Friday, 27 January 2012

Campeona del zumba?

Yesterday, several enraged fellow ZIN members shared a link to this fascinating item in El Periódico Mediterraneo: a reportage from... Campeonato de España de Zumba (Zumba Championship of Spain)! Well, if there is a championship, then there must be a champion. The article is subtitled: “Raquel Gil es la primera campeona de España de la historia y este fin de semana irá a las Olimpiadas” (“Raquel Gil is the first Spanish champion in history and this weekend will go to the Olympics”). More than that: according to this publication, Ms Gil said that
Siempre ha sido mi gran pasión y además de competir, también doy clases.

It [fitness] has always been my passion and, in addition to competing, I also give classes.
The article is written in such a style that a reader is instantly getting confused. Competing in what? Classes of what? (Of “el zumba”?) Which Olympics? It also could be that the author, Miguel Ángel Sales, has no clue what he is writing about. There is no such thing as Zumba Championship. (Not yet, anyway.) Also, a quick search shows that there is no Zumba instructor by the name of Raquel Gil.

But enough of that. For the last two weeks, in addition to my morning classes, I was giving an evening class in FuerteFusión. In fact, I should have given two evening classes, but Wednesday 9 pm proved to be too awkward time for anybody to turn up. (Either that, or football was getting in the way.) Next week, both Monday and Wednesday classes will be at 7 pm.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Aqua Zumba Vol. 6 and MegaMix 27

Back in June 2011, I attended the Aqua Zumba training and Zumba Masterclass in Liverpool with ZES Kelly Bullard. Without any exaggeration, it was a truly remarkable experience. I was looking forward to this Aqua Zumba DVD featuring Kelly. I’d love to say that it did not disappoint. But that would be a lie. The thing is, Kelly does a good job given the material. I am not sure who gave this material to her though. Remember what is the single most important element in a Zumba class? That’s right, the music. No matter how good choreography is, it cannot save the bad music.

Now I understand that I am entering a dangerous territory here. Highly subjective. I don’t like pop. That includes “Latin Pop”, and this collection has three (out of nine!) songs marked as such, even though La Bomba could have been called “reggaeton”. All three are awful. The best songs in this collection are Reggae Kumbia and Yo No Fui. As per usual, most of the lyrics here are interspersed with “Zumba Fitness”, which really gets on my nerves. (As if simply “Zumba” were not enough. But “Zumba Fitness”? “Zumba Fitness sabroso”? Yuck, yuck, yuck.)

As for MegaMix 27, I don’t feel it even deserves a post on its own. Can’t think of any usable tune from here except from a cover of Benny Moré’s Qué bueno baila usted — alas, once again contaminated by “Zumba Fitness”. And what Great Balls of Fire, More Than Words and Unislide are doing here?

Aqua Zumba Vol. 6 — Song List

  1. Vamos a la Playa — Latin Pop
  2. Hablale De Mi — Salsa / Reggaeton — by K.L.C. Clave Cubana
  3. Reggae Kumbia — Cumbia / Reggaeton
  4. Rumba y Gozadera — Merengue
  5. Yo No Fui — Reggaeton / Calypso
  6. Dime Lo Que Quieres — Salsa
  7. Shabadabada — Latin Pop
  8. Mano Pa’ Arriba — Reggaeton
  9. La Bomba — Latin Pop

MegaMix 27 — Song List

  1. El cuento — Merengue — by Omar El Spactacular
  2. Que Bueno Baila Usted — Salsa
  3. Bureo, Bureo — Urban Funk
  4. Rebolaxa — Axé — by Ceceu Muniz
  5. Cumbia del Caribe — Cumbia
  6. Unislide — Freestyle — by Jerome Haywood
  7. Great Balls of Fire — Rock and Roll
  8. Amoot Alak — Rumba Flamenca — by Bandoleros
  9. Het Is Tijd — Soca — by K-Liber4life
  10. More Than Words — Acoustic Rock

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

SOPA, PIPA and Zumba

Today, the Wikipedia community blacks out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours worldwide, starting 05:00 UTC.
The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.
Although SOPA and PIPA are the most ridiculous acronyms the U.S. legislators ever came up with, this is not exactly laughing matter. Regrettably — although not surprisingly — a list of organizations that support SOPA, compiled by the bill’s sponsor, Lamar Smith, includes my licensor, Zumba Fitness, LLC. By supporting this reactionary piece of legislation, it committed a grave mistake: that of underestimating the consumer’s power. As the boycott of Go Daddy has shown, this may be real costly. Even among Zumba fans, there are enough internet-savvy consumers and Android app users who may feel outraged and hit where it hurts. Naturally, that will hurt not only Zumba Fitness, LLC but also its licensees around the world.

