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.

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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