That’s Right! That cute baby is Mauricio Camargo. If you don’t know him, you will soon – he is a talented dancer, dedicated father, and rising Zumba® star! Between dancing with Loretta Bates, traveling, and spending time with his Zumba® students, he found time to sit down with us and share some of his life story.
ZLife: We know you grew up in Cali, Colombia – Beto’s hometown! Tell us about your childhood, and how you found your love of dance.
Mauricio: I was born to a teenage, single mother and raised in Colombia until moving to the states when I was 7 years old. My younger brother and I grew up raised by our mother and grandparents. Growing up in a Latin home, dancing and music were a part of our everyday lives. I remember as a young child dancing with cousins and aunts at Christmas parties, birthday parties, and any event with the excuse to play music and dance. From that upbringing, my love for the arts and music began. I did not start dancing until the age of 17 years old, when I was forced to take a dance elective class in school. From that class I began to take other dance classes, and eventually I was even signed by a dance agency.
ZLife: How did you find Zumba®? What made you become an instructor?
Mauricio: I had no idea what Zumba® was. I was working for a gym as a manager, and one day the Zumba® instructor was unable to make it to class. This situation created chaos in the gym, as we couldn’t find any subs. The next day, my boss registered me for a B1 training – basically forcing me to get licensed. I taught classes as a sub for about a year with no idea of the magnitude of Zumba®. A year later, I met Zumba® Education Specialist Priscilla Sartori and she opened my eyes to what Zumba® truly was. She was my mentor in my early years.
ZLife: How has fatherhood impacted your career and life?
Mauricio: My son is my everything! He has reshaped my outlook on life and my future. Everyday I am inspired to be a better person and create a legacy he can one day be proud of. Everything I do in my professional and personal life is with him in mind. I want to be the best example for my son and to make sure I am a role model he can follow. He is the light of our eyes and our world revolves around him.
ZLife: What’s your favorite Zumba® memory or experience?
Mauricio: My most favorite memory has to be the first ever master class I attended. I was a new instructor with no idea of what to expect. I was invited as an attendee to this charity master class in Miami. I remember being blown away by the instructor and in a awe of the talent and passion I saw that day – I watched incredible talent like Armando and Heidy, Wally Diaz, and Betsy Dopico. That was when I decided to make Zumba® my full-time job and see how far I could grow. That day shaped my life forever.
ZLife: What advice do you have for other Zumba® instructors?
Mauricio: I would always advise instructors to remember it’s all about our students. Without them we are nothing; they are the force that drives us to be better everyday. And never, ever stop learning and being inspired by others around you!