The Zumba Phenomenon: A timeline

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Dreamed up by Beto Perez, a Columbian dance teacher who arrived in the United States in 1999 with little money and no English, Zumba Fitness has become an international phenomenon.

It is America’s fastest-growing fitness trend, spawning more than 20,000 instructors. Over 6 million people regularly participate in classes at 50,000 different locations in some 75 different countries and it has just been incorporated into Michelle Obama’s Get Moving campaign. Later this year, a giant Zumba class is to be given on the White House lawn. Here, we take a look at its amazing growth.


After initial success as a trainer in Colombia, Beto Perez moves to the United States.


Perez is approached by aspiring entrepreneurs Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion to create a global company based on his fitness philosophy.

“We met in Starbucks,” jokes Perez of the encounter. “I said, ‘What do you have? Money?’ They said, ‘No, nothing.’ That’s when I knew I could trust them.”


Perlman and Aghion secure a deal with an infomercial company. Their initial success prompts a demand for more Zumba instructors, so they create an instructor training program.


Zumba Fitness agree a deal with Kellogg’s to develop a fitness campaign for the Hispanic market, which expands rapidly. The Zumba program is been featured on millions of boxes of Kellogg's Special K around the world.


Zumba Fitness expand their infomercial campaign in Spanish, increasing sales to millions of DVDs in over 30 countries.


The Zumba Academy, is born, staffed by professional choreographers, fitness experts and education specialists.


Zumba expands globally, launching programmes in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.


The arrival of Zumba to Virgin Active in the UK is met with waiting lists and record-breaking attendance at local clubs. The arrival of Beto Perez in the UK causes crowds of hundred to converge on Virgin Active, queuing for a class with the self-styled “master”