Not Just an Act! Is ‘Chicago Fire’s’ Joe Cruz Really a Zumba Instructor?

[one_half][/one_half]Fans went wild when they saw Joe Cruz from NBC’s hit show “Chicago Fire” teach a Zumba class. Turns out, the hilarious plot twist that made for some serious laughs and had #Cruzumba trending on twitter isn’t too far from reality for actor Joe Minoso, aka “Zumba Cruz.”

[one_half padding=”0 20px 0 0″]If you thought Minoso looked like a natural while leading Zumba classes on the show, it’s because he’s had a little practice. Back in 2010, a friend turned him onto Zumba. At 301 lbs, depressed, and unemployed, Minoso went to the last row in a local Zumba class and started following the instructor. Having always loved dancing, he couldn’t help but get lost in the music and bust out his best moves.[/one_half]

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So much so, that the instructor called him up to the front of the class and told him he couldn’t waste those great moves in the back of the class. “After that moment, I was pretty much hooked,” Minoso recalled. Fast forward 8 months and Minoso had lost 60 lbs by attending Zumba classes.

He then went on to become a licensed Zumba instructor: “Having taught classes myself, I have an even greater sense of respect for instructors because I have experienced how hard you have to push yourself when you are up there teaching a class,” said Minoso.

Minoso was teaching Zumba classes when he was cast in a major part that led him to his current role as Cruz on “Chicago Fire.” He credits some of his acting success to Zumba, saying, “Zumba helped me gain the confidence I needed to land this role.”

Putting his career as a Zumba Instructor on hold to pursue his acting dreams, Minoso still had Zumba on his mind. While at a cast dinner with “Chicago Fire” series creator and producer, Dick Wolf, Minoso suggested, “Wouldn’t it be funny if Cruz was a closet Zumba instructor?

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Wolf thought the idea was hysterical and made sure it was worked into the script. “Chicago Fire” fans thought Minoso’s idea was hilarious too. Minoso loved seeing viewers’ overwhelming response to the funny plot twist, and said the Zumba scenes were a lot of fun to film.

“It was really exciting to do something inclusive. Everyone on set, from catering to transportation, came to jump in and participate, or watch. For the final take of the last sequence, the director just let the music play. It was a really uplifting moment full of smiles and laughter.”

[one_half padding=”0 20px 0 0″]In addition to his role on “Chicago Fire,” Minoso also started his own production company, Desiderata Productions. The company’s mission is to bring more joy into the world through art and entertainment.

He certainly brings joy and entertainment into households already. Be sure to catch him every Tuesday on NBC’s “Chicago Fire” for more laughs. You never know, maybe “Zumba Cruz” will make classes in the fire house a regular happening.

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Inspired by “Zumba Cruz” moves and think you have what it takes to be an instructor? Click here to find a Zumba instructor training near you!

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