About Our Zumba Classes
The format of Zumba class differs a little bit depending on whether its a regular Zumba class, an Intro to Zumba class, Zumba Gold, or Zumba for kids. The basic elements are the same. The class format is generally -- warm-up, fast/slow songs, then cool-down.
Each Zumba song has its own set of steps. The choreography is simple and once you get the
hang of it, you'll be able to add your own style as you feel the music move through you.
It may take a few weeks to "get" the salsa beat or control your hips to really move to a
samba, so it is important to be patient and just focus on moving and enjoying yourself.
Because we don't want to interfere your enjoyment of the music, Zumba does not use a lot of verbal cuing. You won't find me yelling out every step you do or counting every step. I will use some visual cues to point at the direction we are going or to turn or which foot to use -- you will get the hang of it pretty quickly. Listen to the music and just follow -- the music will tell you where the changes in steps are. Another feature of Zumba is that you will often find me facing you instead of back toward you. This is necessary at Monroe Hall because there is no mirror on the long side of the room. (When the class is small I will use the small mirror on the short side of the room). Most of the time you will have to mirror my moves -- this will take a few practice to get used to but you will soon get the hang of it. When the steps involves directional changes or when the steps are a little more complex, I will demonstrate with my back facing you. But I will switch back and forth. It is important for me to be able to see what you are doing and help you with your movements. I love looking at your faces too -- I feel like we are connecting!
The first few songs will be warm-up -- rhythmic limbering movements meant to gradually warm-up the major muscle groups in increasing intensity -- starting up slow with movements such as marching or step-touches -- progressing higher intensity moves such as kicks, leg raises, punches or arms raised above the head to bring the heart rate up. I like to use different music and improvise. Sometimes I will do "movement rehearsal" which means that I will cover steps which we will use later. The second song is usually more fitness oriented -- we will be doing strength training and my favorite is abs -- toning the stomach muscle and working on the obliques which will certainly help loose a few inches on the waist! Squats and lunges will be there too sometimes. As we approach cool-down the songs will be slower -- gradually bringing the heart rate down -- I will probably use slower rhythms like rumba, slow cha cha, tango or slow cumbia. I enjoy picking different cool-down songs and integrate the stretches into the songs w/ some dance movements. We will do a lot of stretches here to music and sometimes therapeutic stretches and movements that I learned from studying bodywork, usually beneficial for stiff neck or shoulders or for back soreness. For Zumba Gold there might be more balance or joint movement exercises. Hopefully by now you will feel invigorated and happy and go about your day in a good mood. (Hey you just did something great for yourself!)
Important thing about posture
It's important to maintain a proper posture during Zumba -- rib cage lifted, spine elongated, hips tucked in, head high (imagining there's a string hung from the ceiling to the top of your head, an an apple under your chin), knees slightly bent and not locked, shoulders relaxed, and most importantly, abs tucked in (belly button to spine) to protect your back. Remember that the hip motion comes from your knees (flexing and straightening of the knees). On a squat, you must be able to see your toes or you will put too much stress on your knees.
What to Bring
The rooms we use have wood dance floors which are perfect for Zumba. You should
wear athletic shoes or dance sneakers. Shoes that allow you to slide a little will
help prevent joint injuries. If your shoes have good traction (great for sports, not
so great for dancing), be sure to pick up your feet a little when twisting and turning
so that you do not stress your knees. I will have duct tape handy too so you can tape it around the ball of your feet to make it a little easier to swivel. Please do a little test before class to make sure that you are wearing proper footwear and not hurting your knees -- swivel around a little on the ball of your foot and see if you can swivel easily. If you do Zumba often, I highly recommend getting a pair of good footwear so that you won't hurt yourself and you will enjoy the dancing more. A lot of students have told me how a proper footwear really increased their enjoyment of Zumba because it's light and they can move much better.
You should bring water. There is a drinking fountain at Monroe Hall if you don't mind tap water. A small towel is nice to have because you will sweat. Dress in any
non-constricting comfortable exercise clothes.
The most important thing to bring to class is probably the "party" attitude -- you are here to relax and have fun, really enjoy yourself, to move, to listen and feel the music and have a good time.
Hope I covered everything!