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 desire for me to attend the Zumba convention so I could go to the Fitness Concert but the convention is just for instructors. The Fitness Concert otherwise known as a master 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. A good Zumba class you get do dance a variety of different rhythms so it can 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 a 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 that 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 Urban Latin Dance class, another current format. 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 Spectrum 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 use 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 instructordom again but compared myself to my favorite instructor in San Francisco, who had more of a professional dance background.
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.
So here we are some 17 years later from when I bought the Zumba VHS and Zumba and I are still together.
And shit is about to get real.