Immigrant of the week

Almost every gym out there offers Zumba classes! Whether it is a local YMCA or Zumba studio itself, the class is widespread across the nation. This week’s immigrant is a Colombian dancer and businessman named Alberto Pérez. Pérez is the founder of Zumba Fitness LLC, which certifies teachers, provides DVD classes, sells fitness clothing and other products. An incredible effect of Zumba is not only the feel-good workout offered but the exposure of Latin music. From Pitbull to Daddy Yankee, participants all around the world are learning about a huge part of Latin culture by dancing to the music.

Pérez was born in Cali, Colombia, in 1970 and was raised by a single mother. By the age of 14, he was working three jobs to support his family. Although he couldn’t afford dance lessons, he taught himself and, after winning a national competition, was accepted to one of Cali’s best dance academies to study. In 1999, Pérez immigrated to Miami, FL. In Miami, he first tested his idea of Zumba fitness and offered his class at Williams Island. By 2006, Zumba Fitness LLC was established and multiplied. Next time you go to the gym, think of Pérez!


— Contributed by Eden Siskind

Greg Siskind