Thursday, 29 December 2011

The last class of 2011

Call it (or don’t) the Christmas effect, but the numbers were dwindling these last two weeks as follows: 4, 3, 2, 1... Yes just one student today. We still had our exercise but I hope there will be more people next Tuesday — which will be next year already!

The new song this week is Auld Lang Syne by Salsa Celtica: it starts as cha-cha-cha, then becomes salsa. For cool-down, I used Hippo by Johanna Juhola.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Not feeling generous

ZIN 36 CD/DVD pack arrived just in time for Christmas. Compared to ZIN’s previous offering, it is an improvement. Not very much of it, but still.

Music-wise, more of the same. The song called Taboo is nothing else but Chorando Se Foi (yes that Lambada). The only interesting one is Taki Contry which is slightly confusingly marked as “Celtic / Bluegrass”.

Now DVD. Live class in Ballerup — does not matter really, could have been anywhere. I mean, you can’t feel much of local Danish flavour. This time, Beto is on his own. I think he looks tired of all that. The camera still does not show enough close-ups; instead, now and then we have panoramic views of audience. What for? Once again, the last number, Taki Contry, is the only unusual choreo, with stepdance, Indian and country-and-western elements. I wish Beto did not take his top off though. The rest is OK, some useful moves, but not on the level of, say, ZIN 29.

One-on-one choreo with Kass Martin is even less impressive. The studio where she presents it now has some honeycomb-inspired background. Most unfortunate.

Now I really have to say a few words about this here ZIN 36 Sneak Peek. It looks like Zumba gets meaner in respect of its official videoclips too. ZIN 33 Sneak Peek was 1:29, while ZIN 35th was just under a minute. But the latest one is measly 21 seconds, several of which — frankly, quite unforgivably — show some Zumba fan adjusting her Zumbawear bra. If it was meant to make anyone curious, it fails spectacularly.

Song List

  1. La Fiesta Ya Se Encendió – Merengue *
  2. Culebra – Salsa *
  3. Rica y Apretadita – Techno Cumbia *
  4. Taboo – Axé / Urban *
  5. Chupeta De Trem – Calypso / Batucada *
  6. Te Ves Buena – Reggaeton *
  7. Save The Last Dance For Me – Cha-cha-chá *
  8. Las Gatitas – Reggaeton ◊
  9. Taki Contry – Celtic / Bluegrass ◊
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals

Thursday, 22 December 2011

¡Feliz Navidad!

The sports centre is closed from 22 December 2011 to 9 January 2012. So, since today, we are back to El Parque Botánico.

The new song this week is Bubamara by Fanfare Ciocărlia. I am really fond of it, maybe because this is the first choreo I ever created all by myself. Also, for our Christmas Special in the Park today, we did two songs which I promise not to repeat until next Christmas (otherwise it wouldn’t be Christmas Special, right?): Los peces en el río as interpreted by Lhasa and La Placita by Guaco.

Merry Christmas everybody, and see you next week in the park!

Song List

Tuesday
  1. Latin Ritual — Warm-Up
  2. Zumba Samba — Brazilian Dance
  3. Las Mujeres Lo Bailan Bien — Merengue
  4. Los Campeones de la Salsa — Salsa
  5. La Peinada — Quebradita
  6. Alegria Pa Zumbar — Samba
  7. Bla Bla Bla — Reggaeton / Cumbia
  8. Tunak Tunak Tun — Bhangra
  9. La Batidora — Reggaeton
  10. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  11. Hecha Pa’lante — Bellydance
  12. El Baile del Gorila — Rumba Flamenca
  13. Mueve la Booty — Merengue
  14. Zorba — Sirtaki
  15. Bubamara — Romani — by Fanfare Ciocărlia
  16. Corazon Bandolero — Cool-Down — by Yerba Buena with Diego El Cigala
Thursday
  1. Aganjú — Warm-Up — Bossa nova — by Bebel Gilberto
  2. Chillin’ — Merengue
  3. Alegria Pa Zumbar — Samba
  4. Bubamara — Romani — by Fanfare Ciocărlia
  5. Caipirinha — Brazilian Dance / Bellydance
  6. La Peinada — Quebradita
  7. Los Campeones de la Salsa — Salsa
  8. Los PecesVillancico — by Lhasa de Sela
  9. Tunak Tunak Tun — Bhangra
  10. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  11. Hecha Pa’lante — Bellydance
  12. Zorba — Sirtaki
  13. Kulikitaka — Merengue — by Banda Brasileña De Carnaval
  14. La Placita — Cool-Down — by Guaco

