Zumba work out trend sweeps Manchester

By Katie Thistleton

A new work-out craze which has swept the nation has come to Manchester and is proving popular.

Fitness freaks and coach potatoes alike are flocking to Manchester gyms and leisure centers to get fit for summer in a new and exciting way – Zumba dance.

The latin-inspired dance fitness programme was created in the 1990s by Columbian dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez, and since then its popularity has spread across the globe.

Joanne Thompson, aged 34, recently started attending a weekly Zumba class.

“I was reluctant to go when a friend recommended it to me. I was worried I would look stupid, shaking my body around with a load of young girls about!” She said.

“Then I realised that people of all ages, shapes and sizes go to the classes, and everyone feels as stupid as each other at first!”

Joanne isn’t alone, in fact people from all over Manchester have joined the classes, which combine dance with aerobics, incorporating hip-hop, samba, salsa, mambo and even some Bollywood and belly dance moves.

Stacey Davies who has become a regular fixture at her local Manchester Zumba class, said: “I didn’t used to like working out. Zumba made me enjoy it, the music makes you want to move, it’s so much fun and everyone has a laugh.”

“Afterwards you feel refreshed, like you’ve worked every muscle in your body!”

Donahey’s dance company, who hold Zumba classes all over Manchester, claim that just one of their sessions will burn 650-1000 calories.

The trend has even caught on in the gaming world, with the introduction of new Nintendo Wii game Zumba Fitness, which allows fans to continue dancing in their own home. 

Manchester-based Zumba fitness instructor Becky Maughan has been teaching the workout since February 2010.

“I really saw the popularity of Zumba in Manchester take off in January this year,” she said.

“After Christmas it seemed that everyone was looking for a fun way to get back into exercise and Zumba fitted that bill.”

“Everyone was talking about it and word of mouth was the best advertiser, everyone seemed to be talking about Zumba on Facebook!”

Over 1 million people are part of the ‘Zumba’ Facebook page, and there are various social networking groups and websites dedicated to the new fitness regime where fans regular post comments after a class.

“I think people like it because it truly is exercise in disguise,” said Becky, “The music is infectious and with all the international rhythms used it feels like you’re on a holiday – apart from the sports hall surroundings!”

“Zumba makes me feel incredibly happy, everyone in class has a smile on their face and are enjoying themselves and that is what exercise should be about.”

For more information about Becky’s classes and to join in the fun, visit




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