A star-studded stage, a sea of dancers moving to the music, and a sold out venue -- this is no typical concert, it’s Zumba.
The 2012 Zumba Instructor Convention, held earlier this month in Florida, once again hosted big names from the Latin music industry looking to make their music part of the popular dance-fitness program.
The Zumba “craze” that’s spread to more than 140,000 locations and 150 countries worldwide since its launch in 2001, according to the company, was born after Colombian fitness instructor Alberto “Beto” Perez forgot the aerobics music for his class and improvised the workout session with salsa and merengue tapes. In 1999, Beto immigrated to Miami to look for his big break with Zumba.
Thirteen years later, the success of the fitness-dance program is luring celebrities and their music. Performing at this year’s convention’s were Daddy Yankee, Vanilla Ice, Lil Jon and Mexican pop star Paulina Rubio, who debuted her new single “All Around The World” during the “Fitness-Concert.”
“The message, the vibe, the energy… Zumba and I are a fit,” Rubio told Latina magazine about her new partnership with Zumba. “Tonight is the perfect night to debut the single because it’s all about enthusiasm. It’s all about energy, and about reaching people from all around the globe. Zumba does that and so does my music. That’s why we’re here tonight.”
But it’s not only artists who see this new medium as a means of promoting music to a worldwide audience.
“With a rich history in leading the pack, the brand has once again defied all the odds and broken all the rules by bringing together a seemingly mismatched team including the likes of Latin mega-stars Paulina Rubio and Daddy Yankee, along with the iconic Vanilla Ice, to create not only the next generation in fitness, but an entirely new platform for both artist and consumer,” Joshua Estrin wrote in a Huffington Post blog.
This new “platform” attracted Pitbull and Wyclef Jean for last year’s convention concert in front of 7,000 Zumba instructors dancing in sync. Mr. 305, like Wyclef, recorded a song exclusively for the fitness program. (Watch both artists’ videos below.)
"The way Zumba has done it is taken all those things that maybe we've all learned from different countries and put it into a form where it's global now," Pitbull told MTV News during the 2011 convention. "Same thing we've done with music, so that's why I think they both ride parallel and they coincide."
And it seems that Daddy Yankee also sees the similarities in Zumba and his music.
“In terms of my career, Zumba is a great platform because my music is a lot of rhythm and in order to do Zumba you need a lot of rhythm,” the Puerto Rican reggaeton artist told Latina magazine during this year’s convention. “So it’s a great partnership right there, Daddy Yankee and Zumba."
Perhaps Rubio and Daddy Yankee were compelled to enter the movement when fellow Latino artist Don Omar, after releasing a Zumba version of his single “Danza Kaduro,” commented on how the fitness program can help artists gain mainstream success across the globe.
"I see it like, I'm gonna have 12 million hits weekly if I post a song with this new project," Don Omar told Billboard in April. "I think it is a great moment for me and for all the artists out there to start to look into these kinds of platforms to promote their music, because it is the business of the future."
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article had the artist's name incorrectly written as Jean Wyclef.
Watch these artists' music inspire Zumba workouts: