Alberto “Beto” Perez is the creative genius behind Zumba®, the fitness formula that has revolutionized the way millions of people think about exercise. Beto began as a fitness instructor in his home city of Cali, Colombia. One day, upon arriving to one of his classes, he realized he had left his traditional aerobics music at home. Improvising, he unpacked some salsa and merengue tapes from his backpack, popped them into the sound system, and taught his first Zumba class!
After a relatively successful career as a trainer and choreographer in Colombia, Beto decided to make the big move to the United States. Armed only with his personal charisma and unstoppable will power, he sold all his belongings and moved to Miami in search of the American Dream. He didn’t speak a word of English.
At first, Beto had a rough time settling into his new environment (he ran out of money and had to sleep in park for two nights!), but due to his relentless dedication, he managed to quickly surpass this period of hardship. After several months, his talent and magnetism landed him a job as an instructor at a prestigious local health club. Not surprisingly, with his catchy, danceable aerobic routines performed to the tune of upbeat Latin rhythms, Beto’s ZUMBA® class soon became the most popular at the gym – just like had occurred in his native Colombia! He also became renowned due to his sincere passion for making people enjoy their workout, consequently improving their lifestyles.
In 2001, his innovative style caught the attention of two entrepreneurs: Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion. Instinctively seeing Zumba’s enormous business potential, they wasted no time in teaming up with Beto to create Zumba Fitness, LLC. The three of them have since turned Zumba into a worldwide movement. Today, Zumba is one of the largest fitness programs in the world, with more than 3.5 million DVD’s sold, 4 million weekly class attendees, and some 25,000 Zumba Fitness instructors in over 40 countries. Beto recently came back from China, where he trained hundreds of new instructors in the Zumba philosophy – he says “I feel like Forrest Gump when he started running, I just started dancing, and everybody danced with me!“