A hybrid of Latin dance (cha cha, salsa, merengue), belly dance (bumping, grinding) and Reggaeton (fist pumping), Zumba has taken off with everyone from Greenwich private equity wives to those simply looking for an excuse to gyrate to Beyonce, Pitbull and Cascada. The workout was conceived ten years ago by trainer Beto Perez, but in recent months, its popularity has exploded. Equinox recently added Zumba to its roster of classes and in December 2010, there'll even be a Zumba Wii Fit game.
Addictive it is. Although I've had a lifelong aversion to exercise, I now take an hour-long Zumba class at a studio in Brooklyn four times a week -- and if I could squeeze more classes into my schedule, I would. My instructor, Shirley Catton (above), a dancer trained in ballet, tap and jazz, brings a whopping dollop of hip-hop to her sessions. (Her so-bad-it's-good musical oeuvre even extends to MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice.) As she likes to say, "It's really not exercise. It's a dance party."
On November 3, Catton will host a Michael Jackson-themed Zumba party. Participants are encouraged to dress in costume and afterwards, she's hosting a class trip to see This is It. Must get practicing on my moonwalk.