BOYERTOWN - Zumba. Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably know it's the newest fitness craze in a nation filled with fitness fanatics.
But have you ever thought about how many people can Zumba together at once? Probably not, but that's the question organizers of this year's Boyertown Relay for Life want to answer. And they want you to help them by coming out and 'Zumba-ing,' too!
On Saturday, June 23 from 11 a.m. to noon, Zumba will be the order of the day at the Boyertown Area High School football stadium where Tasha Whitmore from Boyertown's Strength in Motion studio will lead a Zumba 'mega-class' in an attempt to break the world record.
The current record, which stands at 2,012, was set on June 11, 2010 ,in Twickenham in the United Kingdom. Relay organizers want to exceed that number and make it into the Guinness Book of World Records, a goal for which Relay for Life Chairman Jim Davidheiser has a lot of optimism.
'We think we have a serious shot at breaking the record, but, regardless, we're just excited about people coming out and having fun, doing Zumba and joining us for Relay.'
Davidheiser emphasized you don't have to be an expert in doing Zumba and you don't have to be a Relay participant. 'You just have to come out and stay on the field for an hour and have fun,' he said.
Zumba, an energetic combination of dance and aerobic exercise, was originally created by Colombian choreographer Beto Perez. The easy-to-follow dance moves tone muscles and burn calories, while the music – a combination of salsa, meringue and reggae – so invigorates that people tend to forget they're exercising. And that seems to be the key to Zumba's success.
'I do it three to four times a week,' says Zumba Relay organizer Ashley Solazzo, an admitted Zumba addict. Solazzo, who walks with the Living for Jess Relay team, suggested the mega-class, thus combining her love of Zumba with her love for Relay.
'My boyfriend came up with the idea,' Solazzo said. 'He said, 'why don't you try to beat the Guinness Book of World Records?' So I suggested it to Jim , and he thought it was a great idea. And now we're going to try to do it.'
Solazzo will spend this year as she did last, walking for those who have suffered the ravages of cancer. 'Jess Pasquarello, my best friend, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 20. We got involved with Relay when we went to New Hampshire (where Jess went to college) to walk with her, and after that I decided to get involved here at home.'
Sadly, Pasquarello, a 2002 Boyertown Area High School graduate, died before she could see her friend walk in Boyertown's Relay. But Solazzo continues to walk in her honor and has become a key participant in Relay activities.
The Boyertown Relay for Life is set for June 23 at 10 a.m. and continues until June 24 at 10 a.m. at the Boyertown High School football stadium. For more information on the Zumba-thon or Relay for Life, contact Jim Davidheiser at 610-636-8083 or Ashley Solazzo at firstname.lastname@example.org.