Zumba. The ubiquitous fitness phenomenon. There’s hardly a gym in America, let alone Charlotte, that doesn’t offer at least one Zumba class, and with the profusion of this high-energy activity in the Queen City, many people want to know how they too can become a Zumba instructor.
The first step is to find an instructor workshop via Zumba.com. The interested party will also note that Zumba instructional workshops sell out quickly! One must book a few weeks in advance to assure themselves a spot in the class.
In North Carolina, one of the most popular Zumba Education Specialists (ZES) is Loretta Bates, a Raleigh-Durham based fitness teacher. She has been doing Zumba since early 2007 and became an instructor two months after her first class. Two years later, she became a ZES and has taught a huge number of instructors since then.
Her Basic 1 instructor training workshop starts out with – what else? – a Zumba class! Loretta is a ball of fire in front of her students. She likes to whoop, yell, and interact with the class. Her fun attitude and the lively atmosphere illustrate one of the key attractions of Zumba. In her words, “I don’t know many people that have the opportunity to laugh and smile and have a great time while getting their workout in!” A quick survey after the workout shows that potential Zumba instructors come from a variety of backgrounds: fitness teachers, hip-hop and salsa dance instructors, and Zumba class participants who no want to teach.
Loretta takes a lot of time to break down the intricacies of Zumba instruction. The class reviews (by ear and by movement) the rhythm and “core” movements of salsa, merengue, cumbia, and reggaeton. They are told the importance of combining these core steps with fun, easy-to-follow choreography (either their own or routines contained within DVDs for instructors.) Loretta reiterates that routines should be easy-to-follow. People who come to your class “don’t have to get the steps right or know how to dance, [they] just have to know how to have fun!”
No point in this class is hammered home as hard as this one: the most important thing about Zumba is the music! An overwhelming majority of the music must be international. She laments that instructors use the Zumba label to get people into classes that use a majority of Pop, Hip-Hop, or other non-international music styles. To truly be Zumba, exotic rhythms of the globe must dominate.
At the end of the class, the students are congratulated as licensed (not certified) Zumba instructors and are given tips on how to create their own student base when they return home. Loretta finishes up her duties by – what else? – jumping into the ongoing Zumba class!
Fittingly, it is a class that is taught by one of her graduates.