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

You must read (yes, really read)

Six months to the day after I got my Aqua Zumba qualification, the training manual finally arrived. Apart from time, it took quite a number of emails to Zumba’s home office. Apparently, this was the third attempt to send it to me by FedEx (third time’s a charm). I don’t know what exactly was the problem, all the other materials reach me in time by ordinary mail.

In other matters the home office acts much quicker (doesn’t mean better). Last week I discovered that I cannot log in to my Zumba account without going through this:
YOU MUST READ (YES, REALLY READ) AND AGREE TO THE TERMS OF THIS ZIN MEMBERSHIP & LICENSE AGREEMENT TO CONTINUE.
Oh dear. Irritating as it is, “agreeing” means simply clicking on a button “I agree”, but I took my time to read through. I wonder how many people cared to do that. Some points in this agreement peeved me more than others; the most annoying thing, however, is the generally patronising attitude of Zumba Fitness, LLC (“Zumba”). I have to admit that I got rather angry at first. Then I reached the section 15 (of 23). Why didn’t they move it to the beginning?
15. Relationship of Parties. The legal relationship between Zumba and Instructor shall be that of licensor and licensee. Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as creating any partnership, joint venture, agency, franchise, sales representative or employment relationship between the parties, nor shall Zumba be deemed to be acting in a fiduciary capacity with respect to Instructor.
So that’s it then. Calm down, naïve Zumba instructor: “Zumba” is not your partner or employer. Nor is it your friend. It does not trust you, so I don’t see why you should trust it either. You should not feel any loyalty towards Zumba Fitness, LLC any more than towards, say, Microsoft when clicking on “I agree” button during software installation.

Ah, Zumba, Zumba, what a great idea, what a shame about all this corporate nonsense.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Are we having a blast?

No, seriously. What on earth do they (whoever authored that official Zumba page) mean under “having a total blast”? What is “blast” anyway?

The thing is, we are all guilty of word devaluation. We say “fine” when we mean “acceptable”, “great” when we mean “better than usual”, and “awesome” when we mean “good”. Likewise, we say that we are “happy” when we are merely satisfied with something. To quote the recent BBC news report,
A UK wide survey has revealed that dancing and going to the gym are among the things that make us happy.
Sure, I am glad that 2 million people in Britain attend Zumba classes, but... really? Going to gym makes us happy?

All in all, Zumba classes is a product that we sell and our students buy. One cannot buy or sell happiness. I can only hope that my students are looking forward to classes, enjoy the classes, feel good after the classes.

I think I begin to understand why Zumba is such a big hit in overworked countries like US and UK but met with much less enthusiasm here in Spain. For Zumba to succeed here, a different, um, marketing approach is needed. Spaniards are not likely to buy a “blast”. (Nor “Latin-inspired”, for that matter.)

That’s enough ranting for now. The new song this week was La Peinada. Also, I used the Gotan Project’s version of Last Tango in Paris theme for cool-down.

