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      Move to the Latin beat

      Photo Credit: Photo by Justen Arnold

      Quincy, IL - Music pulses from the speakers as dozens of men and women move to the Latin beat.

      But it's not a new dance club in the Tri-States, it's the latest exercise trend at the YMCA in Quincy.

      Zumba's motto says it all "Ditch the Workout and Join the Party."

      "Absolutely, it makes you feel good about's just feels like a party in here," said Maria Bichsell, YMCA Zumba Instructor.

      A twist of the hips, a cha-cha and a shimmy forward are just a few moves of the Zumba dance craze.

      The hour long routine is part Latin dance, part aerobics, and works and tones almost every muscle in the body.

      "You can really shake it and burn those calories really a lot or you can take it easy if you need to," said Bichsell.

      In fact, Zumba instructors say you can burn 500 to 800 calories in one workout.

      "We've been researching it for a long time, it's been out there it's all across the country, it's in a lot of other countries. We've been anxious to get it on board, it's just came to our area so that we could get certified just recently," said Bichsell.

      It might look and sound difficult or even impossible for some, but from teens to seniors, Zumba is drawing large crowds and people of all fitness levels.

      "I think everybody is looking for a new way to workout that's fun, something that's not the same old thing that they've been doing," said Bichsell.

      "It's hard for me to keep up with all these young people, but it doesn't matter, it's a wonderful exercise," said Mary Cox, 81-year-old participant.

      And this isn't "Dancing with the Stars", so you don't have to be worried about your salsa or mambo skills.

      "I think it's fun when we shake our hips, you know cause I can do that without too much of a doesn't matter if you make mistakes or anything, you just can do your thing," said Cox.

      99 people came last week to the first of the three free Zumba Sundays.

      Next Sunday is the last time the class will be offered for free.

      It runs from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

      After that, 8 classes, will cost $24 for Y members and $48 for non-Y members.