WELL, as the name suggests, it is another dance of the Zumba expressive style of body movements that only the physically fit can indulge. The rest can only watch, imitate with swaying and swinging to the soporific beat and lyrics one cannot really comprehend. At least to me the lyrics were a lot of garbled sounds but they do have a hypnotic effect on a crowd.

I guess the body movements and twirling of hands, gyration of hips and buttock and prancing of feet to the rhythm the sound are all that matters. Grace can be expressed in the latest dance craze just much as in ballet.

I have not seen the ZoomBacolod simply because I did not know its schedule but events of this nature where thousands participate and join cannot be hidden for long. Moreover, local media carried the news last Monday on the championship contest. That inspires the imagination because it seems too different.

Close to where we live there is a Zumba performance twice a week and whenever I passed one I paused for a few minutes watching the dancers, from young tots to not so young women who seemed to enjoy every moment of their gyration and thumping.

Reports say that an estimated 5,000 came for the 1st GWAPO ZoomBacolod dance fitness championship contest at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos Amphitheatre last December 2. The open theatre was perfect venue because the oval could seat thousands and still have a good view of the dancers.

“GRUPO HATAW SANG DYES” of Barangay 10, Bacolod City was declared the champion and received P50,000 cash followed by the 1st Runner-up Bacolod Barangay 6 named “the Magnificent Squad” that got the P30,000 prize.

The 2nd Runner-up was Barangay 35 of Bacolod called “Team UNKABOGABLE” that received P20,000. “Asenso Silay Zumba Group” of Silay City got third place and the P10,000 prize. Each champion received a trophy and certificate.

Not to be disappointed, the eleven other participating groups received P2,000 each.

Zumba Dance Diva Regine Tolentino, Bennie Almonte of Retro King and Cris Cruz sang Street Boys composed the Board of Judges. They too danced after the competition that made the crowd enjoy the night by dancing with them.

Bacolod City Councilor Ricardo “Cano Gwapo” Tan who organized this new attraction said that his first Zumba competition is part of his grassroots program that aims to promote healthy lifestyle not only in Bacolod but also for the province.

Tan told the participants, “You made a lot of difference in the overall success of our event because of your invaluable presence.The 1st GWAPO ZoomBacolod Olympics Grand Finals showcased the best among the bests groups which competed for the grand championship round”.

Councilor Tan cited “the prime movers of the 1st GWAPO ZoomBacolod Olympics headed by Ching Alcala and her team who was the tireless and selfless driving force behind the success of this Zumba competition”.

He added that “I know, it is not easy to join a contest like this but still, you showed to everyone your very best moves. And I know the judges had a very hard time in choosing the winners. However, for me, all of you are already winners.”

Because of the success of this maiden GWAPO Zumba competition, next year, Tan said he expects a “bigger, more exciting and enhanced 2nd GWAPO ZoomBacolod Olympics”, thus encouraging the non-winners do better for another bout as “ZoomBacolod will go a long, long way”.

Councilor Tan also joined the Zumba instructors in a “warm-up” dance performance led by Ching Alcala, the Event Manager, the report said.

The Bacolod dance groups that competed were Barangays Handumanan, 6, 10, 35, Banago, Pahanocoy, Cabug, Estefania and Villamonte.

The popularity of this simple and yet enjoyable physical fitness dance and the prizes will encourage other towns to join the succeeding competitions. A tourism attraction in the making?

But here’s a catch. Radio commentators say the Bacolod top councilor looms as a possible mayoralty candidate in 2019, in effect dabbing this laudable project with political color and provoking criticisms. This is expected; opposing forces are always alert to any move from the other side that would affect their advantage.

The attacks, however, can be counter-productive. The best approach is to offer a better one than that of Cano Tan. Then everybody will be happy.

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