Two of London’s leading fitness pioneers have joined forces to form new kind of ‘active entertainment’ company in the capital.

Jessica Zoo, the founder of Zoo Fever cheerleading and the inventor of Cheerobics, has teamed up with long-time friend Craig Addison, who in Zumba Riot runs London’s biggest Zumba network, to create Zoo Riot.

Jessica told us: “The company is now an active entertainment company so we provide both entertainment and activity.

“Our fitness classes are always going to be like a party, our parties are always going to have some kind of active involvement – so dance performance or workshops.”

She added: “It’s a bit like a gym but it is more like a party membership than a gym membership.”

Launching in central London on Monday (September 12), Zoo Riot is initially offering fitness classes, such as Zumba and hip hop dance, at four locations in town and plans to organise pop-up events and activities at parties, team building workshops, weddings and the like.

It made perfect sense for the two fitness fanatics to partner up, Jessica told us.

She said: “He has this passion to make people feel like they are doing something fun and they are not just turning up and doing a fitness class.

“He is very good at fitness event classes, having a strong network and doing the logistics. I’m very good at the events side and the marketing.

“We have this vision that activity should be entertaining and entertainment should be active so it made sense for us to come together.”

Both Craig and Jessica, who have been friends for seven years, are continuing to run their other projects and incorporating them into Zoo Riot.

Craig started Zumba Riot in 2011 and watched it grow across London.

Cheerleading instructor Jessica formed dance group Zoo in 2007, which became one of the top pro cheerleading groups in the UK and in demand by the likes of Manchester City, Sky Sports and the NFL.

She opened Richmond Dance studio in 2008 and added Cheerobics fitness classes as an accessible, fun way to get fit. Since then it has boomed all over the world with classes on five continents, including nearby in Kingston, Chessington, Wimbledon, Carshalton, Beckenham, Greenwich, Orpington and Cray Valley.

Jessica said: “When I was in Richmond I started Cheerobics at the dance school, because I am a cheerleading coach more than anything else.

“It really took off. I was looking at Zumba and how that was doing and there wasn’t anything that was specifically cheerleading. We now have hundreds and hundreds of instructors.”

Such was the success of the dance class that started life in Richmond, Jessica has fronted fitness DVDs and even written a book, Body Before Skill.

Clearly she is on to something and cheerleading, she said, is the ideal basis for a fitness class.

She said: “Cheerobics is a stepping stone to cheerleading. It is for those that always wanted to be a cheerleader or would like to be a cheerleader.

“The one thing that is very different from any other fitness class is the moves are very structured. There is a very precise technique – it is not just about shaking pompoms.”

With elements of gymnastics – such as tumbling and acrobatics – as well as dance Jessica said cheerleading is a discipline which ‘helps body awareness and developing muscle tone’.

She added: “It is a fun version of a bootcamp, but with pompoms and music.”

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