Luckily, SOPA is about to be shelved after president Barack Obama indicated that he would not support the legislation that
reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risks or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet.
But it is not dead yet.

Friday, 13 January 2012

¡Olé FuerteFusión!

Great news everybody — this Monday 9 January my friend Chantal opened a brand new dance studio called FuerteFusión. It is located at Calle Bajo del Mejillon 5, opposite the post office. Hopefully the people who wait in a queue there will hear the music and pay notice. When I first saw the studio in December, I thought it won’t be ready for couple of months. Two weeks later, it opened the doors. There will be classes of salsa (both Cuban and LA style) and bachata every weekday. And guess what, yours truly is going to give Zumba classes there! To start, there will be two classes a week: Monday 19:00—20:00 and Wednesday 21:00—22:00.

In fact, I did the very first free class on Wednesday. OK there were only four people attending but this is a start. This time I opted for (almost) non-stop programme, just under 60 minutes, without breaking down the steps and no talking. I thought it went rather well... This impression was reinforced on Thursday when one of the zumberas told me that she really enjoyed the class because I did less talking (than usual, that is) and cut down on pauses between the songs.

Today I got some feedback from the Wednesday class. Hmmm. Apparently, omitting the breakdown was not that good idea, at least for those who never did Zumba before. Also, it looks like I have to use more verbal cues during the dances — again, that is something that I was trying to avoid. Another day, another lesson.

Last week, I introduced Taboo (aka Chorando Se Foi) from ZIN 36. The new song this week is a slow merengue, La Noche from ZIN 29.

Song List

Tuesday and Thursday
  1. Mayoral — Warm-Up — by Novalima
  2. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  3. Las Mujeres Lo Bailan Bien — Merengue
  4. Los Campeones de la Salsa — Salsa
  5. Taboo – Axé / Urban
  6. Chori Chori — Bhangra
  7. Bubamara — Romani — by Fanfare Ciocărlia
  8. Bla Bla Bla — Reggaeton / Cumbia
  9. La Peinada — Quebradita
  10. Caipirinha — Brazilian Dance / Bellydance
  11. Alegria Pa Zumbar — Samba
  12. Mueve la Booty — Merengue
  13. Toul Omry — Salsa / Bellydance
  14. La Noche — Flamenco / Merengue
  15. Vuelvo al sur — Cool-Down — Tango — by Gotan Project
Wednesday
  1. Anatomic — Warm-Up — by Afro Celt Sound System
  2. Chillin’ — Merengue
  3. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  4. Caipirinha — Brazilian Dance / Bellydance
  5. Tunak Tunak Tun — Bhangra
  6. Bla Bla Bla — Reggaeton / Cumbia
  7. Dança Da Mãozinha — Axé
  8. El Baile del Gorila — Rumba Flamenca
  9. Toul Omry — Salsa / Bellydance
  10. La Batidora — Reggaeton
  11. Zorba — Sirtaki
  12. Zu Bailaito — Quebradita
  13. Last Tango in Paris — Cool-Down — by Gotan Project

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Belly Dance Fitness

by Aerobics Oz Style

Just as in case of The Samba Reggae Workout, I ordered this DVD on the strength of the Amazon reviews. This time, however, it was rather a miss. I did not learn that much new, apart from some useful moves during the cool-down (called here “warm-down”). There is about 55 minutes of workout (including warm-up and cool-down) and quite a lot of utterly disposable bonus features, like Behind the Scenes or Team Profiles (where one of the instructors is showing her kitchen and another is going through her collection of hip scarves). The music is really boring. And what is “Oz Style”? I think it means that all the demonstration takes place on the beach, somewhere in Australia I presume. I quite like that — you almost expect a great white shark or something among the bathers on the background — although the camerawork is not that great. Apparently, the cameraman is rather fond of Dutch angles, which, according to Wikipedia, are
often used to portray the psychological uneasiness or tension in the subject being filmed.
Not the best choice for a dance fitness or, for that matter, any instructional video (unless it is the one on Dutch angle techniques). As much as I enjoy looking at the girls with very little clothes on, it would be better if the camera stayed focused on the instructors. Also, as the DVD is aimed at the beginner, one would expect a bit more of basic movement breakdown.