A tour of the new headquarters began with the technology room. "It is huge for us," said Robins, a company spokeswoman. "We're an e-commerce business."
She continued with the music department, photo and video studios, legal department, accounting offices and, of course, a workout room for Zumba classes. Another room is filled with materials and designs for cargo pants, Z-top shoes, glow belts, party packs and other Zumba signature items. The popularity of its bold and bright colored apparel was evident at the rooftop parking lot class.
Zumba Fitness' success also stems from its ability to reach all ages. A few years ago Joy Prouty, 70, a former Rockette at Radio City Music Hall in New York, suggested classes geared for her generation. The result: Zumba Gold.
Aqua Zumba, called a "pool party," Zumba Toning and Zumbatomic for Kids followed.
For the first time, Zumba made the American College of Sports Medicine's top 10 Worldwide Fitness Trends, coming in at No. 9 in the 2012 survey. It is ahead of yoga, boot camp, outdoor activities and spinning.
"Zumba is kind of interesting," said Walter R. Thompson, professor of exercise science at Georgia State University and lead author of the trend survey. "It's been on the survey list for the past three years and never got any traction. At the urging of my Zumba instructor friends I left it on the survey list and lo and behold it's No. 9."
It's not clear yet if Zumba will have a long shelf life or be added to the long list of exercise fads, Thompson said. He will follow it to see if it stays on the world trend survey list for the next few years.
"I hope it stays around," Thompson said. "It's motivating a lot of people to exercise."
That was the case for Colombian Tatiana Ward, who attended Perez's Coral Gables rooftop class with her 67-year-old aunt. Ward said she lost 40 pounds with Zumba classes and now is an instructor who owns Cumbia Fitness in Keokuk, Iowa, pop. 6,000. "We only have three Hispanics in the whole town and Zumba is still huge there," Ward said. "The Latin rhythms are new to them and hypnotic. They love it. Love the energy. People of all size and ages come and feel welcome."
The high-calorie burning classes featured many dancing styles, including the mambo, tango, reggaeton, hip-hop and belly dancing.
Zumba Fitness arrived in Japan in March 2007. Instructor Mari Furukawa said by email that it's the most popular dance program in the country now, with about 2,000 instructors. She loves that the music does the talking, with the instructors not wearing headsets and verbally cueing the next moves as is the case in most group fitness classes.
In Capetown, South Africa, Franco Human leads Zumba classes six days a week. He said the positive energy from the class allows you to forget everything about your day. "I call it the Zumba buzz," he said.
Instructors in Sweden, New Zealand, Australia and Austria, picked randomly from the list on Zumba's website, also were equally enthusiastic about teaching Zumba classes.
Mansoor Galant, also an instructor from South Africa, said Zumba is "a workout in disguise."
Princess Cruises, always looking for new activities for its passengers, now offers Zumba classes on its entire fleet of 16 ships.
"We have a lot of passenger participation," said Karen Candy, a spokeswoman for the cruise line. "Zumba is all the craze. Sometimes there are classes of more than 200."
And Zumba's popularity continues to get bigger in South Florida. Three months ago, single mom and Zumba instructor Kristine Ingold, 27, opened her own business, Ingold Studios in Key Largo. "I cater to the locals and the tourists," she said. "I get calls from people coming from Wisconsin or Chicago who want to take my classes during their vacation. They find me on Zumba.com."
The company also has used its popularity for charitable causes. Zumbathons are drawing large numbers. Margo Lucero, vice president of business development and partnerships for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, said she was "shocked" that Zumbathons in 2010 raised $500,000 for the foundation.
"Their minimum guarantee to us was $16,000," Lucero said.
In 2011, the Zumba/Komen partnership continued, with nearly 3,000 "Party in Pink" Zumbathons held in 30 countries, raising nearly $1.1 million for the research, treatment and education of breast cancer. Nearly 4,000 people crammed inside the Alexandra Palace in London for one Zumbathon in which Wyclef Jean sang Historia.
"We want to create the ultimate platform for fundraising for charities," said Perlman, who serves on the board of the Soccer for Peace Foundation.
The biggest problem for Zumba these days is counterfeiting, piracy and protecting its trademark. "We are spending seven figures on fighting this," Perlman said. "Counterfeiting is crazy. We see illegal instructors all the time."
The founders are also spending a lot of their time on "what's next" for the company. A lofty goal is to reach 100 million participants. Perlman also envisions revolutionizing fitness concerts.
Zumba Fitness participated in three concerts last year with Miami-native Pitbull during his "Euphoria Tour." The relationship began when Perez choreographed the video to Pitbull's Pause.
"Imagine a concert where you can participate and be part of the show," Perlman said, "and where you can do something good for yourself."
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