‘Chicago Fire’ star lights up Zumba convention

"Chicago Fire" star Joe Minoso performs at the the 2015 Annual Zumba Convention in Orlando, Florida. | Zumba

“Chicago Fire” fans know Cruz loves him some Zumba.

So does Joe Minoso, the actor who plays the newest member of Firehouse 51’s rescue squad on the NBC drama.

Minoso performed a crazy good Zumba routine last weekend to kick off the 2015 Annual Zumba Convention in Orlando, Florida. He set his moves to the beat of “Uptown Funk.”

Minoso is a disciple of the high-energy dancercise that spawned some seriously funny moments — not to mention Twitter’s #Cruzumba — last season on “Fire.”

“Do it two or three times and I guarantee by the fourth time you’re hooked,” Minoso told me during a phone interview after his Zumba episode aired.

A certified Zumba instructor in real life, Minoso stumbled into the fitness routine in 2011 while working part-time at the athletic apparel company Lululemon in Evanston. The store encouraged employees to enroll in local exercise classes. Minoso chose Zumba, where students repeat dance moves set to the heart-pounding beat of Latin and international music.

“I was way, way in the back when the Zumba instructor came up to me and said, ‘Hey man, you’ve got to come to the front; you’re wasting your moves in the back,’ ” Minoso said.

Minoso, an aspiring actor living in Rogers Park at the time, credits Zumba with helping him shed 60 pounds. Shortly after, the ensemble member of Teatro Vista landed a role on Starz’s Chicago-set drama “Boss.” He moved to Los Angeles in early 2012 in hopes of getting more acting work. The day his lease was approved in California, he found out he wouldn’t be staying: He got the gig on “Chicago Fire.”

When Minoso and some of the cast of “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.” were having dinner with producer Dick Wolf, Minoso was talking about Zumba with “Chicago P.D.” star Sophia Bush. Wolf wanted to know more.

“I started explaining it to him,” Minoso said. “I said I’ve been telling these guys for two seasons that I know Zumba and wouldn’t it be funny if Cruz was a closet Zumba instructor? He thought it was hilarious and pushed it forward.”

“If you remotely like dancing and you need an excuse to get off your butt, definitely try Zumba,” said Minoso, estimating that he shreds more than 1,000 calories in an hour-long class.

Joe Minoso at the Orlando convention. | Zumba

Joe Minoso at the Orlando convention. | Zumba

READ MORE: ‘Chicago Fire’ showrunner answers fans’ burning questions

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