The Zumba Industrial Complex
1:30 pm, September 14th | by Sarah Devlin
So my neighborhood gym offers a ton of classes that run the gamut from yoga to spinning to kickboxing. I wasn’t much of a group fitness person (I prefer to run, alone, very slowly over very short distances) but I just signed up and I like going to yoga class, so I figured I would try everything at least once, which is how I ended up in a Zumba class on a Thursday evening with a bunch of very friendly middle-aged ladies, a handful of other nervous-looking girls in their twenties, and an older Asian man who was not there to make friends; just there to crush some choreography.
Does everyone know what goes on in a Zumba class? It’s humiliating. But people really love it, and I can see why — it’s a lot of fun, if it’s not too psychically wounding for you to see yourself doing some pretty awkward-looking stuff in the mirror for an hour. I found myself toward the end of the class picking out the lyrics in one of the generically “Latin” pop songs that was playing, in which the singer repeatedly said the word “Zumba” — as in, the class. As in, there is music that is recorded and distributed specifically for Zumba classes, even though there are plenty of already-made bangers on top 40 radio that would do just fine.
I knew that Zumba was merchandised to within an inch of its life (fitting for a type of class that feels so gloriously nineties, from the Latin pop obsession to the neon color palette of all the branded merch), but I had no idea it went so deep. I went on the website to see what other Zumba gear was available, and…I’ve seen things I can’t un-see. Check it out.
[All images via Zumba.com, whose background template almost certainly has the word "FUEGO" in there somewhere]