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Victory dance: Zumba Daddy to previous record: ‘You’re busted, mister’

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Zumba Daddy did it again.

The patriarch of prance broke his own record for Brooklyn’s largest Zumba class on July 20 at MCU Park with more than 500 people cavorting to raise money for cancer research. Despite hitting a personal best, the bust-a-move maven said there’s still room to grow.

“I think the crowd was a little sparse because it was such a nice beach day,” said Joe Gillette, known as “Zumba Daddy” for his love of the Latin-American fitness craze. “It was still pretty successful, I have to say.”

Gillette got 504 people to drop cancer-fighting Relay for Life a $5 donation and take to the ball field for a giant group get-down — that’s 70 more people than his previous record, but well short of the 6,671-person Guinness record he hopes one day to best.

All told, the event raised $4,700, which brings the Relay for Life’s 2014 haul to $107,000 — $37,000 more than it raised last year, and a major victory for the charity, Gillette said.

“Usually with, Relay for Life, if you can go up $10,000, it’s solid,” he said.

After the Zumba zoo, a cancer survivor and her caregiver mother got to throw out first pitches in the Cyclones’ 6–0 slaughter of the Williamsport Crosscutters.

“It was just an amazing day for her, all the way around,” said Tania Abernovich, whose 10-year-old daughter Alexiana Deprima threw the pitch. “We’re trying to make every day as fun, memorable, and meaningful as possible before she goes in for her brain surgery in August.”

Southpaw Deprima’s health battle apparently has not affected her arm, Gillette said.

“I was impressed,” he said. “She really threw some lefty heat.”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
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