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Zumba is creating a new fan base for Latin stars

August 20, 2013 • Entertainment


FILE – This April 26, 2012 file photo shows Don Omar performing during the Latin Billboard Awards in Coral Gables, Fla. Zumba Fitness instructors worldwide are not only using the Latin-heavy song lineup in their classes but creating new fans for artists such as Pitbull, Daddy Yankee and Don Omar, all of whom have recorded songs for Zumba. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Zumba Fitness instructors worldwide are not only using a Latin-heavy song lineup in their classes, they’re also creating new fans for artists such as Pitbull, Daddy Yankee and Don Omar.

Omar’s “Zumba” has remained high on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart for nearly a year, peaking at No. 2. In Greece, Daddy Yankee’s “Limbo,” currently in the Top 10 on the Hot Latin Songs chart, is featured in a promotional video that has Greek Zumba instructors dancing to a Puerto Rican reggaeton beat in a beach setting.

“Daddy Yankee texted me five days ago and said, ‘I wanted you to know that ‘Limbo’ is as much your hit as it is my hit,’” said Zumba Fitness co-founder and CEO Alberto Perlman. “It was perfect for Zumba. When he showed it to us, he said, ‘I said Zumba nine times in the song and it’s because you guys have inspired me.’”

Zumba, a dance-based fitness program created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez in 2001, was born and is still based in South Florida. It has expanded worldwide, creating new fans of dance styles such as Perez’s native cumbia and new fans of Latin music.

Some 14 million people in 185 countries are now dancing and singing to the songs, smiling and sweating in Zumba classes and clamoring to buy the music.

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