When I started teaching Zumba at BellaVita three months ago, I spent so much time preparing for class – choreographing (and re-choreographing) routines; practicing them over and over; choosing and ordering playlists; replaying a song to the point where I was almost sick of it before I even introduced it in class. I was also anxious about class turn-out, because there are soo many great instructors to choose from in NYC, and BellaVita’s existing clients seemed to already have their fave instructors. As expected, things started off a little slow. Some days I only had one or two students (“so this will be a nice intimate class…*awkward grin*”) and some days only family and friends came (my “VIP” class – thanks guys!).
In the last month, though, I started spending less prep time than before. I have just about 30 routines ingrained in my muscle memory that I can easily rotate and swap around to keep class interesting (I average 14 songs/class). I used to try to add at least one new routine every week, but then realized that my students had their favorite songs and I needed to give them more time with each one. Again, this was probably because I had heard it a bajillion more times than they did. I also added a Tuesday class. Soon enough some students started coming on a regular basis. This past Tuesday, I had 12 people in class – and only one was family! That may seem small but it was pretty darn exciting. I was even able to rotate the lines so everyone had a chance at the front – granted the studio isn’t that big so it can easily get cramped, but still, progress. It also helps that the studio director is extremely supportive and awesome.
[getting low with a toning routine to “Royals” by Lorde]
My next goal is to get my group exercise certification because it’ll help me as a teacher. Also, a lot of gyms require it, and I’d like to eventually teach at other places. I’ve still got a ways to go before I’m near the same level as my favorite instructors. There are occasionally times when I have to psyche myself up for teaching, because I’m not totally into it that day, or moments during class when the energy lulls and it’s difficult to bring back up. But when students come up to me afterward to say they had fun, or to ask when else I teach, or to simply say thank you, I’m reminded that I started this journey to help others feel good, to have a moment to forget their stresses and enjoy themselves. Because that’s what Zumba gives me, and why I love it so much.