From the fad-workout phenomenon of the last 20 years has emerged a glowing winner with few downfalls: Zumba. A Latin dance-inspired fitness program, Zumba appeals to a broad range of athletes who enjoy workouts that make it easy to forget the work portion. Zumba’s choreography blends hip-hop, soca, samba, mambo, martial arts, salsa, merengue, and some Bollywood and belly dance moves depending on which awesome Boston studio’s class you hit. Check out these, Boston’s best, for a heart-pumping workout you’ll look forward to every time.
Zumba With Jess
16 Bow Street/The Dance Union
Somerville, MA 02144
Price: $12 per class/$100 for a 10-session class card
Jess Perkins, a personal trainer and fitness instructor who quit personal training for the fun of group classes, discovered Zumba and never looked back. In addition to standard Zumba, she also teaches Zumba toning weekly using light-weight, maraca-like toning sticks. She’s even organized charity Zumbathons for dementia giving back and bringing her athletes together with Zumba for a cause anybody could dance behind. Classes max out at 40 people, so get your name on that list quickly.
52 New St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Price: $29.95 per month membership for all fitness classes
Zumba at Evolve is taught by 20 instructors, so it’s a take-your-pick plethora of Zumba here. In fact, the activity has been so popular at both Evolve studios, one in Framingham as well as the Cambridge one, in the five years it has been offered, that group exercise manager Jennifer Ward not only added instructors and classes, but instituted a ticket system to limit classes to 50 people. She praised each class for being as good as the studio’s amazing instructor, adding that each class evolves its own style over time. Instructors include national champion flamenco, merengue and salsa dancers, and the club itself was featured on NBC’s “Losing It With Jillian Michaels.”
Gold’s Gym Natick
321 Speen St.
Natick, MA 01760
Price: $45 per month for gym membership, $15 per person for private Zumba parties with $25 administration fee
Gold’s offers more than 20 Zumba classes per week at its Natick, Ashland, Marlborough and Millis facilities, with Maria Gentile Vachon as group fitness director and aerobics director, and Heidi Manago at the Natick facility exclusively. Manago said clients love Zumba’s universal appeal, using steps anyone can follow. She follows the Zumba protocol, going through a certification to be part of the official Zumba.com organization. Manago, who teaches almost every fitness class except yoga and Pilates, said interest in Zumba will only continue to grow as more athletes realize its potential as a great cardio workout.
Zumba with Danielle Roberts
Kick Karate Studio,
21 Calller St.
Peabody, MA 01960
Parish Hall of All Saints Episcopal Church, Stoneham
79 Central St.
Stoneham, MA 02180
Price: $10 per class, $80 for a 10-class package
Danielle Roberts, a former dancer, took her first Zumba class at Gold’s Gym in Medford and said she fell in love. She praised its versatility, and offers traditional Zumba classes as well as those for toning in the Peabody studio, using weights and toning sticks. Her Zumba uses lots of salsa and merengue music. Classes are held for 15 and 20 students in Peabody, and 25 to 30 at the larger Stoneham space.
The Studio: A Dance Center for Adults
1404 Beacon St.
Brookline, MA 02446
While most dance studios focus their attention on children and teens, offering the occasional adult class, this one understands adults’ busy shedules and specific needs. Adults of Boston are loving dancing of all kinds here these days, from ballet and tap to Zumba. Its Zumba is a high-intensity dance workout, designed to tone and sculpt bodies while burning fat. Instructors incorporate African and Korean pop music, and other international music in their Zumba workouts.
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Julie Hatfield was an award-winning staff reporter with The Boston Globe for 22 years, before that a reporter for Women’s Wear Daily in New York and currently, a freelance travel writer for the Globe, several other newspapers, websites and magazines. She is an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.