Zumba, Still Together

In two days I board the plane for ZinCon, otherwise known as the Zumba Instructor Convention in Orlando, Florida. It has always been a special dream for me to go the Zumba convention in order to attend the Fitness Concert.  The convention and the concert is just for instructors. The Fitness Concert otherwise known as a Zumba class with 6,000 people and with the founder of Zumba himself–Beto Perez.

So this year I became licensed to teach Zumba for several reasons but one being so I could go to the convention. I guess you could say I’m about to do something on my bucket list.

I still don’t know how many people will be there this week–maybe 5,000 or 8,000 coming from around the world for a four-day Zumba frenzy of dance classes, professional skills, shopping for Zumba clothes, making friends with other instructors, and of course the parties and concert.

I have been studying dance on and off for years and Zumba is like an accumulation of all that dance into a concentrated format to have fun with. In a Zumba class you dance a variety of different rhythms so it could be all my favorite dances rolled into one. It is like a good friend that sometimes I spend more or less time with but is always there.

Now I am really getting the chance to get up close and personal with Zumba- the other side of it, learning to be an instructor. To be honest I don’t know if I want to be an instructor or not. Part of me does, as an acknowledgement of how hard I have studied dance in my life.

African, Jazz, Brazilian, Salsa— have also been good friends to me and it would be satisfying to take that to on stage and share it with others. Another part of me feels overwhelmed by the idea and doesn’t want to take my fun thing and turn it into a job. Dancing is one thing and bring an instructor is another. However there are some people who get licensed just to dance and be a part of the community.

In 2001 I saw an infomercial on television in the middle of the night for a workout and I bought the VHS. It was Zumba and it looked really cool. Some of the dances also seemed kind of funny, like one where you dance like you are riding a pony and slap it in front of you.

At the same time I was performing with Vamola, a Brazilian dance troupe and taking Cuban salsa lessons. The freestyle part of Cuban salsa, the loose hip-shaking do your own thing, the isolations— sometimes referred to as tembleque was something I wanted to do more of.

I had the idea to teach my own dance class and incorporate these Latin dances, kind of like Zumba or a Latin workout class. There were no group Zumba classe in my area, yet. This was 2003. I even made a poster! I started taking traditional Jazz dance classes at a dance school to boost my professional training.

Then my life took another turn. Not necessarily a wanted direction and I put the idea of teaching a dance class aside.

I found Zumba again in San Francisco in 2011. I made the best of a period of unemployment and went to a lot of Zumba classes. It felt so good to be dancing and getting in shape. I had a great deal at 24 hr Fitness for $32 a month. I thought a little bit about being an instructor again but compared myself to my favorite instructor in San Francisco, who had more of a professional dance background and thought it was out of reach.

Now in the present time I work at Community Fitness–a studio in Seattle, which has dropped me back in the world of a dance, more specifically dance fitness. Where I have access to as many free classes as I want and a bounty of wonderful instructors.

Here we are some 17 years later from when I originally bought the Zumba VHS. Zumba and I are still together.

And shit is about to get real.

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