Oh yes! I’m a licensed Zumba instructor after completing a 2-full day Basic 1 Instructor Training course with Zumba®. I know it must seem pretty absurb for someone like myself who doesn’t have a trimmed tummy with flat abs or tone body. My fitness journey has only just started not too long ago. Being a licensed Zumba instructor was just one of my goals of staying committed to exercise,weaving in fitness into my lifestyle and encouraging others to pursue similar fitness goals to stay healthy.
Five months ago, I was not-too-fit girl who dislikes exercising and waking out of bed to hit the gym. I mean, why do people even run on the treadmill? It was sort of like a brainless and monotonous activity to me and I couldn’t even understand why people just love going to the gym to lift weights and perform their crunches and sit-ups. But now I do because right now, I am one of those gym fanatics who can’t stop going to the gym for work-outs. Lifting weights while looking at myself in the mirror and doing squats with the dumbbells could be such a pleasurable and adrenaline-pumping activity for me right now. Why? Because you just can’t help feeling that you are growing stronger each day. Now, I totally understand the mentality of bodybuilders and superman-lookalike guys who love watching themselves in the mirror doing the biceps curls and shoulder presses. It’s cool and addictive.
But the biggest drawing factor for me in the gym is the group classes. To date, I could say that I’ve tried almost all the different classes in the gym and I do enjoy all the yoga, pilates, Zumba and Les Mills classes so far but the classes which I look forward every week are the dance classes which requires alot of concentration of the mind and body. Like what my instructor would always say, dancing is like a memory game. And the very fact that it works somehow like a ‘game’, I find it really enticing, fun and challenging at the same time.
For some very strange reasons, I kind of regretted not taking up any dance classes or trainings when I was much younger so that I could learn how to become a better dancer. I kind of knew that I love to dance since I was 13 years old, but I chose to focus on singing and underwent courses, trainings and competitions to groom myself up to become a better singer. As for now, I do felt a little too old to pursue my interests in dancing professionally. Though it may take me years to be trained professionally as a dancer, but at least, I knew I had to pursue my passion – like, right now before it’s all too late. I might not know how things might turn out later but I just want to keep doing what I love before my passion for it dies out.
But there comes the next question, what type of dance would I like to focus on? Hip-hop or street jazz? Which dance style works best for me? I couldn’t decide.Since I couldn’t come to a decision, I thought maybe I should go for Zumba which is latin-inspired dance fitness class that incorporates mainly Latin music. Since there isn’t any Zumba dance training course, I went for the Zumba Instructor course, thinking that I could probably learn a thing or two about Zumba and how to do the right Zumba moves.
Before the 2-day instructor course, I’ve only attended less than 15 lessons of Zumba from the day I joined the gym but I felt rather confident about Zumba-ing because I had no problem following and remembering the dance step patterns. All along, I thought that Zumba was just some dance aerobics sort of workout which a cardiovascular workout that could burn about 500 to 700 calories in each 50 min workout session. But my perspective of Zumba has changed after the lecture taught by David Velez. Zumba, itself, is not just all about dance and having fun while jamming with the music. It’s specially-designed cardio and toning workout through dance to help you lose weight or get fitter and toner. And to burnt 500 to 700 calories, you really need to learn how to do the moves rightly and accurately to work those abs. By simply marching on the floor and swaying your hips from side to side, you are already working your tummy and abs. You could even feel the burning sensations in the abdomen muscles!
It’s also a fitness programme which is catered to all, whether you’re a 6-year old child or 60 year-old grandma. Anyone can do Zumba. And precisely because anyone can dance Zumba, anyone could also sign up for the Zumba instructor course. But here’s the catch, not everyone can be a good Zumba instructor even after the 2-day training course. It’s easy to dance but teaching other how to dance is a total different thing altogether.
If you inspired to become a Zumba instructor or you just want to learn more about Zumba since you’re a die-hard Zumba fan, here’s how you can sign up for this course. Simply visit zumba.com official website and search for the tab ‘instructor trainings’. From there, you will be able to find out there are any current Zumba trainings happening in Singapore. There are different types of instructor training but for Zumba entry-level instructors, you will need to take either Basic Training 1 or Zumba Gold course in order to be qualified to take other training courses like Zumbatonic or AquaZumba. The website is very informative and I suggest that you really explore the site and read more about the instructor training details before signing up.
The training venue varies from time to time and this time, it took place at Ang Mo Kio Community Centre with David Velez, as our master trainer and lecturer. David Velez himself was groomed and taught by Beto Perez, the creator of Zumba fitness. Did you know that Zumba was discovered by incident? Creative sparks always appear out of the blue.
You must be thinking that we would spent hours and hours dancing our socks off right? But no. This training programme also has a lecture component where we were taught about the objectives and basics of Zumba and how Zumba became popular. The information shared by David wasn’t available on print or online sites so I find his sharing and lectures really informative,valuable and useful.We also get to learn how to choreograph dance moves as well as the Zumba class format and structure.
The profile of the students here were rather mixed – some were fitness instructors, trainers, dance teachers or Zumba fanatics. Oh, I actually met one of my Body Balance instructor during the course too! And the age range of the students were pretty wide – I was probably one of the younger ones among the crowd and the older ones are probably in their fifties or sixties. I guess it’s always good to start out young so that you can enjoy the ‘perks’ and ‘benefits’ among other older participants! There were about 55 of us training to become licensed instructors.
Occasionally, we would stand up to dance but there were also occasions where we had to listen and jot down important notes. Zumba is just not all about dance moves, really. There’s so much technicalities and knowledge involved in this dance fitness program. In my opinion, two days isn’t really enough to master Zumba or to be even trained well enough to become an outstanding Zumba instructor. I’ve attended several classes taught by various Zumba instructors and I must honestly say that not everyone of them is really good. Some instructors taught boring dance moves while others could not really connect or build a rapport with the participants. Like what David Velez had also told us, Zumba instructor, is just like any other profession which requires a certain sets of skills and experiences.
Each group was sent on stage to perform their own dance choreography!
After this two-day training course, we could only pride ourselves as licensed Zumba instructors and not, certified Zumba instructors because there is no examinations or test carried out to assess our ability to teach or to conduct a class. David singled out the distinct differences in qualifications right at the beginning of this course and he further emphasized that you can’t teach Zumba anywhere unless you’ve undergo this basic training course. Even if you can dance Zumba, you have no permission or rights to call yourself a Zumba instructor. Yes, they are pretty serious about licensing and copy wright issues here. And even if you have accomplised the basic training course, you could only teach Zumba for one year. To prolong your instructor status, you will need to sign up their Zumba Instructor Network called ZIN where you are required to pay a monthly membership of USD30. In the end, it amounts up to quite a large sum of money to become a Zumba instructor. Unless you are intending to be a full-time Zumba instructor, joining the ZIN membership might not be necessary at the moment.
For myself, I don’t think I am comfortable pulling off a Zumba class on my own yet but I do intend to teach energetic kids how to Zumba! That would mean I would need to work really hard to master the latin dance moves. This would include salsa-ing and reggae-ing from one place to another, within my house. And if you happen to see a girl twisting her hips from side to side and doing the salsa right and left moves on the streets, that could very be … me. Don’t snigger, promise?
David Velez presented my long-awaited licensed Zumba instructor certificate to me!