Zumba founder Beto Perez leads dance party at Navy Pier

BY SUE ONTIVEROS Staff Reporter

August 28, 2013 4:34PM

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Updated: September 30, 2013 6:48AM

If there’s one thing I am passionate about, it’s Zumba.

Exercising never has been so much fun. It’s hard not to want to move to the music, which includes Latin, African, reggaeton, pop, international, you name it. (At one of my classes, the instructor leaves us breathless with a pumped-up version of “Hava Nagila.”)

I take one of the cardio dance fitness classes three, sometimes four times a week. Oh yeah, I am hooked, but I’m not the only one. Celebrities including Trisha Yearwood, Shakira and One Direction have turned to Zumba to get in shape. Worldwide, some 14 million people in 185 countries take classes weekly, according to Zumba.com.

Hard-core Zumbanistas like me and newbies alike have heard of the awesome concerts that are part of the conventions held with Zumba instructors. With live music, big-name Zumba instructors and wild light shows, they’re touted as quite the fitness experience. Alas, they’ve always been closed to everyday people. Until now.

Zumba has teamed with Live Nation to present the first-ever public fitness concerts. Chicago will get two chances to be a part of the 90-minute fitness/live music extravaganzas. They’ll be held at 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday in Festival Hall B at Navy Pier 600 E. Grand. At the center of it all will be the king of Zumba, Beto Perez, one of its co-founders.

What to expect at the concert? Here’s what Perez said, via email, “It’s like going to your favorite concert but getting to dance along with your friends to amazing music and, as a result, burn a lot of calories.”

The public concerts are only going to be in Chicago and Columbus, Ohio (Sept. 1). One reason the two cities were chosen as sites is their strong Zumba following.

Tickets start at $40. For more information, visit zumba.com/en-US/fitnessconcert

Email: sontiveros@suntimes.com

Twitter: @sueontiveros

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