People don’t have the opportunity to dance any more, except at weddings and occasional special events. That’s one reason why Zumba has become so successful – and why Marlborough’s first Zumba Movida Studio is being launched tonight (Friday).
The Latin-style dance fitness programme created by Colombian choreographer Albert “Beto” Perez is now practised by 14 million people round the globe, at more than 140,000 localities across more than 150 countries.
It took off in Marlborough almost three years ago with the arrival of Laurence Costantini – a woman otherwise known as Lau – who says she is one of the “wild bunch” born in the mountains of Corsica.
In fact she is a trained lawyer and 44-year-old mother of four children who left London with her Chilean husband seeking a town with good schools like St John’s and started Zumba classes in Marlborough that have grown and grown in size.
And they have so flourished that she had 120 people a week enjoying the rhythm of dancing and at the same time giving themselves an aerobic workout that costs just £6 a session, the initial class free to allcomers.
“I have always been a dancer, from jazz and jive to flamenco and salsa, I dance all my life,” she told Marlborough News Online. “A friend too me to a Zumba class in London five years ago when the craze started. And it works for everybody.
“You don’t stop to learn the dance. You are learning while you are doing it and enjoying the rhythm of getting fit at the same time.”
And Lau believes that the popularity of Zumba, even in a nation accused of being lazy when it comes to exercise, is because of the lack of chances to dance nowadays, especially for women aged 35 to 65.
“Nobody is dancing anymore,” she proclaimed. “It has become something rare. You dance at weddings and maybe once a year at a special event but there is no longer the opportunity to get on to a dance floor.
“That’s why TV programmes like Strictly Come Dancing are so popular and watched by millions. Zumba combines the pleasure of dancing with fitness and makes you feel you have done something good for yourself. And having fun.”
Her initial Zumba classes were daytime at Marlborough Football Club, starting with a handful of people, then following those with evening classes in St Peter’s School as more people joined in.
“People have been so warm and welcoming and showed such fantastic enthusiasm that I then had enough to keep the classes going. And lots of people who met in my classes have since become friends.”
So when the football club space became unavailable Lau found herself a site for a permanent Marlborough Movida Studio at the Foxfield Unit among the industrial buildings being refurbished in Elcot Park.
And they are being given a launch party tonight (Friday).
“Now I can comfortably accommodate 40 people in two classes a day, one morning, one evening six days a week and I have a Saturday morning session as well,” said Lau, who also teaches Zumba at East Grafton on Tuesdays.
Though it is mainly women who have joined, Lau includes men in her classes. “Three men are now coming very regularly with their wives and too love dancing,” she said. “And for them it is an important way to keep fit because men have less occasion than women to go to a studio in the daytime.”
She added: “I feel I am very lucky at what I am doing and being able to fit it in with looking after my children, who are aged 13, 11, eight and four.
“I am definitely surprised by the way Zumba has taken off in Marlborough, but then it has become a world trend now and it gives you a sense that you are part of something big – and also something that is part of the community.”
To contact Studio Movida go to www.zumba.com and enter Marlborough.