Fitness crazes come and sometimes thankfully go. Zumba a style of dance class has been a huge installment to the industry and attracts millions of participants. It’s turned older women’s dress sense into something resembling fifteen year olds on acid.
To become qualified as an instructor in the past, there have been no pre-requisites. Both dancers and fitness instructors alike may be attracted to enrol on a Zumba course to add an extra string to their bow and an extra pound to their bank. The general public, the addictive Zumba goers can all qualify as an instructor by simply attending a prior workshop to train in the steps used within the program itself. My mate Diego teaches Zumba and I’ve taken part in his class. He’s a fantastic ‘freestyle’ instructor with creativity and an abundance of energy on his side. He has an array of other disciplines to his belt making him clued up in body awareness and movement. Unfortunately this is not the case for other Zumba instructors. Anatomy and physiology is not a necessity to train as a Zumba instructor so the components of the class may be the same for every class one person attends, but the logic, reasoning and thought behind a class routine may differ from a highly experienced and educated instructor to the ones who only do the one or two day course. I guess even a kid can do it using their knowledge of the song ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes!’
Teaching Pilates during the Zumba era I’ve had many of those who declared they hurt their back while participating in this latest craze were either first time or regular Zumba participants. Was it the ‘off the street’ instructors that caused it, the well equipped with knowledge and experienced instructor or was it for the fact it’s a Latin style class where hips should be able to have a mind of their own and not everybody has hips like Ricky Martin or Shakira. A clued up instructor would know of adaptations and progressions to enhance an individual person’s workout and be able to use this within a mixed ability group. It’s group fitness after all! The not so clued up – well let’s just say they’re trying to get the sixty year olds to grind their ass to the floor in some Miley Cyrus twerk competition. Professional dancers who teach Zumba should never be hired in the fitness industry! As a group fitness manager at the time I’d hired a girl who was a professional dancer teaching Zumba. If an audition came up for the potential dance wannabe then she would simply abandon the class at the gym and not even courteously consider the members and myself by letting anyone know. It happened several times before I axed her, having honoured her excuses several times and received enough abusive emails (and quite rightly so) from members.
It’s easy to distinguish Zumba instructors from the general public. There’s an impulsivity to wear rubber bracelets which at first you’d think it was their devotion to finding a cure for cancer. On the bracelet is the word ZUMBA and even though it’s a cheap way of buying jewellery, it can’t smell good after a few classes surely. Well I guess it’s more money in the pocket for the guy who invented it and like a dog to its collar, saves one from getting lost! Another obvious feature is the dress sense. Whether looking like heading for a Wham concert or it’s the required thing to do there’s a must with all Zumba instructors to wear neon clothing. It doesn’t just stop at bright colours but wearing make up too. How’s it possible to not look like a car crash with sweat flying all over the place! If it’s not the unique appearance, it’s the Tourettes during the class. Shouting out Zumba at several occasions of the lesson makes you wander if the instructor’s reminding themselves or everybody else that they’re doing a Zumba class! Is it really necessary? Maybe I should try it throughout my class, PILATES! The music in Zumba can be fun when in the mood but for most of the time it gives me a burning desire to reach for the nachos with extra guacamole. This can be the case especially when I see the instructors move as if they have artificial hips. How do the rest of the class manage or are they thinking nachos too!