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Entries in Zumba fitness (7)


What Is Zumba Step?

In the beginning of 2014 a variation of Zumba emerged, called Zumba Step. When I'd first heard in 2013 that it was being developed, I was thrilled because the first class I ever taught as an exercise instructor was advanced step. It seemed this class could be the perfect combination of step and dance fitness. Excited as I was, I couldn't imagine how the two formats could merge. Would it use classic step moves like repeater knees and turn steps, or would it include more Zumba moves, using the step only as a prop? When I took the training with Acea Theroux, he made me a believer. It was an exciting, effective workout that truly did blend Zumba and the feel of a classic step class.

Zumba Step focuses on working the lower body (legs, gluts). The choreography is more basic and the music tempo slightly slower than a regular Zumba class, because you have to work with the step bench. There are plenty of squats and lunges but still with the fun factor of Zumba. A one hour class might include 10-12 songs each with different choreography, similar to a Zumba class. Acea made it look so easy!

Interest at my gym was high so I expected an instant hit of a class. Um, wrong. This has been the most challenging class I've ever taught. There were two types of students trying the class: the longtime steppers and the longtime Zumba-ites. The steppers wanted high intensity and found the lesser cueing frustrating (step instructors are constantly shouting out cues before each move, while Zumba instructors rarely use verbal cues); the Zumba crowd found the toned-down choreography boring and had trouble navigating the step bench. I spent the first few months trying to please each group, realizing that my watered-down class was pleasing no one, including myself.

For once I'm thankful for my stubbornness, and through a journey of trial and errors (many!) I'm still standing with this class and have developed a personal style that I'm sticking with. I guess you could apply a lesson like this to any new scary and unfamiliar venture: Go with your gut. Highlight your strengths. And don't back down when you feel you're doing the right thing, even if some doubt you. But be humble to hear criticism, especially from people you trust.

To give you a taste, below is a basic routine that I use as a warm-up. To try out a Zumba Step class near you, check out the Zumba website!


Last Levy Post...maybe

Semi-finals are here so just a few more weeks to see William Levy strut his stuff on Dancing with the Stars! Even though he definitely comes in #1 for charisma, I'm not betting he'll win because some of the ladies (i.e., Katherine) have better lines, footwork and all that. I made one more video in honor of him before the season ends. This was his salsa from week 3, which I like the best so far because he seemed to be having the most fun with it. You can see his original dance here. I love the song accompanying it "La Vida Es Un Carnaval," which was actually sitting in my iPod playlist for a few years because I couldn't think of interesting choreo to match it. That song with Levy moving to it was all the inspiration I needed!



Inspired by a Mr. William Levy

My Zumba students have been bearing my mini obsession with William Levy this season on Dancing with the Stars. I first noticed this Cuban cutie patootie over a year ago on Real Housewives of Miami and wasn't surprised when he became an overnight sensation on DWTS. The guy is easy to look at, is a natural on the dance floor, and seems genuinely humble about all the attention...what's not to love? Anyway I was so excited to see him highlighted every week that I incorporated some of his dance moves into my Zumba routines. A few brave class members indulged my creative juices by dancing with me in a couple of YouTube vids. Below is a variation on Levy's second dance, the quickstep. Not the typical Latin flavor but still a lot of fun! You can check out his original dance here.