{January 23, 2013}   For Love of Zumba

Hello my fit cats and kittens! How was your long holiday weekend? I have to say that mine was delicious. I got to see some old friends, made new ones, spent some quality time with my love and got some extra burn sessions in. I’m finding new ways to get in exercise and it’s becoming second nature to make better choices for my body and soul. Like Michael Buble said, “I’m feeling good!”

 Today I’d like to share one of my favorite workouts with you, Zumba! I’m sure everyone in the world has at least heard of Zumba and knows someone who takes Zumba classes. Many of you what Zumba is so I won’t get into the back story righ now, but I will say that it’s a dance fitness workout that’s set to some awesome Latin rhythms such as Salsa, Cumbia, Reggeton, and other world music rhythms such as Calypso for truly international feel. Zumba is an interval training workout, meaning you You can visit for more in depth info and the bio of Zumba’s creator, Beto.


My love affair with Zumba began back when the DVDs first came out. Many of you who know me personally know that I’m a fitness DVD addict with an even greater weakness for dance workout DVDs so you know I jumped all over this! I tried it the day it came in the mail and was instantly hooked. Now I can’t attest to any amount of weight lost with the DVDs simply because I wasn’t consistent with my workouts and healthy eating habits way back when. I used the DVDs off an on, mainly for stress relief or for when I couldn’t get to a dance class.


For years, I had known about Zumba classes out in gyms and dance studios, but I never had the urge to go to one since I had the DVDs at home and figured that it’d be the same moves just a different instructor. I remember posting a Facebook status where I asked if there was any difference between the DVDs and the classes. A number of my friends said that the atmosphere of the class pushed you and made you want to go all out. The classes got you hyped because you were doing this incredible workout with other people. Still I put off going to class. A couple of months after I posted that status, my best friend asked for my help in losing weight and I suggested Zumba classes. The class we went to was way to fast, even for me, a woman who has been dancing most of her life. I kept up (barely), my friend struggled, and we never went back. I enjoyed the class but I wanted something that was closer to the DVDs in that the moves repeated numerous times and everyone from the 60+ year old in the back to the 10 year old in the front could follow it. That wasn’t this class.


Some months later, my good friend, Ms. Alyson Sousa got her Zumba instructor certification and invited me to her week of free classes. Now this was more my style! The moves weren’t intimidating and the moves were perfect. It didn’t feel like there was any move that couldn’t be executed. The pace was such that you felt like you were just grooving but still getting your sweat on. The atmosphere she created as an instructor was lighthearted, energetic, and just pure fun.  I truly enjoyed her class. She mixes the popular music with the traditional Zumba songs and rhythms, giving students like me a unique experience! I can’t say enough good things about Alyson’s class, but then again, she’s a friend so I could be a little biased.  Sadly, I haven’t been able to attend regularly due to my financial situation but I do go whenever I can.


I sat down with Alyson a few weeks ago and asked her why she became an instructor and to glean some advice for those who may be toying with the idea of becoming a Zumba instructor. Alyson told me her story and took me on her road to hosting classes. She hopped on an opportunity presented by a friend to travel to Cuba and while she was there, she fell absolutely in love with the people and the music. She decided to learn everything about dance that she could. When she returned home, she looked into dance classes. She loved regular classes that teach technique, but she wanted something less intimidating, something that was welcoming and made a dancer feel good no matter their level of training. Then, she found Zumba. During a brief period of unemployment, she began taken Zumba classes 2 to 3 per week not necessarily to lose weight but just to break up her day. She also began to take care of herself in other ways such as, sleeping 7-8 hours a night, eating healthier and drinking more water. (Things we all should be doing people!) People around her began to notice changes in her body and attitude. She loved the classes and wanting to reach people through dance, she decided to become an instructor. Alyson made the trek to upstate New York to obtain her certification and the rest is history. She currently holds classes in the fitness center of her apartment building in Manhattan and is currently planning to earn her second certification in Zumba Toning.


After my first class with Alyson, I began bouncing the idea of becoming an instructor myself around in my head. Since she’s been there/done that, I asked her for some tips. Here’s what she told me:


1)      You have to know who is going to be in your classes. Do you want to teach Zumba to kids? Are you teaching older adults or will there be a mix? You have to be mindful of the different demographics. You will have people who’ve been doing Zumba for years right beside people who have two left feet and are scared out of their minds so an instructor needs to tailor their classes and choreography to meet the needs of their participants.

2)      Be sure you have time to dedicate to your business! You have to build your own playlist(s), create choreography and rehearse it, and you have to think of how you’re going to cue the moves since Zumba is mostly non-verbal. You also have to think about marketing and how to get people to your classes.

3)      Invest in the Zumba gear. Alyson says this isn’t a must but it helps her look and feel more official.


I loved what Alyson said when I asked her about people who may be scared to go to a Zumba class because they aren’t coordinated or don’t feel that they’re dancers. She feels exactly the same way I do: JUST GO! Zumba is for everyone regardless of ability. It’s meant to get you moving, to get you burning calories, to get you to let go and have fun. It’s meant to make you feel good about doing something good for yourself. Find an instructor that fits your style, your needs, your level and go from there.


I love the idea of leading a class of my own one day. It may not happen until I’m nearly done with school in 2014, but you can believe that it’s on my list of things to do!

I have to thank the amazing Alyson Sousa for the interview, for having brunch with me and allowing me to pick her brain. I plan to resume attending classes as often as possible once I don’t have to be so tight with my purse strings. Will you join me?


divineblu says:

I totally agree with you with the right instructor and great ppl surrounding u and everyone is having fun is the perfect dose of ZUMBA to get anyone started on their journey. U are bless to find someone who makes you feel comfortable doing zumba trust me it isn`t easy. i been doing Zumba for 6 yrs I luv it but I have walk out of classes because they were horrible so i totally understand.:)

Thank you Taye! You captured everything beautifully here! I can’t wait to see you again in class, and hopefully some others will be just as inspired to come after reading this post. For those reading who want more information, my website is:

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