Tonight I actually took her Wednesday, 8 p.m. Zumba class at Steps on Broadway. Because I had such a fabulous experience, I wanted to share it with all of you. It is also my belief that all singers should get their butts into a zumba class as soon as possible.
So - without further ado - here was my Zumba experience.
I am a pretty darn fit person and have experience with a very diverse variety of dance techniques/classes. I went to zumba, feeling a little strange having sneakers on my feet and not character shoes and a bit apprehensive because rhythmic latin movements aren't exactly my forte. However, Miss Danielle immediately made me feel at ease by learning everyone's name (magic memory skills) and ecouraging us to smile, have fun, and SING along to the music. She then put on some latin music (the music, for the record ranged, from samba to bollywood to Glee to the golden oldies) and began to sing loudly, proudly, and incredibly joyfully off-key - which made everyone in the class (who ranged from professional dancers to students who were true beginners) feel free to make fools of themselves, let loose, and have fun both physically and vocally.
What sets Zumba apart from other dance classes for me is that you never stop moving. It is a true cardio workout! Your legs and arms are constantly moving, be it fancy footwork, jumping, or gliding. Without even knowing it, you are giving your core a massive workout just from coordinating your arms and legs together. While there is certainly a Zumba technique, the class seems to be more about getting yourself moving - which makes it appropriately challenging for ANY level. Professional dancers will get just as much of a workout as a movement novice. Miss Danielle's class has a wonderful mix of highs and lows, so you do get some breathing time. Before this experience, I have taken a grand total of ONE Zumba class. It was at a health club in Florida and there was no breathing time - it was all the highest energy jumping and samba-ing possible. It nearly killed me! I definitely appreciated the mix of high energy and calm energy Miss Danielle provided. More importantly - Miss Danielle creates a completely judgement free environment where she runs around the room dancing with and high fiving her students. We even did a conga line at the end of class! I can't remember a time I smiled so much during a class!
While it's not necessarily movement you will directly use in an audition or choreography for a show, it is invaluable for the cardiovascular workout it gives you AND simply getting you moving, accustomed to shifting weight, standing on one leg, and jumping. If you are IN a show, you will appreciate this - as dancing through a whole number is far different than the 48 count snippet they give you in a jazz class. Since Miss Danielle has you vocalizing while Zumba-ing (to make sure you are breathing) - you even get a little practice at singing and dancing at the same time! I TRULY BELIEVE EVERY SINGER SHOULD TAKE ZUMBA! Anyone who is looking for a class to get started in the dance world should DEFINITELY get to a Zumba class ASAP - any dancer looking to improve their stamina should get to a Zumba class ASAP - and anyone just looking to have a fun dancing time should get to a Zumba class ASAP. Basically - this entry is one big Zumba advertisement!
For those of you who would like to watch a video of what Zumba is so you know what to expect when you walk into class - here is a special the TODAY SHOW did back in 2007!
And here is a Zumba fitness basic steps demo!
I hope to see you in Zumba class!!!!