loss is a benefit that does not hurt Zumba’s popularity.
“It is definitely growing,” she said. “It is a good weight loss program, and you have fun. That is what it is about, having fun. No one does it right or wrong. It is just about going in there and having a good time – and losing some weight.”
Arredondo would like to keep her classes fairly simple so all involved feel comfortable participating.
“I know that people are intimidated by advanced classes,” she said. “So, my class is going to be pretty intermediate, or beginners to intermediate. I am going to learn as an instructor, and hopefully I can just teach people to just have some fun.”
For further information regarding the Zumba classes beginning Feb. 2, call the rec center at 626-0133.