“There are no wrong moves in Zumba, only accidental solos.” — Amanda’s favourite Zumba zinger
Our faculty are darling and really know their stuff! This week’s Monday Motivator is a quick intro to our Zumba instructors, Amanda and Aly, and why exactly they love Zumba so much they want to spread the love.
Alright, ladies. Why exactly do you love Zumba so much?
ALY: Zumba is fab because you don’t feel like it’s hard and horrible! I love high-intensity training but I hate being a slave to the timer on the treadmill or metres on the rower etc. Personally I can think of no better way to exercise than dancing!
AMANDA: Dancing is my happy place, and—it sounds corny—but there’s something about Latin music that I feel an emotional connection with. For me, Zumba classes are perhaps the only time when I’m not thinking about ANYTHING else—for that 45-minutes, I’m just immersing myself in the rhythms, moving my body and revelling in the joy of it. I’m free.
I also love that it’s fun and accessible—not to mention a great workout—and it’s great for social connection. Our Wednesday morning Zumba class has such a warm and supportive environment—it’s one of the best parts of my week!
And the health perks?
ALY: We all know that dancing and exercise are great for both our physical and mental health! I’m not a medical professional so I won’t quote anything specific, but I think it’s so, so important to actually ENJOY your exercise. Zumba for me is a part of my lifestyle that I look forward to. I don’t think anything that you dread is sustainable for the long term.
AMANDA: Physically, I’ve personally experienced increased cardio fitness, mobility and muscle tone. Mate, my hips can move in ways they never could 10 years ago!
But, for me, the mental health benefits are just as important—Zumba is just so good for my head. Usually the days where I’m feeling a bit ‘blah’ are when I need my Zumba the most—I can guarantee that I will walk out of class with more energy and a smile on my face. As well as instructing, I do at least two more Zumba classes per week as a participant. It’s just my thing.
We’ve all heard that a big part of Zumba’s oomph is those world beats. What’s the playlist like in your classes?
ALY: Mostly Dancehall and Reggaeton! Possibly a little too much but I LOVE IT! I also love some Salsa and Merengue.
AMANDA: I try to include a mix of Latin rhythms in my classes—I adore Salsa, but our current playlist also has Merengue, Reggaeton, Cumbia, Moombahton, Samba, Latin Pop, Flamenco and Bachata! Just don’t make me pick a favourite.
I’m convinced I was born with two left feet. Will someone as unco as me enjoy something like Zumba?
AMANDA: Yes! Yes! Yes! Firstly, you’re not walking into a Zumba class to be the best—you’re there for fitness and fun.
Secondly, no one is going to judge you—truly. They really won’t be staring at the newbie who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Zumba instructors use a non-verbal system of cueing—we use hand signals as opposed to yelling—and this means that the class is watching the instructor to see what to do, not looking at what anyone else is doing.
Lastly, who cares if you’re unco? As long as you’re enjoying yourself, you’re in the right place. Just move your own way! Don’t know the moves? Freestyle! My favourite saying is “there are no wrong moves in Zumba, only accidental solos”.
ALY: If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they have 2 left feet, I’d probably have about $150. The key to enjoying Zumba is to not worry about being the best dancer or the hardest worker in the room—just throw yourself into everything and I absolutely promise you learn the tracks! The music does change week to week but there’s enough repetition that after around 4ish classes, everyone starts to learn the moves. And if you don’t, honestly just leap around. The only people who ever stand out in a class are the ones not moving 🙂
Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. She loves Latin dance and music, cook (and eat), and has another pretty much full-time job as a Dance Mum. She’s done everything from present the TV news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women.
Alyson Pazios is a Zumba Instructor, dance teacher and professional communicator. Zumba was always a side hustle, but after having a baby last Christmas (yes, Christmas day!) Alyson is taking a break from the office life to teach some classes, learn and grow her body again and enjoy as much time with her family as possible including her sausage dog, Apollo who has more Instagram followers than she does.