Living the Zumba life in Iowa


Dance to your heart’s content to the sounds of cheerful music while exercising and getting healthier? Check! Getting instructions from licensed Zumba Educational Specialist? Check! Fun and safe environment, where everyone feels welcomed? Check!

Thanks to Cristina Rodriguez now Iowa has a Zumba Education Specialist who is not just an instructor, but a trainer that can help people to become licensed Zumba instructors. Cristina Rodriguez is originally from Puerto Rico, she came to Iowa 16 years ago to study architecture. After school she found a job, got married and stayed here. Now she teaches Zumba.

“Zumba Fitness is an exercise and dance program that was inspired in Latin music,” Ms. Rodriguez explained. “It also incorporates music from all over the world.”


Ms. Rodriguez tells us that Zumba was founded in 2001 by Beto Perez, who is from Cali, Colombia, Alberto Perlman who also comes from Colombia and Alberto Aghion. In essence, Zumba is a Latino Fitness class.

Interesting Fact about Zumba: Beto Perez is known dancer and choreographer. Originally it was called Rumbacize. The choreography includes Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia and Reggaeton in it core combined with international music and fitness elements.

In order to instruct people in Zumba, one has to get licensed to teach movements to others in a safe way.


“I was first licensed in 2011,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “I took basic training and since then I am a Zumba instructor and I belong to, what we call, ZIN Network, Zumba Instructor Network.”

It means that she is a legitimate instructor who can teach the Zumba fitness format to others. In January of this year she went to Miami, FL to get more training and where she got a chance to meet Beto Perez, the founder of Zumba.


But before her training in Miami, she told us that last year there was a call to bring a Zumba master trainer to Iowa. Ms Rodriguez applied and send her videos instructing Zumba classes and after some deliberating she was given the position of ZES or Zumba Educational Specialist. She is the only one in Iowa with this title.

“There are only 167 positions like this in the world,” Ms. Rodriguez stated. “Zumba is in 180 countries.”


Interesting Fact about Zumba: It is believed that around 15 million people take weekly Zumba classes in about 200,000 locations in the world.

With her ZES title in hand, Cristina Rodriguez plans to go to different parts of Iowa promoting Zumba and teaching aspiring Zumba instructors.

“I want to try to get to small towns and big cities [in Iowa],” Ms. Rodriguez explained her plans. “to people who are interested, but not willing to travel for training in Chicago or Minnesota. [Now] they can attend here in Iowa.”

She also added that she is there to help and support everyone who is interested in Zumba. She is open to answer questions and go to people’s events and activities.

“My goal is to promote Zumba,” Cristina Rodriguez stated. “Go to the places where they have never had a training before. And I also have another specific goal and that is to reach out to the Latino community.”

If there is enough need in a near future she is hoping to offer Zumba classes in Spanish as well.

Zumba Education Specialist Cristina Rodriguez is very passionate about Zumba and she told us that one day she wishes to work as trainer full time. There are many people who already know and love Zumba, but for those who are just starting out Mr. Rodriguez gave the following advice:

“If you like it, take it step by step. Start with the basics. Do some moves. Do it with the music and feel it because the idea of Zumba is that it is a fun exercise which foster a sense of community. In addition to physical, the benefits are also mental. One can relax and have a good time.”

According to Ms. Rodriguez, once people start doing Zumba, with practice, they can maximize their exercise level and lose some weight as well.

“It works to lose weight. You just don’t notice that you are exercising,” Cristina Rodriguez assured.

Interesting Fact about Zumba: During one Zumba class and depending on how much energy the person is putting out, one can burn up to 600 calories.

She added that Zumba is something everyone can do, including active older adults.

“The class I teach it is attended by people of different cultures and ages,” she explained.

Ms. Rodriguez also said that Zumba has a lot to offer, including classes for kids (Zumba® Kids), aquatic programs (Aqua Zumba®), classes for active older adults ( Zumba® Gold) and more.

Interesting Fact about Zumba® Gold: It is believed that  Zumba ® Gold classes are safe for elderly people. Advocates of Zumba programs assure that some classes that are designed specifically for older people can help them to build strength and even improve motion and posture. It also a great way to socialize and meet new people.

Zumba offers so much more than just a way to lose a couple of pounds. If you are interested to know more about Zumba check out her website at And in the state of Iowa, Zumba Educational Specialist  Cristina Rodriguez is available to come to any event to help you learn more about the program and everything it has to offer. For more information go to or send her an email to [email protected]

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