Over the weekend I did something that would have seemed completely foreign and mind-boggling to me just two and half years ago: I became an official Zumba instructor.
The first time I took a Zumba class was November 11, 2008. I had the day off from work and Nicole, who taught my lunch time exercise class, told me I could drop into her Zumba class for free one time. I did it once and got hooked. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to sign up for a full session until January, and only on Saturdays, because of its popularity. I was able to add more regular classes as I got wise to when enrollment was opened and got in before the roster filled up.
Should I mention I hate exercise? I find walking/running on a treadmill to be boring. I find aerobic classes or pilates classes to be a major yawn. So what in the world was it about Zumba that kept me going and then pushed me over the edge to even learn how to become an instructor?
The music and dance. It didn't feel like exercise. That feeling kept me going and shed over 20 pounds off my 5'2 frame over a 2 year period. You could say I bought into the concept of how successful this could be for others. It also helped that my friend, Alison, was highly interested in getting authorized to teach as well since we both see a need in Jamestown for more classes.
Even though I read some stuff online about what to expect in a Zumba Basics 1 class, I still wasn't sure what it was going to be like. I will admit I had fears of it being all skinny personal trainers who were ready to yell "Zumba!" at the slightest provocation. Even as we registered that morning, I was still looking around nervously wondering how many people were already exercise gurus and if I had any business bringing my sometimes 2-left feet to the show.
My fears were waylaid when our instructor, Jani Roberts, led us through the master class, opening with "Raise Your Glass" by P!nk as the first warm-up song. Her enthusiasm was incredible and you could see she was someone who loves her job. Soon after we learned that we were a motley mix of people who were exercise trainers, dancers, people who had never been to Zumba, students taking over Zumba instructor's classes, people who lost up to 75 pounds and wanted to teach others, to people who were already teaching Zumba but came back for more.
Even though it wasn't as intense as the master class in the morning, you could say we danced our arses off the rest of the day. There was a break-down of how to do four of the main styles of dance: meringue, salsa, cumbia, and reggaeton. Jani also discussed some program related notes of interest, instructor/class interaction, and got us to attempt to group choreograph bits of one of the more popular Zumba songs. It was a hell of a day, but worth the effort.
Will I teach? I've had friends and acquaintances ask if I'm going to teach and tell me that they'd take a class from me. Right now, my schedule would require some finessing in order to follow through. I also would plan to get some additional training/certifications in important things like CPR/First Aid which usually are necessary and non-negotiable if you're going to try to make a group of people break a sweat. So in short, I'd like to teach but it's going to be a little while before that becomes a reality. I have a year to figure it out since that's how long my authorization lasts. After that, I either have to re-take the course or become a licensee by joining the Zumba Instructor Network (fee per month). You never know how things will work out sometimes, but I'm sure if I suddenly turn true instructor that I'll list times/locations for those willing to be indoctrinated.
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