Tuesday, 29 July 2014

An Interview with Zumba Creator, Beto Perez!

A couple of Fridays ago I was super lucky to have been invited to head down to the Excel Centre in London to attend the Zumba Instructor Academy which was in the UK that weekend. It's normally only open to qualified instructors so I felt really privileged when the email popped into my inbox, and promptly booked the day off of work to make sure that I could attend!
The day itself was absolutely amazing - with a masterclass which was led by the creator himself, Beto Perez, among heaps of other classes and workshops. Fortunately for you guys I also managed to sneak a cheeky interview with the main man, which I have made sure that I type up for you all so you can see what a lovely guy he is for yourself! :)

Q: So Zumba is now one of the biggest fitness brands in the world - did you ever imagine when you taught your first Zumba class that it would become what it is today?

A: Yes! It's my dream. What happened [when I forgot my music - which ultimately led to the creation of Zumba!] was an accident, but I see the reaction of the people and I say 'Wow!'.
I'm having a good time, they pay me for this, and I have girls around me - it's the perfect job! My passion for dance is so big, and this is the thing that I want to do for my whole life, but I know that I need to work hard, and I want to conquer the World so that everyone knows what [Zumba] is.
I started [teaching exercise classes] when I was very young - only 16 - I said 'OK, I don't want to spend time making the wrong decision', because sometimes when you are a teenager you go to college and you don't know what you want to do, but I didn't have this time. I said OK [dancing] is the thing that I want to do for my living and now I need to work hard.

Q: You discovered your passion for dancing when you were really young, how did you discover that you wanted to be a dancer?

A: When I was 6 or 7 years old I went with my mum to see the movie Grease with John Travolta, and when I saw this movie I was like 'Wow!' - for me this was my first musical and that was when I knew that I had a passion for dance. It's funny because I discovered my passion for dance through Rock & Roll and I love Rock & Roll!

Q: So which is your favourite song from Grease then?

A: Wow ermm... Dog, Dog. Dog.. Erm... *lots of long pauses as he thinks* I put the song in one of the Zins! (Zumba music tracks).
*Beto then preceeds to spend he next few minutes trying to sing and explain it to me, while a lovely lady (whose name escapes me, sorry!) searches for the Grease soundtrack on her phone! We did get there eventually however, and it turns out it was Hound Dog by Elvis!*


Q: So Zumba has loads of variations now like Step, Sentato (sp?) Zumbabinis (sp?) - do you have a favourite out of them?

A: So Zumbabinis is for like babies, and then there are ones for little kids. But all of the programmes are special to me - they have a specialness to me because they are my creations you know? Like when I create something and then people follow, have passion and identify, change [their] lives, lose weight - it's amazing.

Q: What do you do when you're not doing Zumba?

A: I have my own studio in Miami where I teach Zumba,
For other exercise I [weight] train or I will lose weight from too much cardio. I need to maintain my muscle and I have a special diet too. I need to take care of myself all the time.

Q: My mum wanted me to ask you what sort of food she should be eating to keep healthy. Do you recommend anything?

A: The trick for me is no sugar and to drink a lot of water. I eat a lot of protein from meat and fish, then vegetables, water, brown rice, sweet potato - that's it! It's so boring but it's the only way for me.
We also have a programme called Zumba Gold which has a different beat and rhythm to normal Zumba. I recommend this for people who may not be as fit or who are older. It's still hard work out but we use different music!

Q: And one last question before I let you get back to the day - if you could describe Zumba in one word, what would it be?

A: Happiness.

And I can't fault him - Zumba is some of the best fun I've ever had while exercising. So much fun in fact that I am seriously considering becoming an Instructor! All of the people who I spoke to whilst I was at the Academy were so lovely and said that becoming an instructor was one of the best thing's that they've ever done, so if I do decide to take the plunge then I know that I will be in amazing company. :)

I just want to thank Zumba & See.Saw for inviting me to the Instructor Academy for the day. I had an amazing time and genuinely feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to interview a man who is an inspiration to so many people all around the world! I met people that day who have been waiting to even have a photo with Beto for five years, so for me to be able to have a one-on-one chat with him like that is beyond a privilege and is something that I will remember forever! :)
Not quite sure what move I was meant to be doing here, but lets roll with it anyway!

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