RateYourBurn | NYC's 15 Best Zumba Instructors of 2012

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Who are NYC's best Zumba instructors of the year? If you're the grape-vining, hip-thrusting, Latin-loving type, you might want to shimmy on over to one of these fun-loving instructors' classes. Ay ay ay!

best zumba instructors nyc

15. Christopher Vo

(Z Club NY, Equinox)

The second he starts moving, it's evident that this Julliard-trained dancer knows his stuff. Chris has a loyal Z Club following, and rightfully so. He's got great energy and his routines are easy to follow. His mantra: "When there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire."

[Check out Chris' RYB profile, or review one of his classes.]

Christopher Vo_Z Club NY_Zumba_class review

14. Francesca Maria Gambelli

(The Sports Club/LA)

Francesca started her dancing career shortly after moving to the U.S. from Italy, as a backup dancer on Mariah Carey's world tour. Over the years, she's danced with the likes of Whitney Houston, George Michael, Jay-Z, and others. Your Majesty Lalla Salma, Queen of Morocco, had even handpicked Francesca to be her personal dance and fitness teacher. Yikes! This girl is the real deal.

Francesca Maria_Zumba_Francesca Maria Dance Art

13. Ronnie Davidson 

(Power Pilates, Lucille Roberts)

This past summer, Ronnie was one of the guest instructors at the Dekalb Market's Zumba Fitness Party in Brooklyn. His fans describe him as a great instructor with high energy and lots of personality (no surprise there, judging by his profile photo).

[Check out Ronnie's RYB profile, or review one of his classes.]

Ronnie Davidson_Power Pilates_Zumba

12. Cicelia (CiCi) Acevedo

(New York Sports Club)

There ain't no stopping CiCi. She's got rhythm, and her routines show it. Her classes are a blast, and she's got a strong fan base.

[Check out Cicelia's RYB profile, or review one of her classes.]

Cicelia Acevedo_New York Sports Club_Zumba

11. Jamie Allen 


Jamie is a fun-loving guy whose great vibe just consumes his classroom. He has a knack for creating fun routines and his students LOVE him, probably because he's an all-around cool guy who makes you feel like you're his new best friend.

[Check out Jamie's RYB profile, or review one of his classes.]


10. Daisy Bugarin 

(Body Elite Health & Fitness, Slope Fitness)

Daisy's class is proof that Zumba is a real workout. You'll sweat and burn and get a total body ass-kicking in her classes.

[Check out Daisy's RYB profile, or review one of her classes.]

Daisy Bugarin_Body Elite Health & Fitness_Zumb

9. Ben Byrd 

(EquinoxAlvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Broadway Dance Center)

Ben is a pro. Literally. He's been trained in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, and even ballroom dancing. His students love him, and he's been featured on Fox News, NBC, and in The New York Times.

[Check out Ben's RYB profile, or review one of his classes.]

Ben Byrd_Broadway Dance Center_Zumba

8. Christina Tucker 


Christina does a great job of deviating from the standard-issue Zumba routines that can make a class feel stale. The Haiwaiian native started her fitness career hula dancing and competing in hula competitions. In addition to teaching at Equinox, she runs UpBeat Studio.

[Check out Christina's RYB profile, or review one of her classes.]

Christina Tucker_Equinox_Zumba

7. Amanda Young 


Amanda's classes aren't for the uncoordinated. Her routines can get complicated, but once you have them down they're fun. She's high-energy and and her classes are high-intensity. 

[Check out Amanda's RYB profile, or review one of her classes.]

Amanda Young_Equinox_Zumba

6. Edmee Cherdieu D'Alexis 

(Z Club NY)

This Guadeloupe native is a ball of sunshine. Edmee is super passionate about dance. She's a former Equinox manager and one of the co-founders of Z Club, which now attracts about 1,400 Zumba-loving people a month.

[Check out Edmee's RYB profile, or review one of her classes.]

Edmee Cherdieu D'Alexis_Z Club NY_Zumba

5. Glynnis (GiGi) Stoot

(CLAY Health Club + Spa, Reebok Sports Club)

Gigi is a lean, mean Zumba machine. And if you can't tell by her hotness, she's also a model (and actress). Who wouldn't do Zumba to look like that?

[Check out GiGi's RYB profile, or review one of her classes.]

