Zumba is my jam

One of the things on my bucket list was to become licensed as a Zumba instructor. I think I’ve been doing Zumba for 9 years now, and from 2008-2013, especially the last year or so, I did it 4-5x/week. And was in the best shape of my life.

Last year, I finally had the time and resources to take the licensing course. And oh, I felt out of shape. I had not been taking classes because I couldn’t find any that worked with my schedule. I felt like, “What must the rest of the class think of me, tripping around here, that I could actually think I’m good at this?”

It was kind of like the recital I gave in September 2011 at Carroll University, when I had not been singing anything or anywhere for about 6 years (other than vocalises in my basement), and had just resumed regular lessons. I was out of shape. I wasn’t singing well, the pieces I picked were kind of random and not really songs that spoke to me, and I was no role model at that point. That was a butt-kicker. That’s when I started to work regularly with Connie Haas, and to work on myself, not just everyone else.

I joined a gym here in Baltimore that offered some Zumba classes, but not enough that worked with my schedule. So I just expanded my membership (much as I did with the WAC in Milwaukee) to include other classes, and I have been branching out and going to the other classes. Today I took a class in Zumba Toning, which involves light weights plus Zumba. And it was fun. I’ve mentioned my licensing, and one of the teachers told me that they were looking for subs. I demurred, saying that I’m still not up to snuff yet, and she said, “It’s okay, we’ll mentor you.” So there’s that.

In both cases, I had to expand myself. I wasn’t getting enough by doing Zumba videos at home or by going to the gym down the street. I wasn’t getting enough as a singer by demonstrating things for students in my basement and fitting in practice when I could.

Back in 2012 (a year after that horrible Carroll recital), I sang on a recital at Cardinal Stritch University, and I sang the Rossini “La Regata Veneziana.” Those pieces felt like home to me. During my preparation, a little over 5 years ago now, I posted on Facebook:

“La regata veneziana” kicking my a$$ but in a good way. Like vocal Zumba.

And it was like vocal Zumba. It was hard, it challenged me, but it was stuff I loved, stuff that felt natural (ultimately) and fulfilling. And I need to find more things like that – music that feels like home and that I want to share with others.

That’s the way I feel about Zumba, and that’s why I want to teach that too.

Singing is my jam. Zumba is my jam.

And now I want some jam.

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