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A Random Rant On Zumba Subs

It’s been awhile since I wrote a Zumba post and a big part of that is I haven’t been in three weeks.

I’ve been running around like a maniac trying to see my friend who has been in the hospital (she’s out now!!) and when not exhausted, hanging out with my older gentleman friend for lovely meals.

Yesterday was my first day back. I was looking forward to it, because I know I always just feel better mentally and physically after class.

Well, I remember we got emails that there was a different schedule with different instructors because the regular instructors were on vacation.

So, yesterday was my first time with one of their subs.

It was a strange experience.

I think the Zumba instructor was good, but I don’t know if I wasn’t feeling her, or just not feeling her routine or I wasn’t receptive to change and of all places, my Zumba sanctuary.

So here was my main beef. The class did not feel challenging at all.

Usually, if I’ve been gone for two weeks, that first class back is hell. I feel it. So that let’s me know right there, we didn’t go in as hard as we could have.

Nope, it all felt rather pedestrian. There were moments I made myself jump higher or squat deeper, because I just wasn’t getting “there.”

Usually Zumba classes are always going to have a hip-hop song, latin song, Caribbean song, sometimes Bollywood and in general high-energy world music (I hate the term world music, but I’m sure you know exactly what I mean).

Usually all of the Zumba instructors follow a formula and always include some standard moves, so no matter who you take it with, if you’ve done it enough, the steps will be familiar and easy to pick up regardless of the song or the instructor.

So fine, the sub was doing all the moves, but she lost me when she played a rock and roll song from the 1950s.

I was irritated. The elderly women, whom I love dearly were doing their thang, but I felt like I was no longer in Zumba, but at Sweatin to the Oldies with Richard Simmons. A good friend actually took a class with the master himself, but she at least was actually sweating. And damn it Richard Simmons is entertaining as all get out.

Not only was I upset at the studio being momentarily transformed into a sock hop, I was further irritated that she swiped moves like the quickstep, which I identified from Dancing With the Stars.

I don’t claim to be a Zumba expert by any means. But I think she was really stretching the line. To me,  Zumba music has to be beat and rhythm driven, primarily with world music. Even when there’s too much popular music, I get a bit annoyed (“Move Like Jagger” is the only pop song I give a pass on).

The other part of the class that always makes me feel odd is often during the hip hop portion. Because I’m young and black, I think people assume I’m going to do those moves well and I feel people watching me.

But the other thing is, now that there are hip hop dance classes, (and the popularity of it growing on shows like So You Think You Can Dance, when it gets to the mainstream and in Zumba classes) sometimes the moves feel watered down to be consumed by the masses, and I sometimes feel goofy doing those too.

While I’m glad that hip hop is being accepted by the formal dance community, I won’t say it’s lost it’s edge, but it kind of feels like WalMart came to town and killed all of my favorite mom and pop stores.

I may have been a grumpy Gus yesterday and not receptive to change. But for all of my Zumba heads out there, have you ever had an instructor get a bit too experimental in terms of the music and their choices made you scratch your head in confusion?


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