The Zumba craze has hit the northeast Bronx.
On Wednesday, July 27, Waterbury Park hosted the area’s first outdoor Zumba fitness class, called Zumba Under the Stars.
The class was organized by Country Club resident and owner of the Throggs Neck’s Curves for Women gym, Patricia Gallo. Curves, a national franchise, has been emphasizing Zumba as a weight loss tool over the past year.
Gallo was completely on board, but she felt her location was too small to host a Zumba class. That’s when she chose Waterbury Park. Wednesday’s class was a trial run, but she is planning on holding weekly classes there throughout the summer.
“I don’t have a lot of room here, (at Curves on Bruckner and Waterbury) so I said ‘let’s try the park,’” she said. “I did a parks application for Waterbury Park and it was approved. So we’ll see what happens.”
Zumba is a dance-exercise hybrid program, that combines Latin rhythms with aerobic workout moves. It was developed in the 1990s by Alberto Perez, a Colombian fitness instructor.
Over the past ten years, the trend has been picking up steam throughout the United States as a way for people to achieve their workout goals while having fun through with dance and music.
While it is a strenuous workout, pretty much any age person can Zumba. Gallo, 55, called the event a “Master Class.” It was co-taught by Zumba experts Leticia Emestica and Melissa Bowman, both of whom are regulars at the Throggs Neck Curves.
She took over the Curves in November, at a time when membership was dwindling.
“It was somewhat of a failing club,” Gallo said. “I guess because of the economy, but also because we’re governed by a franchise, we can’t compete with a $10 or $20-a–month gym memberships. We shouldn’t even be compared to that.”
The difference, she believes, is that Curves regulates its members’ workout habits.
“It’s more of a personal basis. We’re constantly on top of these women,” she said.
So Gallo thought by taking Zumba outdoors, and thus making it accessible to more people, she could expand her clientele. The first Zumba Under the Stars cost $15 per participant. Gallo eventually plans to sell the weekly classes in packages and turning them into multi-week classes.
She figured there was no better exercise to base the outdoor experience around than Zumba.
“It burns up more calories and you’re getting more cardio besides just your toning,” she said. “And the women seem to love it.”
Part of the proceeds from the first outdoor Zumba class went to the annual New York City Breast Cancer Walk.