Zimbabwe has in the last five years witnessed the emergence of different musical genres that have taken centre stage with music fans. That trend has seen genres like rumba fizzling out while others like sungura continue to claim their space in the industry. Sungura has resonated strongly with the public that it has woven itself into the fibres of culture. In the same breath, Zumba, a fitness dance movement, has taken on a cultural significance in Zimbabwe.It has become synonymous with nearly every fitness centre that uses aerobics.
When Zumba was launched some five years ago, the genre tapped into several emerging trends that together created the right conditions for it.
It also increased the Latino influence on local mainstream culture and the growing awareness of keeping fit through exercising.
It is for this reason that the Zumba fitness dance movement has found favour with a lot of fitness enthusiasts.
A local fitness enthusiast who runs Active Gym in Borrowdale, Ms Debbie Peters, said the Zumba dance movement classes had become popular with people keen on losing weight.
The classes, says Ms Peters, are usually subscribed by music lovers who want to combine dance and music while exercising.
“(The) Zumba dance movement has established authentic relevance and deeper emotional connections with fitness enthusiasts. In fact the connection between people to music through the Zumba dance movement and their quest to tone down and remain fit is so strong that the line between the two worlds has become blurred,” she said.
Although the Zumba dance was first introduced in the United States in Miami in 1999, the Latin-inspired dance class originated in Colombia more than a decade earlier.
Zumba, dubbed “dance party”, grew from an improvised dance class in a Colombian aerobics studio in the 1980s to become a widespread exercise phenomenon with more than 10 million regular participants as of 2010.
In Zimbabwe, the phenomenon started around 2012 and has since grown.
Peters says since then Zumba dance classes have become rallying cry in most fitness centres in and around Harare.