Serious groupies swear by Zumba's blend of Latin and international rhythms and high-energy dance moves. Nevertheless, the Zumba Fitness experience can be intimidating for newbies, but you'll probably feel right at home once you've learned the basic steps. To truly master the movements, your best bet is to join a class taught by a certified Zumba Fitness instructor. If you want to prepare in advance for your first class or review what you've learned, you can learn some basic steps at home.
Licensed Zumba Fitness instructors offer classes in gyms, community centers, schools, churches and hospitals throughout the world. The official Zumba Fitness website lets you search for a class in your area. You'll notice that Zumba teachers generally offer little in terms of verbal instruction. Don't let that frustrate you; you'll learn quickly enough without it. The choreography is deliberately simple and repetitive, typically involving only four or five steps per song. Just position yourself where you can see the teacher well and concentrate on mastering the footwork first, keeping your arms at your sides or your hands on your hips. When you feel more confident, add arm, hip, torso and head movements.
If you don't feel ready for the "party scene," learn the basics at home. Zumba Fitness has produced CDs, DVDs and video games to complement, supplement or replace standard group classes. You can purchase your own products from the official Zumba Fitness online store or try borrowing them from your local library. Learning at home lets you progress at your own pace, builds muscle memory and boosts self confidence. Ultimately, it's a great way to prep yourself for your foray into group classes.
Try searching online for quality videos demonstrating basic Zumba Fitness steps. When you search for a particular move, add the word "basic" to your search terms so you pull up instructions for the simplest variation of the move. A search for "Zumba basic cumbia" or "Zumba basic merengue" can help you find demonstrations that are most suitable for beginners. Look for a presenter who is certified to teach Zumba Fitness, breaks down the moves and offers clear verbal instruction and whose movements are crisp and easy to follow.
Unlike some other dance-based fitness programs, Zumba Fitness leaves a lot of room for personal style. Whether you're at home or in class, don't feel pressured to perform or look a certain way or to copy the instructor's every move. Once you master the basic footwork, let your body relax and enjoy moving freely to the music. If adding arm and head movements, picking up the pace, traveling or changing direction confuses you, go back to the most basic variation of the step. Try keeping your movements small and closer to the ground until you become more comfortable.
- American Council on Exercise: Zumba Fitness: Sure It’s Fun But Is It Effective?
- Methods of Group Exercise Instruction -- 3rd Edition; Carol Kennedy-Armbruster and Mary Yoke
- Zumba Fitness: Classes