newyorker: Susan Orlean tries the latest fitness craze: Zumba By the way, while you were sleeping, Zumba took over the world. This is not just my idle observation; according to, the fitness program’s official Web site, in the mere three years since Zumba launched internationally, it has spread to 110 countries, offering classes in 90,000 locations. About 89,999 of the locations seem to be within walking distance of my house. In fact, in these dreary economic times, the one growth industry in upstate New York seems to be Zumba. There hardly seems to be a gym, a community center, a town hall, or an empty warehouse that doesn’t offer a Zumba class a few days a week. What is it? Basically, even though the press material describes it as a “revolutionary new fitness concept” and “the single most influential movement in the industry of fitness,” Zumba is really just an hour-long dance party to Latin music. Nothing wrong with that, of course—dancing for an hour is great aerobic exercise, plus it has the additional virtue of not seeming like exercise, which is what drives all great workout crazes (see, to wit, Jazzercise, Cardio Salsa, et al.). Susan’s reaction to her first class. Check this! ;)