GiGi Stoot_Clay Health Club Spa_Zumba

4. Irena Meletiou

(Z Club NYRoy Arias Dance Studio)

Irena has a ton of glowing reviews on RateYourBurn, and fans say her Zumba class is like no other. Her classes tend to be more choreographed than your average class, so they're recommended for the more advanced Zumba-goers or those who have a dance background. Students find her classes fun and high-energy. One reviewer even went so far as to call her "the Jililan Michaels of Zumba."

[Check out Irena's RYB profile, or review one of her classes.]

Irena Meletiou_Zumba Extreme_Z Club NY_fierce

3. Emily Naim 

(Equinox, Reebok Sports ClubThe Sports Club/LAZ Club NY)

Emily is dirty, and her students love her for it! Her tough-girl persona just melts away as soon as she starts to dance. She's an amazing dancer and is totally inspiring to those who may feel a little timid about shaking their booty. Her routines are fun and will leave you in a sweaty mess.

[Check out Emily's RYB profile, or review one of her classes.]


2. Nikole Love Geri 

(New York Sports Club)

An actress by day and a Zumba fitness instructor by night, Nikole will leave you sweaty and wanting more...Zumba, that is. Her classes are fun and some of the more popular ones at NYSC.

[Check out Nikole's RYB profile, or review one of her classes.]

Nikole Love Geri_New York Sports Club_Zumba

1. Kara Doyle 

(New York Sports Club)

Tops is Kara Doyle. Her energy is contagious, and she has inspired others to get their own Zumba certifications as well. The investment-banker-turned-group-fitness-instructor struggled with her own weight for most of her life and while she was a fan of group fitness, it was the last thing she thought she had the guts to teach. Her classes are truly amazing and must be experienced by all.

[Check out Kara's RYB profile, or review one of her classes.]

Kara Doyle_New York Sports Club_Zumba

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Leave a Comment

Comments 14 Comments

Kathleen 12/29/2012

I am so happy that my 2 favorite instructors came out as the top 2!  I am talking about Love and Kara from NYSC.  They are great instructors, dancers and choreographers, and truly very inspiring.  What shocked me was seeing Cici as #12.  Are you kidding me?  People in my zumba class today were just joking that if there was a Worst Zumba Contest, Cici would be #1.  I can't wait to tell them that she made it to #12.  Something's not right.  

Zumbada 12/30/2012

Here's the thing about Zumba instructors - it all depends on what type of instructor you're looking for. I totally get that not every instructor is not everyone's cup of tea, but just because you personally don't love someone's style, it doesn't mean that they're not just what someone else needs. Case in point: Cici. Hers was the first Zumba class I ever took (out of literally more than a hundred since then, and scores of instructors), and I'd say she's wonderful, especially for someone new to Zumba. She's encouraging, positive, and she goes over all the steps as part of her warmup. NO ONE else I ever have gone to has done that last thing. So, while I get that you don't enjoy her class, I think you might want to reconsider saying there's something wrong with the rankings because she's up there. Especially since your top instructors are also in the top two here Smile

Kathleen 12/30/2012

you're right zumbada, i take that back.  happy new year to everybody!

Kevin Klepper 12/30/2012

Great job gang.

Luna 12/30/2012

@Kathleen: you're are entitled to your opinion.  Yes, I agree Cici does go over steps, but she can do that only because she has one choreography for the entire class.  It's not much of a Zumba if you don't even break a sweat during 40 min.  And I highly disagree that she's "encouraging."  I have taken her class a few times, and every single class, she couldn't wait to get out.  And you can clearly see that when instructors don't enjoy teaching classes.  The classes were either 45 min or 55min.  And yet, she ended the class at 40 min.  I even spoke to the NYSC manager, and he confirmed that the class was supposed to be 45 min.  If she doesn't enjoy teaching Zumba, she just step aside.  It's very unprofessional and even discouraging.    

Lila 01/05/2013

I'm so happy and proud that Francesca made it to the list. Her classes are energetic, fun and inspiring. You break out a sweat every time! She's constantly teaching us new moves to the latest songs and her clips are YouTube reinforce the dances she's taught. She has a unique Zumba style all her own!

Veronica 04/19/2013

I have to strongly disagree with Christina Tucker being chosen. Everyone I know hates her class. The routines are so repetitive, heavily choreographed (too technical for some people), and the music is awful to top it off. I've been taking Zumba for years, in Miami and NY. Seen some amazing instructors, and some not so great ones but never have I seen one as terrible as Christina. Sorry, its the truth.

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