Friday, June 29, 2012

National Dance Day 2012! Zumba Routine!

National Dance Day 2012!

July 28, 2012 between 10:00AM-12:00PM

Here is the video for the official Zumba routine! I think this is the first time Zumba is officially included. Whoot Whoot!!

Watch it. Practice it. Learn it. Have fun with it!

I'll be doing it in my Zumba classes!

Let's go big this year!!!

If you would like to know more about National Dance Day or The Dizzy Feet Foundation, click the link.

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Angel In The Stone.



“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”


The above is a famous quote by the artist Michelangelo. A Zumba participant told me about the master's famous qutoe the other day. I'm sure I've heard it in the past in passing. Of course this particular student is very eloquent and gave me a much richer version to surround the original quote. I wish I could remember all his words.

Here is something to think about in regards to this beautiful quote;

As teachers, trainers, mentors or what have you, we can seek to release the angel in our students.
As participants and students (especially as ones of life) we can seek to releases the angel within each of us.

Some days perhaps only small chards of marble will be shed. Other days it may be huge chunks.

Whether you are chiseling away on yourself or others, never be discouraged.

For that angel is there, waiting to be released.

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dance Video. Pon De Replay, song by Rihanna.

Here's another dance-fitness video. This song is an oldie (2005). Its a favorite of mine though!

*The video taping and editing was done by my good friend Brian Berry. Great job on the effects and pulling everything together. Many thanks!
Pon De Replay by Rihanna. It's from her Music Of The Sun album. You can find the song and album on itunes.

Be smart and healthy. Anytime you are going to bust out some moves check the physical space around you for possible hazards. Check what's on your feet, if anything. Low tread athletic shoes or tennies are good. Roll your shoulders a few times, do some slow squats, rotate your ankles. Basically loosen up those joints. Same advice if your about to start an interactive dance fitness video game (DDR, Just Dance, or any other).

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Zumba With Weights; When, How, Why.

By now many people all over the world know about Zumba. The Latin based fun, energetic and sexy workout that uses dance moves and music from around the world to make you forget how hard you are working until you realize that you are sweating buckets and guaranteed delightfully sore muscles!

Along with the regular Zumba format there are a collection of specialty formats. Zumba Toning is among them. This program uses maraca type light weights called Zumba Toning Sticks. They come in 1 lb. and 2.5 lb. Along with adding a layer of resistance to your Zumba workout they make a fun sound when shaken! Zumba Toning can be done with regular, light hand weights. Just no shaking. I'll explain why in a bit.

When; Should you use hand held weights for the regular Zumba format? Let me be clear-


Whew! Why the shouty words Miss Erin?

Because you can do some serious damage to yourself and others! Rotator cuff injuries are no joke. They can cause permentate damage to one of the most complex joint systems of the body. Wrist, elbow and neck injuries as well. Not to mention how a poorly timed arm movement can land that cute little hand weight right in your kisser.

What about the people around you? Party is definitelty over when that weight lands on somebody's foot, face or anywhere!

What about strap-on, glove like hand weights? Well the risk of injuring someone else is greatly reduced. But its still an iffy choice.

How; Seems pretty dangerous to use weights with Zumba, right? So how the hell is there a specialty program for it?

The format used in Zumba Toning is specifically designed to take all those risks into consideration. When participants are using the weights the moves are slower and more controlled. Traditional fitness moves are used; bicep curls, lunges, shoulder presses, lat. raises, flys, etc. Normally Zumba instructors are encouraged to minimize verbal cuing and rely on visual cuing for the regular Zumba format. Not so with Zumba Toning. Mic is in place and on. The Zumba instructor is there to give you verbal instructions, cues and safety tips throughout. The weights are even set down throughout the class for faster combos.
 About the no shaking with regular weights; Zumba Toning Sticks are hollow tubes filled with enough bead-like material to be the desired 1-2.5 lbs. When you move them, shake them, tap them or what have you, the loose material absorbs the force of the movement. What absorbs the force when using regualr weights? You. Think jumping with straight legs. Yikes, that makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it!

Why; Why even have a weight bearing format for Zumba? Lots of reasons. Increased resistance adds a layer of challenge to an already energetic workout. Something a little different. Switching up movement tempos, intensities, points of focus are proven to increase skills, strength and mental and physical endurance, no matter what you doing (there's a future post!).

I am a licenced Zumba Toning instructor. I haven't added it to what I currently teach now. Mainly because its not my favorite format. I prefer to work with heavier weights and bodyweight training techniques. But I'll never say never to learning new tricks. I'll put Zumba Toning on my "Summer To Do List", along with attempting handstands, muscle-ups and dragging my husband the length of our lawn.

I'm going to start posting fun ways to increase the challenge of the Zumba moves we all love, using non-weight bearing techniques.

Check out my new facebook page, DanceFitErin, click the link here. Then, click the "like" button.

Thanks for reading. And remember-

When; Should you use hand held weights for the regular Zumba format? Let me be clear-


Stay safe and healthy!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Language Of Dance.

I have long held the belief that dance, in all of its many styles and forms, is at its core a language.

I'm sure this is not something that hasn't already been said or noted. But I think it is something that can easily be overlooked when one is facing the challenge of learning dance.

Whenever I find myself in conversations with students, especially new ones, about this topic, they usually are given pause and see their challenge in a new light.
A light that I usually hope changes "I feel so uncoordinated. I'm just going to have to accept that I won't be very good at it for a long time" into something more like "Okay...I can break this down into pieces, peel back layers and perhaps not be so hard on myself!"

I always ask the question, "Would you be this hard on yourself if you were learning Spanish or French for the first time?" The answer is always no.

We know to learn a spoken language we need to employ repetition, breaking down sentences and phrases into smaller parts, practicing rules so that they become second nature and correlating it all to things we already understand. All the elements of learning a dance style.

Let's just take a simple plie in 1st position;

image credit

(I'll break this down for real in a future post!).
Even if your first few tries are a bit off, eventually you will start to get it right after gentle corrections.

Breaking down into smaller parts.
Focus on where the pelvis is. Then, what are the knees doing? So on and so on.

Every dance form has them. Some are more steadfast than others. Example; knees never collapse towards the insteps of the feet in ballet.

Correlating to what we already understand.
Who hasn't tried walking with books on their head!

Pull it altogether enough times, tweaking and correcting as you go, suddenly you've got yourself a well executed demi-plie! Same steps to learning how to ask where the bathroom is in Japan!

I will admit that there are a couple of challenges exclusive to dance.

Music. Coordinating movements to music can present a challenge all its own. On the flip side though, music stimulates many areas of the brain simultaneously. This stimulation can increase retention of information learned, as well as cognitive understanding and uniting small and large motor skills.
Even for language acquisition, using songs and music can aide in learning.

Frequent changes in patterns. Most dance forms have a multitude of tempos, step sequences, flavors and emphasises. Just listen to the musical compositions that go with particular dance styles. Ballet, Jazz, Latin dances, Waltzes, etc...

 All that brain and body work boils down to a very important benefit; dance makes you smarter!

So if you are just starting out at learning dance or starting in a dance fitness program and you start to feel out of your element (it happens to seasoned dancers too!), I hope you remember some of the points above!

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Am I Too Heavy For Zumba?

Yesterday morning, after my 8:30am Zumba class one of my participants asked me a question that threw me a bit.

"Am I too heavy for this class?"

What the what!?!

My answer; "Uh, Hell to the no! You are right where you need to be, and you are doin great!"

Quick description of her - late forties, maybe early fifties. Carrying extra weight, but definitely not the behemoth she must think she is! She keeps a good pace for herself in class, which is something that I stress at the beginning of each class.

So my first thought was, "Is it something I said?" I never make mention of skinny vs. heavy. At least I never intend to.

Then; was it that I used the song  Wobble for the first time in class? There is a refrain - "ey big girl make em' back it up, make em' back it up" (x4). If there is one thing I know about hip hop, Big Girls are a pretty cherished commodity!! The choreography that I set to the song was fun and sexy, even including a dance battle formation as part of the routine.(here's a Zumba dance battle vid I found).

Oh, wait a minute! What did ya see on the video? Yeah, and those "Big Girls" were movin, having fun being, sexy and sassy as well as having a great time!

Additional thought- "Man, I do not want anyone to feel like that!"

We are all on our own journey at each stage of our life. While Zumba is an exercise program intended to provide cardio and a fun way to lose weight if that is one's goal, its something else too.
When you can set your concerns aside for a moment (whether those concerns are small or ginormous), let lose, have fun and mix it up with the simple joy of communal glee (we are a social animal after all), it does something to you. It peels a layer off of the burden of the "impossible".  What bogs us down as "impossible" is different for each and every one of us.


I've witnessed people transform from just gathering up the courage to get on the other side of that viewing window and join in the Zumba fun.
Once you overcome one obstacle, it makes the next one in your path that much easier to overcome!
Perhaps my participant's thought came from someone in her life telling her that she was too heavy to do Zumba. I pity the fool! Some Miss Erin Slap Therapy might be in order!

What does a cross section of my class look like?

Teen, 20's, 30's on up to 70's! One lady turned 82 last month!
Every size and body type you can think of!
All beautiful!!!

By the way, in the locker room as I was chatting with a friend about how thrilled I was that my "Wobble" routine took on a life of its own, my participant in questioned commented on how fun it was too. That's not the important part. But this is- she looked happy and confident! YES!!!

Thanks for reading.

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Have you ever had a participant ask a question like this? Have you ever felt like this? Or known someone who has?

image credit