Hailing from the Bronx, NY, Tony Santiago had worked behind the scenes in television and as an on-air radio host for many years. Tony hit a stressful point in his life, going through a painful divorce. When he found out he had diabetes on top of all the other stress he was already under, Tony knew he needed to act fast. The TV station he worked for ran Zumba® infomercials, so he had seen Beto in action many times and thought he would try the DVDs and Nintendo Wii game at home. From there, he joined a gym and started taking classes in person. Known as a goofball in class, doing Zumba® wasn’t just for fun – he was losing weight, lowering his cholesterol and triglycerides, and building self-esteem he hadn’t felt in years. Tony says, “When I first took Zumba®, I thought of it solely for my health, but I quickly realized that it also gave me an outlet to release whatever was bothering me for that hour and to have fun.”
It wasn’t long before Tony decided to become an instructor in 2014. He even joined a crew to perform a Zumba® routine at a WNBA game at Madison Square Garden in NYC! He was one of only three men in the group, which led him to his nickname… Zumbro. He started recording silly videos and participating in local events. With his growing reputation in the Zumba® community, he decided to do something big – take five Zumba® classes in a single day, one in every NYC borough! But that wasn’t enough for Tony – on his way to ZINCON 2015, he took it to the next level and took a class in EVERY state he drove through from New York to Florida! Eight classes and many miles later, he had done it, and left a trail of new Zumba® friends behind. He even repeated the wild east coast trip in 2016.
Tony wants to inspire other men to get healthy and experience the joy of dancing. He says, “Even though Zumbro became my nickname, I think of every guy as a ‘Zumbro’. Given what Zumba® has done for me, I wanted to give back by promoting the lifestyle as well as the fun aspect of improving your health.”