Friday, January 4, 2013

UBC Day 4 - Advice

Something I pride myself on is being a really good listener.  I have always been able to put my friends at ease so they can open up to me.  Sometimes all someone needs is for someone to listen.  They are not necessarily looking for advice or a solution to whatever problem they are having at the time.  I have been asked for advice from time to time and make it very clear that all I am doing is giving my opinion...what I would do or what I think if I were in the same situation.

When I opened up my email last night and read the prompts for today's blog post, I thought

Should I take the easy question and write a boring post about my first job at a pediatricians office?
How exciting of a post can you write about being hired to scan archived charts onto a computer?
I could always impress anyone who reads it by how I became the "Copy Machine Whisperer"...

The last prompt was something about if an cover story/article was written about my family/me, what magazine would I want it to be in and why...I do not feel like I am that interesting enough to really have an article!

So I have decided to tackle the first prompt of offering one piece of advice on a subject or activity that I am really good at.  The first thing that comes to mind is actually my mom's voice.  Listening to her talk about how clumsy our whole family my sister can trip over her own feet...while standing still (true story...I witnessed it happen once).  While my mom and my sisters are all three very artistic, my mom is very proud of the fact that I am a dancer.  I have loved to dance since I was a very little girl!  My mom put me in my first dance class at the age of six.

Almost three years ago I took my first Zumba class and within four months I became a licensed instructor!  My mom tells people that I am intimidating to watch and she is not sure how I can move the way I do.  Naturally, my first instinct for this prompt is to tell people why they should not be afraid to try Zumba.  It is not one piece of advice but a few pieces all lumped together
  • DO NOT be afraid of mirrors in the classroom.  I can tell you from personal experience that no one is watching you BUT you.  As an instructor I look around at my students and if I can tell that it looks like someone is having difficulty trying to do a step, I know how to modify and simplify so they can keep going and not get discouraged and come back for more!
  • DO ask your instructor questions!  We learn so much during our trainings that if we do not use it, we will lose it!  Ask us to help break down a step that you just cannot get!  There is not a single instructor out there around the world that will tell a student no they cannot help them.
  • DO NOT stand in the back...especially if there are mirrors or if there is no stage.  I will tell you why.  If you stand in the back of a crowded class and there is no will not be able to see the instructor and you will only get frustrated.  If you stand in the back and there are mirrors, you cannot see yourself (when I first started, I was shoved in the front by the instructor.  I was not only able to watch her but watch myself to make sure I was doing something close to what she was doing).  Being able to watch yourself move will keep you moving.  If you stand in the back and the class is practically empty, I get a little nervous.  I like to think that I have good hygiene but if there are only a couple of people in the class and they stand in the back, you can bet that I will be sneaking in armpit sniffs whenever possible to make sure I do not smell.  I am not saying you have to be front row center...but get pretty close!  Chances are, front row center is already taken and we are all possessive of our spots!
  • DO come back.  Practice makes perfect.  Just like any other workout, you have to keep going in order to see results...and just so you best friend lost something like 20 pounds by watching what she ate and doing Zumba.
  • Last, but not least, THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO ZUMBA!  You can have a dozen instructors with the same music and same choreography and every single instructor will look different.  As long as you are moving and having fun, that is all we care about!  We want you to work up a sweat and leave with a smile on your face!  I told by someone once that she took a Zumba class ONCE at her university.  The instructor singled her out and told her that she was (and I quote...hence the quotation marks) "...doing it wrong."  Rest assured that if I could, I would have gone to that instructor's class, done everything wrong and then called them out!  I wish I would have known about her experience after it had happened.  Should this ever happen to you (and I pray that it will not...and every instructor I have ever told this too has been thoroughly appalled), I want you to do the following for me...REPORT IT TO ZUMBA HOME OFFICE!  If you do not know the instructor's full name, you can click on "Find an Instructor" or "Find a Class" at  Once you have your instructor's name, there is a contact link (I think it is at the bottom of the website) and you just have to click your way through and pick the proper category.  At the very least, if enough people report these instructors, they will be informed...but if no one says anything then these instructors will never learn!
Originally I had not intended on writing about Zumba for my advice BUT these are important points to stress to our students.  If we do not help them feel comfortable and confident in class, then they will not come back and I know it breaks my heart to know that people stop going.  I also encourage everyone to take classes from other instructors!  Like I said, every instructor is different and can offer you a different perspective!  I know I love taking classes because it takes the pressure off of me to be on top of my game and if I mess up or forget one is watching me!

Until next time!