So, my Facebook newsfeed has been a mass feed of three things this season: kids in pumpkin patches, people selling products, and Zumba. I'll get to sorting my pumpkin patch pictures soon and the only thing I am selling these days is the Greatest Leadership Program for Girls, so in honor of several friends getting their Zumba licenses over the last few months and another friend taking the plunge this month (yay, CL!), I thought it was time to post again what I like to consider "Zumba Etiquette."
Or, in other words, "Know Your Role, People!"
This was originally posted on Monday, November 4, 2013.
Zumba Etiquette 101 (OR What the instructors want to tell you but are too nice to say outloud)
This post is brought to you as a friendly public service announcement. Names and places have been changed to protect the innocent.
[Oh, heck, who I am kidding? Y'all know where I Zumba and with whom I Zumba.]
I LOVE it when friends and family come to try out Zumba at Heart in Sol. I get that nervous "Oh, I hope they liked it" after they come to their first class. And then I get the relieved "Yay! They came back!" feeling when they come back for a second and third and tenth time. I know it takes courage to step into your first Zumba class. And most of you know it took me about 4 months after receiving my Living Social gift to take that plunge myself, and I've been doing it about 18 months now pretty religiously. There is almost always a new person whenever I attend a Zumba class and, whether I know them or not, I get those "yay for you! hope you have fun! don't be scared!" thoughts that I wish I could telepathically send across the room to them.
Though I am obviously not an instructor, I do spend quite a bit of time with a few licensed instructors, and we have gotten into some great conversations recently about the fact that there is an unspoken "Zumba Etiquette."
So, humor me for a few minutes as I walk you though some Zumba Class Rules to help you (and more importantly, those around you) have a most enjoyable experience...
Zumba Class Rule #1 (and my favorite):
Zumba Class Rule #2 (my own expansion of Rule #1): Don't worry about what you look like because no one is looking at you anyway.
[Seriously, the class is so fast moving and action-packed that no one has time to worry about what you look like because they are trying to keep themselves in check.]
Zumba Class Rule #3: If you want to claim a "good spot" then get to class early.
[It's first come, first served, people. You come in late, you get what's leftover. Period.]
Zumba Class Rule #4: Respect the "Markers."
[Building on Rule #3, for those people who were able to come early and "claim" a preferred spot with a water bottle/hairbrush/jacket/tennis shoe/rubber band/whatever, please be mindful of that claimed spot and find another one. Seriously.]
Zumba Class Rule #5: Respect the "Personal Space" of your fellow attendees.
[And building on rules #3 and #4, once you find your alternate space, please make sure you have left enough room that you are not invading the personal space of another Zumba attendee. There is a lot of booty shaking and shimmying going on, and you need some arm and leg room. Trust me.]
Zumba Class Rule #6: Respect the "Personal Space" of your instructor.
[Just as important as in class rule #5, the instructor also needs his/her space. Imagine a fishing dock coming out in front of the instructor about 3-4 feet. Avoid this area. If they move forward when you move forward...Do you see where this is going??? Give them room to get their own shimmying and body rolling on. This could also be referred to as the "splash zone" in some instructors' classes. For realz.]
Zumba Class Rule #7: When the instructor says to "wooo," you "wooo." And "wooo" hard.
[Speaking of instructors, I am just in complete awe of them, and they have my utmost respect. They spend so much time and energy into crafting the very best 45-60 minute class that they can. They give 110% to their attendees, so how sad is it when they only get 57% back? They want to see you having fun. They want to see smiles and hear you having fun. We need to give that back to them. So, just "wooo" people.]
[Side note about verbal participation in class: Wooo-ing and yow-ing is great. Talking to your neighbor about where your husband is taking you for dinner this weekend or gasp, even YAWNING during class, is not.]
Zumba Class Rule #8: "Front and Center" is not where you start off your Zumba experience.
[While the instructors love a good, enthusiastic participant (see rule #7), if it's your first time attending a class, front row center may not be the place for you to start. There are other people in that class who want to see what's going on, and they don't need to be trying to look around you to get their sights set on the instructor. It's harsh, I know. But I'm just being honest. Not to mention, having a first-timer all up in the instructor's personal space (see rule #6) can be very distracting to them.]
Zumba Class Rule #9: If you are trying to be perfect, you probably aren't having fun.
[This statement was said out loud in one of my first classes and I just KNEW it was directed at me. I took it to heart and never forgot it. Your Zumba class is not Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance. Don't stress over getting all the moves right- especially your 1st, 2nd or even 10th time. Just have fun. Do your best, but don't stress. 'Cause remember rule #2.]
So, whether you have been taking classes for years, just started recently, or have been tossing that thought around your head for a while, trust me when I say that both the instructor and the folks around you will appreciate the effort you make in following the above rules.
And when all else fails, enjoy that unexpected solo and give a big 'ole loud "woo!" 'Cause you are burning some crazy calories while having the time of your life.