Betsy Dopico – known to some as the Salsa Queen – grew up in a small town in Cuba. Zumba®, along with her incredible talent, changed her life and helped her find her calling. We sat down with Betsy to learn more about her childhood, the challenges she has overcome, and her approach to inspiring others.
ZLife: You grew up in Cuba. What was your childhood like? Did you always like to dance?
I was born in a little town called Manicaragua, and starting at age 3 I would memorize choreography from TV and dance in our home. I won a dance competition at age 6 – I would lose myself in the music and picture myself dancing in a movie. I started taking dance lessons and eventually started traveling all over Cuba participating in competitions – and winning awards, too! I moved to Mexico when I was 19.
ZLife: Tell us about how you first learned about Zumba®.
In 2005, I was depressed – missing my family and trying to overcome the loss of a baby. I saw a commercial for Zumba® on TV and immediately felt connected. I went on the website and went to Beto’s first training in Mexico City. When I went to the training, it was the first time I felt like I could be myself again. I continued to study not only dance but piano and acting, too, and in January 2007 I became a Zumba® Education Specialist (ZES).
ZLife: You’ve become good friends with Beto over the years. How do you support each other?
When I took Beto’s training, he became my hero. As I’ve gotten to know him, I’ve realized I can always count on him – and he has always believed in me. We are business partners, and we work hard, but more importantly he has taught me that with honesty, love, and being humble, we can all be our best. Our friendship is truly priceless!
ZLife: What is your favorite Zumba® experience or memory?
I have thousands! Watching Beto get ready for the first instructor convention in my studio, coming up with creative ideas to make it an amazing experience. My first live fitness concert, where I was surrounded by talent and made lifelong friends. Traveling to Europe for the first time. Meeting Wyclef Jean and being invited to sing Guantanamera with him – representing Cuba on stage! Most of all – being able to support my family (children and parents) while doing something I love with wonderful people.
ZLife: You’ve been known to say “From humble beginnings come all great things.” What does this mean to you?
I think we can all change the world, no matter where we start. I want to motivate the next generation and make my dance studio a space of joy and motivation to help people achieve their dreams.