‘Zumba Daddy’ breaks own record

Brooklyn Daily
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Mill Basin fitness activist Joe “Zumba Daddy” Gillette broke his own record for largest indoor zumba class in New York City on Sunday — thanks to the help of some gymnasts he recruited at the Aviator Sports and Events Center, where the attempt was staged.

“We were actually short ten people when we did the count, but I saw there was a gymnastics competition at Aviator,” said Gillette. “So, I went over to them and I told them we were short ten people for the record. They went nuts and asked their coach if they could help.”

That’s right, it was all thanks to Staten Island’s Richmond Raiders gymnastics team, who were at Aviator for an unrelated competition, that the record-breaking class was spared from failure.

After the kind-hearted, zumba-loving gymnasts agreed to help Gillette and gang, the total number of zumba dancers increased to 434 — up 15 from last year’s 419 — which he expects will soon declare the largest amount of zumba dancers any building in New York City has ever held.

Not all of the dancers stayed for the entire two-and-half-hour class, but Gillette did note that more people stayed for the duration than last year’s record-setting event — and he credited the stamina-increasing benefits of zumba.

“Brooklyn’s getting fitter,” Gillette exclaimed. “I think zumba has something to do with it.”

Gillette has been using such zumba events and fitness classes to help promote another event he organizes, the Mill Basin Relay for Life, which raises funds for cancer research though participants gathering sponsors.

Most recently, Gillette has worked out a deal with School District 22 Superintendent Rhonda Farkas, giving the Zumba Daddy and some of his lovely zumba instructors the opportunity to teach zumba and fitness in schools — which, in turn, has helped Gillette promote the relay, and thus raise money to battle cancer.

“Being involved with School District 22 has created more than 20 new school-based relay teams,” said Gillette. “That’s basically 10 grand we’ve already banked, and we’ve just started the season.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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