Zumba and hula to aide a nation
By Monifa O. Barker
Students and alumni came out Thursday October 18th to support the Global Medical Brigades’ Zumba and Hot Hula dancing fundraiser. Admission was five dollars at the door for a fun two and half hour workout. Located on the second floor of the West Quad’s spacious dance studio, Zumba and Hot Hula dancing are dance-aerobic workouts consisting of choreographed dance ensembles that derive from Latin and Polynesian culture. Zumba dancing was originally created in the mid-90s by Columbian choreographer and aerobics instructor Alberto “Beto” Perez. The savvy fitness instructor coined Zumba dancing out of improvisation one day; when he realized that he accidently forgot his traditional aerobics tapes at home in a hurry to teach a class. In the spur of the moment, Perez used the only tapes that he had in his car which consisted of music that he grew up listening to like Salsa and Meringue. The “accident” spawned a successful outcome and later raggaeton, hip- hop, soca and a variety of other music genres; were incorporated into the Zumba dance aerobics routine.
In 2001 Alberto Perez took his new found style of dance aerobics to Miami, Florida. There he was introduced by a student to entrepreneurs; Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion. Together, the three men established a business called Zumba fitness. From there, they branded the name Zumba and proceeded to expand the commerce world-wide through infomercials and Zumba DVDs. Shortly thereafter, the need for Zumba classes and instructors were in high demand. By year 2005, the Zumba fitness movement generated a full-grown Zumba academy that licensed Zumba instructors to teach Zumba dance- aerobics classes. Hot Hula on the other hand is a relatively young dance workout. Founded in 2009, the blueprint for Hot Hula was formed by Samoan New Zealander; Anna-Rita Sloss.
Driven by her need for professional validation and the desire to lose weight after a failed marriage; Sloss took over as the interim instructor for Turbo Kick. Turbo Kick is a fitness class founded by Charlene Johnson, who is also close friend of Anna Rita Sloss. Sloss served as the interim instructor until Johnson’s return from maternity leave. Girded with experience acquired from serving as a substitute, Sloss went on to develop Hot Hula Fitness. She assimilated dances from pacific islands into the workout plan and paired it with a fusion of Polynesian drums and reggae music.
As of 2011 over a thousand classes per week has been added to the Hot Hula curriculum. Hula classes, instructors and DVDs are available worldwide. At Brooklyn College, Hot Hula and Zumba dance aerobics are choreographed by Daisy Bugarin (Zumba) and Emily Callejo (hula). Bugarin and Callejo, along with other BC students and alumni, utilize the proceedings of this fundraiser to provide medical aide and clean water to regions of underprivileged countries like Honduras and Nicaragua. Brooklyn College students like James Thomas expressed his love for the cause “I think it’s awesome, if I didn’t have to go to class I would stay” Thomas said.