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Zumba fitness classes are great exercise and a lot of fun. If you haven’t done much dancing before, you will probably feel like a dork the first time, we all do. Stick with it, after just a few classes with a given instructor you’ll start to get it.

Tips for beginners:

1) Go up front. The biggest mistake most beginners make is to try to hide in the back. It’s much easier to learn when you can actually see the instructor.

2) Try to imitate the footwork first, before you worry about the arms. Each song typically has 3-4 dance step sequences and they repeat frequently during the song. Just get a little bit more each time. The instructors also tend to use the same songs/routines for several weeks in a row. So after a few classes it will get a lot easier. Just keep moving even if you aren’t doing exactly what the instructor is doing.

3) Learning a few basic dance steps will help a lot. I recommend starting with Meringue and then Salsa. I’ll post some videos here soon so you can practice at home.

4) Drink a lot of water during and after the class.

5) Don’t overdo it. If you feel something starting to hurt take it easy. It’s best to wear sneakers that have smooth bottoms. Dance sneakers are perfect for this. Well worn sneakers are fine too. If your knees start to feel strained, stop doing the twisting movements until you get new shoes. I used to step instead of twisting until I got dance sneakers.

Dance Styles:
Zumba is based on real dance steps. Traditionally Latin-based dances such as Merengue and Salsa, many instructors have now include hip hop and more.

The two most helpful steps to learn at first are the basic Merengue and Salsa steps. Coming soon, I’ll post some videos here. In the meantime, I suggest searching YouTube. One of the first things I had to learn when I started dancing was to hear and count the beats in the music. Most Latin dance music has an obvious 8-count rhythm ( 2 measures of 4 beats each, if you want to get technical)

Merengue is quite simple. It’s a steady 1-2-1-2 tempo and you march over a bent knee left-right-left-right. The variations are also simple: march in place, slow turn on an 8 count, side-to-side.

The basic Salsa used in Zumba is also simple. Salsa moves are timed to an 8 count, typically quick-quick-slow-quick-quick-slow, although sometimes the slow is replaced by 2 quicks. Like merengue, you shift weight from side to side on each step.

All Zumba routines repeat often and the repetitions usually on counts of 8 or 16, and the transitions happen as the music transitions. If you see people who seems to just know what to do, it’s because they’ve heard the song before and know when the music will transition, so they look at the instructors at just the right time to see what’s next.

SAMBA STEP instructions