...at least for now that is. A New Year is the right time for change. Zumba has been a huge part of my life for more than 7 years; I admit reluctantly at first. The first time I took a Zumba class I didn't like it. It was a new style of dance fitness introduced by only a few instructors in the Boston area at the time. I was used to regular dance classes with breakdowns of blocks of choreography that would be practiced continuously and then strung together as a finale performance. Zumba was so different, not much breakdown or instruction, just follow the leader. Ten to twelve different songs, all unfamiliar Latin beats. I tried different Zumba classes but still no likes.
That's why it surprises me that it has lasted this long in my life, and that I part with it with mixed feelings. I started teaching cardio dance classes around 2008 but Zumba was exploding in Boston. All of a sudden every gym wanted it on their class schedules. At one of my gyms, I was given the option to stay with my dance class or change to Zumba. Since I was already Zumba certified, I took a chance and changed. Fast forward to 2016 and I'm still teaching Zumba in that same time slot. It's a progressive gym with new classes every year including popular dance formats like Body Jam and SH'BAM, but Zumba has stayed put.
My students and employers were bewildered when I asked for the change starting this month (this would also include stopping Zumba Step, which I've taught for 2 years). Why change a successful full class? They asked that I change back to the Zumba formats if my new formats were not successful. I agreed but even if a failure, I needed to try. In my opinion, change is the most important factor for personal growth and ironically also staying young at heart. Think of the flipside: staying in the same situation for too long, especially if not dynamic enough, can kindle complacency and increasing resistance to new ideas. In other words, you get stale!
Today I can honestly say I enjoy Zumba and the effect it has on people. Those who usually hate exercise often tolerate Zumba if not completely love it because it's fun and time flies by. I have great respect for the company, which offers wonderful support to its instructor network. Teaching Zumba has pulled me out of an introverted shell so that engaging a large crowd no longer causes a panic attack. It has helped to take the focus of off me and onto others. To not be afraid of the eye contact that connects me with someone who may be going through a tough time or just needs a healthy escape for an hour. It has offered camaraderie with long time loyal students I adore who are trusting me as I force change upon them as well.
Because of all these great things, I say farewell for now with gratitude, mixed feelings and a little fear. But I guess those are the stepping stones needed to take one to the next level.