I had the BEST time teaching Zumba today.
I’ve been teaching this same class for over six years. Today was different. Today I said something at the beginning of class and we all took it to heart.
“This is not a dance audition.”
I did get a few laughs and it’s always great to lighten the mood but I was as serious as I could be. I said the same thing Monday night before I started my class. It wasn’t a scolding as much as it was a bit of mindfulness.
“This is not about complicated choreography. This is about you and the music.”
They got me. Well, they got me a little bit. It seemed so random (even though I’m used to it) and they let me keep talking and then Ciara came blasting out of the speakers. Yes, I know the song is old but the vibe still feels good. “Give me that BASS!!!!”
I’m so glad she didn’t say, “Give me that kick, ball change, turn, leap, jump, drop down, turn out, switch feet and focus on your technique.” That would not have hyped me up in any way.But sometimes I feel like that’s what people hear when the music starts.
Zumba can be hard on a person with a dance background. We are TRAINED to focus on how we are holding our bodies and how big our steps are and if we have remembered the correct sequence for steps. Lucky for me (in this case), technique has always been my weakness. 🙂 I just go for it. Have you seen me teach a class?
When Michael Jackson is blaring through that speaker, all is well and I couldn’t care less how it looks. However, as an instructor, you see both sides. It’s MORE important that you see the side where your students are because the class isn’t about you anyway. What I see are people who want new choreography every class, complicated steps included, mixed in with people who just wandered into class because the music was loud and people who, honestly, have no idea how to get their left and right sides to work independently (they often call themselves “rhythmically challenged). The music is right but the mind is somewhere else. That’s a challenge when your job is to engage, entertain and make sure people are getting a good workout. What do you do?
I don’t know what YOU do but I play the Tootsie Roll. Even the most hard core dancers get loose when they hear “to the left, to the left.” That’s what we did today. The exhausted, the experienced, the rhythmically challenged, the grandmothers, the first timers, the ballerinas and even the people in the weight room got in and dipped, Baby. Dipped.
When we let go and trust THE experience over OUR experience (you know, our thoughts about what we are going to do, how we are going to make it all more complicated instead of just working harder at the simple things but that’s another blog post), things happen. For the rest of my class today (post Tootsie Roll), arms and hands were going up in the air and women were hooping and hollering over songs we had done A MILLION times. At that point, no one was counting how many times we had done single single double. No one was worried about the fact that I wasn’t switching choreography every eight counts (do you EVER switch your moves every eight count at the club? I don’t. Well, on those rare occasions when I get out). No one was worrying about whether I straightened out one leg while I bent the other one as I did my basic salsa step. In those moments, we were one with the music in our own way.
And, after class, we were ALL soaking wet with sweat. We WORKED without getting worked up about nothing. Zumba isn’t an analytical activity.
Work hard but don’t work yourself up thinking too hard. It’s just Zumba, not a dance audition. Thank God. Those things stress me out. 🙂
See you on the dance floor!