Updated: Tue, 05 Apr 2011 04:38:33 GMT | By AFP Relax news

Batuka, the new dance craze

Spanish fitness craze shimmies its way to international audience


AFP Photo Batuka

AFP Photo Batuka

(Relaxnews) - A new cardio-dance style emerging from Spain dubbed Batuka aims to get a leg up on top competitors such as Zumba by targeting fitness fans in other countries.

Similar to Zumba's Colombia-inspired moves,Batuka is a Latin-infused cardio workout with choreographed routines but with a zen-like approach.A hot trend in Spain in recent years, Batuka is the brainchild of Grammy Award-winning composer and producer Kike Santander, who has worked with Santana, Jennifer Lopez, and Marc Anthony, and also holds a medical degree.

He conceived the dance-cardio technique in 2005 while working with contestants on the Spanish American Idol spin-off Operation Triumph, "who were stressed, gaining weight, and not looking too good," Batuka chief marketing officer Phil Bonomo told Relaxnews on March 29. Santander composed a dance score and choreographed a routine, and then Batuka was born. After good success with the contestants on the show, he began selling a line of DVDs to the Spanish market, with 1.5 million copies sold and hundreds of Spanish clubs adding the style to their group fitness rosters.

Santander aims to spread the word on Batuka and just launched the style in the US two weeks ago at Los Angeles-based IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show. Bonomo says the company aims to gain a foothold in the US, often an early adopter of new fitness trends, and then expand to Europe next year with visits to FIBO and other top trade shows.

Santander has composed all of the music for the classes, currently more than 100 songs, and workshops are unrolling in the North America this fall to introduce gyms and fitness trainers to the choreographed routines. "The classes are seamless, with music and choreography for water breaks and meditation cool-downs," says Bonomo.

Another new cardio-rhythmic workout hoping to expand to other countries is Germany's Fit 4 Drums workout, which will be showcased at this year's FIBO in Germany. Led by an instructor, the class involves beating a specially designed drum with two sticks while grooving to a cardio workout.

Top fitness trade show FIBO will be held in Essen, Germany, April 14-17. Essen will welcome over 30,000 health industry professionals and an additional 20,000 individuals from 100 countries interested in overall health.

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