Tips to survive your first Zumba class

New dance steps and different teaching styles can make a first Zumba class intimidating. Here's how to skip the intimidation and tap right into the fun part. Remember, Zumba really does take its party theme seriously; nobody cares if you get every step exactly right as long as you're having fun.

Tips to survive your first Zumba class

1. The music and moves

  • Zumba classes are set to upbeat Latin, international and hip-hop music featured in the playlist.
  • The majority of Zumba moves are modeled after Latin dance steps, with a healthy helping of hip-hop in the mix.
  • Don't worry about getting each step exactly right -- the real point of the class is to keep moving and have fun, not to develop ballroom technique.

2. The teaching style

  • Unlike most other aerobics classes, the only sounds you'll hear in Zumba are the occasional countdown -- "four, three, two, one" before a move -- or shouts of joy as people boogie down.
  • Instead of verbal commands, the instructor uses sign language to steer the class, usually teaching from an elevated stage so that you can see what he or she is doing.
  • Keep that in mind when you choose a spot in class; aim for the middle so that you'll still be able to see the instructor and the most confident students in front.
  • That also gives you somebody to either side or behind you to follow if the instructor has you repeat moves facing in another direction, common in Zumba classes.

3. How to dress

  • Wander into a class with lots of die-hard participants and you'll see many clad in brightly coloured Zumba wear, usually slim-fitting tanks or tees and pants that slouch.
  • Middle Eastern-style hip scarves are also very common.
  • You can wear anything that keeps your torso covered and leaves you free to move, but leave the leotard and ruffled skirts at home; think along the lines of regular athletic wear instead.

4. Finding the right instructor

  • Each Zumba instructor comes up with most of his or her own moves, and even without shouted commands, teaching styles can vary widely.
  • So if you don't quite mesh at first, give the class another try or maybe switch to another instructor.
  • Although Zumba advertises every class as a party, they also hold "official" Zumba parties as fundraisers or promotional events.
  • These events can run for multiple hours, and teachers usually switch off throughout the night, so they're a great way to try out multiple instructors within a short time.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu