[artist id="1678002"]Pitbull[/artist] and [artist id="1162"]Wyclef Jean[/artist] may have their roots in hip-hop, but through the years, both performers have garnered worldwide appeal and conquered multiple musical genres. Recently, both artists linked up with choreographer Alberto "Beto" Perez and contributed to his Latin dance-inspired Zumba fitness program.
"You see my stage shows, you see me flying through the air, backflips, doing all kinds of stuff. Zumba for me is natural, because it's exercising and dancing without feeling it," 'Clef told MTV News last week at the Zumba Fitness convention in Orlando, Florida.
Zumba was conceived by the Colombia-born Perez in the 1990s using dance to promote physical health. Combining musical elements like hip-hop, samba, salsa, meringue, mambo and even a bit of belly dancing, Perez's program has grown into one of the hottest fitness crazes in gyms across the world.
The Fugees producer partnered up with Zumba, and now his single "Historia" has been included as an official Zumba track that instructors use to teach their classes fitness through choreography. Pitbull's "Pause," a track from his recently released album [article id="1649600"]Planet Pit,[/article] is also part of the Zumba playlist.
"The way Zumba has done it is taken all those things that maybe we've all learned from different countries and put it into a form where it's global now," Pit told MTV News. "Same thing we've done with music, so that's why I think they both ride parallel and they coincide."
During last week's convention, both Pit and 'Clef performed for 7,000 Zumba instructors, who moved in sync with the dancers onstage to specific Zumba choreography. "I'm up there and I'm rocking and 7,000 instructors are doing the exact moves to a song that I composed. I can't even explain to you what that feels like," Wyclef said. "That's incredible."
While a rapper getting down with a fitness program may seem strange to some, Pitbull insists that the Zumba vibe is infectious. "It's not someone looking like, 'Man, what's Pitbull up there doing exercise?' " he said. "Nah, you go up there and you're like, 'Man, I need to be a part of that.' "
Jean agrees, pointing out that Zumba's many cultural elements adds to its strength. "If it's hot in Brazil, it's hot in Afghanistan, it's hot in Jerusalem, it's hot in Flatbush [Brooklyn, New York]. It all should be on that one CD and we all should be able to rock with it," he said. "And that's why I'm into the Zumba movement."
Have you ever tried Zumba? Let us know in the comments!