What Are Zumba Classes?

Posted by Obi Simpson on Thursday, October 10, 2013 Under: Zumba FAQ

What Are Zumba Classes?

     Zumba Classes are a fusion of Latin dance movements and exercise that provides the ultimate fun workout experience.  Our Zumba classes here at Take The Lead are an hour long, so plan for at least 60 minutes from start to end.

     The first part of the class is an energetic warm-up that is done to an upbeat song and gets students in the mood to dance followed by a transition into actual dance songs across various styles.  Each song has its own choreography/ dance routine that is created by the instructor to fit the music.  You will be exposed to many different styles of dance with specialized dance moves for each song.  Each teacher has his or her own flair, so the same song may have two completely different routines for two different teachers.  There are a few common steps including salsa basics, jazz squares, cha-cha triple steps, and side-tap steps.

     Traditional aerobics and dance classes will teach you one movement at a time until you have a routine that is repeated over and over.  Zumba teachers, however, use different musical phrases as the basis of their choreography.  This allows for each section of the song to have its own "mini routine" that you will dance when that part of the song is heard.  For example, in some songs, the beat may drop off and perhaps a trumpet may be featured over all of the other sounds and the move might be to shake your hips side to side emphasizing each blast of the horn.  
     Also unlike other fitness classes, the environment feels like a party.  Like most thumping parties, there is no rest between songs.  Participants are encouraged to hop out to re hydrate whenever necessary. 

     Instead of a traditional class setting, Zumba classes are built around the premise that watching and doing are more closely related than listening and doing.  This means that teachers primarily leads classes by the movements of their bodies and do not rely on verbal communication.  Instead, they may cue a movement or direction change with hand signals, claps, whistles, and even shouting "whoop whoops" to get the classes attention.  Overall, Zumba classes are design to be a learn as you go via musical phrase repetition and by example.  
     This can be incredibly frustrating for beginning dancers who feel as though they need a little extra hand holding.  Since Zumba classes tend to use many of the same songs from one class to the next, dancers find that they will get the hang of it after only two or three Zumba classes. 

     Zumba Classes always end with a cool down that incorporates simple dance steps integrated with both static and dynamic stretching to bring your body back from an elevated heart rate.  Additional stretching is recommended after class because a Zumba cool down only covers major muscle groups such as arms, legs, and torso. 

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Obi Simpson This blog is designed to educate people on the benefits of dancing in Springfield MO.


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