February 24, 2020

Zumba is my happy place

Filed under: adventures in the world of today,bloggery,Fitness,things Rhiannon likes,Zumba — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 8:33 am

On the 4th of January 2018 I took my first Zumba class. “This is a happy class,” Eli, the instructor told me. “It doesn’t matter if you know the steps.” She was right about the first part. Zumba makes me smile, every time. But she didn’t know me then and it matters to me passionately to get the steps right.

A year ago today, I went to dinner with three friends, a belated birthday celebration. (I like to stretch my birthday out across the whole of February.) I was interviewing for marketing jobs and hadn’t got one yet. (Spoiler: I did get a job, and was offered three in one week.) “Maybe I’ll train as a Zumba instructor,” I told them. “Zumba is my happy place.”

I’ve always liked to dance and I went to dance camp most summers as a teenager. But after I grew up any dancing I did was at the occasional party until I got into fitness back in 2017 and discovered Zumba. “What exactly is Zumba?” a friend asked at one of this year’s many birthday celebrations. “It’s a class where you follow choreography led by an instructor,” I told her. “There are lots of different styles of dance but the four core rhythmns are reggaeton, salsa, merengue and – that one I can never remember.” (it’s cumbia.)

The reason she was asking was that I’d told my friends I’d booked that Zumba instructor training. And on 22 February I spent a day in Kingston upon Thames being taught by Caroline Crowe the science of Zumba, every class is designed to get the partipants fit and active, while making it feel like a party; the history of Zumba, which began when Beto Perez forgot his usual aerobics music and taught to songs he’d recorded from the radio; and business of Zumba, a franchise brand where instructors are licenced to teach.

And now I am licenced to teach. I’ve set up my profile on the ZIN website and I’m learning a choice of choreo for my first class. “So are you going to be a Zumba instructor now?” my Mum asked me in our weekly phone call. “Well, yes,” I said. “But that’s not all I want to be. I havem’t given up on my writing and I find working in marketing satisfying too. What I want is a lifestyle where my different skills and interests support and draw skill from each other.”

When I attended that first Zumba class I had no idea where it would lead. I never imagined I (a largely desk bound cerebral sort of person) could have a qualification to teach dance. But I do! And it brings me such happiness. One of the things I love about Zumba is that it’s open to everyone, it’s a form of fitness that’s inclusive and celebratory and full of love. I want to make other people feel as happy as Zumba makes me.

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