When Beto Perez created the Zumba craze, it was with a sense of fun in mind, working on the theory that if you’re having fun, you’ll forget you’re exercising, just like when you hit the dance floor. In fact, in the introduction to his latest fitness video, Zumba – Get Your Fitness Party Started!, he clearing says: “It is about having fun and moving with the music.” Getting the steps wrong or having two left feet doesn’t matter. Just move with the music and enjoy yourself.
That ethos echoes throughout this comprehensive DVD workout and Beto’s friendly style of teaching and leading makes it extremely difficult not to have a good time.
The DVD menu offers three options, beginning with Step By Step, a 30-minute class to teach you the basic Zumba steps. Beto is joined by Juliana & Prescilla Satori to teach 7 basic Zumba moves, then increase the speed and complexity of each. Over the course of the half hour lesson, you’re taught variations of Merengue, Reggaeton, Cumbia, Salsa and Soca, all done to a great Latin American soundtrack. Beto does all the talking, giving very clear instructions and making the lessons both enjoyable and relatively easy – although absolute beginners may need to repeat one or two of the latter lessons to grasp the more complicated footwork.
The second menu option is Dance, Dance, Dance! which sees the same three presenters offer your first Zumba class. This time Beto’s instructions are a voiceover and having just three people on screen makes it easier to follow. Once again, the instructions are clear and encouraging, but knowledge of the basic steps is assumed. The trio lead a simple but energetic half-hour Zumba class suitable for both beginners and mid-level participants.
More seasoned Zumba accolytes should enjoy the third and final segment, Cardio Dance Party which is a 45 minute advanced class that will push the endurance of most punters. Trainer Kass Martin is joined by fellow instructors Steve and Ricardo to lead this dance party, with “Zumba Twins” Alessia and Tanya in the background to fill the dance floor. Cardio Dance Party is an intense and more complicated Zumba workout with each routine including a “super cardio burst” to burn extra calories. After the introduction, voiceovers provide the instructions while the on-screen crew burst with over-the-top exuberance that may make you roll your eyes, but will be infectious nonetheless. Their big smiles are contagious and realise the sense of fun that is at the core of Zumba.
Each of the three segments offer the option to have vocal instructions turned on or off. This is useful for the second two segments because it gives you the opportunity to just dance to the music once you’ve learned the routines. For the instructional Step By Step segment however, Beto talks you through each move, so turning the instructions off leaves you watching his mouth move without words coming out. An odd option to give.
It’s pleasing to see a home workout DVD that features as many men as it does women. With most home workout DVDs clearly targeted at a female audience, Zumba – Get Your Fitness Party Started! has wisely marketed itself to both genders with the pay off being that, once you hit play, it continues to appeal to both men and women. Even the instructional segment will burn plenty of calories and punters learn to losen up and dance while getting fit.
It’s easy to understand why the Zumba craze continues on a worldwide scale. It’s fun, beneficial and just a little bit crazy – and it’s all captured in this high-quality workout DVD that’s designed to be watched many many times before it wears thin… no pun intended.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 10
Zumba – Get Your Fitness Party Started! is out now on DVD.