Song List

  1. Mbube — Warm-Up (1) — African song — by Miriam Makeba
  2. Adouma — Warm-Up (2) — Afro-pop — by Angélique Kidjo
  3. Las Mujeres Lo Bailan Bien — Merengue
  4. Los Campeones de la Salsa — Salsa
  5. La Peinada — Quebradita
  6. Bla Bla Bla — Reggaeton / Cumbia
  7. Tunak Tunak Tun — Bhangra
  8. Dança Da Mãozinha — Axé
  9. La Batidora — Reggaeton
  10. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  11. Hecha Pa’lante — Bellydance
  12. El Baile del Gorila — Rumba Flamenca
  13. Mueve la Booty — Merengue
  14. Zorba — Sirtaki
  15. Last Tango in Paris — Cool-Down — by Gotan Project

Friday, 9 December 2011

Zumba in the park

There were two public holidays this week: Día de la Constitución (6 December) and Inmaculada Concepción (8 December). Since the sports centre was closed, the classes took place in El Parque Botánico de Corralejo. I hope everybody who came did enjoy our alternative location, and we had quite a few new faces too!

The new song this week was Los Campeones de la Salsa by Willy Chirino.

Song List

Tuesday
  1. Anatomic — Warm-Up — by Afro Celt Sound System
  2. Chillin’ — Merengue
  3. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  4. Zu Bailaito — Quebradita
  5. Alegria Pa Zumbar — Samba
  6. Tunak Tunak Tun — Bhangra
  7. Zorba — Sirtaki
  8. La Batidora — Reggaeton
  9. Caipirinha — Brazilian Dance / Bellydance
  10. Aguanile — Salsa
  11. El Baile del Gorila — Rumba Flamenca
  12. Hecha Pa’lante — Bellydance
  13. Culiquitaca — Merengue — by Toño Rosario
  14. Muna Xeia — Cool-Down — by Sara Tavares
Thursday
  1. Mbube — Warm-Up (1) — African song — by Miriam Makeba
  2. Adouma — Warm-Up (2) — Afro-pop — by Angélique Kidjo
  3. Las Mujeres Lo Bailan Bien — Merengue
  4. Los Campeones de la Salsa — Salsa
  5. Zu Bailaito — Quebradita
  6. Bla Bla Bla — Reggaeton / Cumbia
  7. Tunak Tunak Tun — Bhangra
  8. Dança Da Mãozinha — Axé
  9. La Batidora — Reggaeton
  10. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  11. Toul Omry — Salsa / Bellydance
  12. El Baile del Gorila — Rumba Flamenca
  13. Chillin’ — Merengue
  14. Zorba — Sirtaki
  15. Meditation on Dvořák’s Slavonic Fantasy — Cool-Down — by Sophie Solomon

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Wheel and website

The pavements of Corralejo are starting to take their toll. On Thursday, I noticed that one of two suitcase-type wheels in my sound system is broken. Visits to the local hardware stores so far were not promising. Next week, because of public holidays, we are doing the classes in different location, namely in the Botanical Park (El Parque Botánico). Thankfully, it is much closer to my house, so if the wheel is still not fixed it is not a big problem.

In other news, I have launched my new — bilingual! — website built with Weebly. Thank you Elena Ureña for Spanish translation — so professional! (On the “what to bring” page, I have left Zumba’s footwear recommendations exactly as appear on their Spanish FAQ page.)

It was a quiet(er) week, so the classes were not too crowded. We tried two new songs: Zorba and Hecha Pa’lante.

Song List

  1. Mbube — Warm-Up (1) — African song — by Miriam Makeba
  2. Adouma — Warm-Up (2) — Afro-pop — by Angélique Kidjo
  3. Chillin’ — Merengue
  4. Hecha Pa’lante — Bellydance
  5. Zu Bailaito — Quebradita
  6. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  7. Dança Da Mãozinha — Axé
  8. Zorba — Sirtaki
  9. La Batidora — Reggaeton
  10. Caipirinha — Brazilian Dance / Bellydance
  11. Meneando la Cola — Salsa
  12. Culiquitaca — Merengue — by Toño Rosario
  13. Muna Xeia — Cool-Down — by Sara Tavares