My First Zumba Class

 

Just over three years ago, a friend told me about this dance fitness class she totally loved.  The teacher was amazing and I just had to try it.  So I gave it a go…and I was instantly hooked.  In fact I loved that class so much that when the instructor moved to a gym 45 minutes away, I continued to commute until she stopped teaching.  When I travelled, I searched for classes to attend, always judging it against the amazingness of my first instructor.  It took time, but eventually I found Tami’s class and, to this day, anytime I’m home it is expected that I stop in for at least one class…and usually many more.

I toyed with becoming an instructor back in 2009 but decided to start Passion by Kait instead, feeling it would be a better investment.  Clearly, I don’t regret this decision for the life of me!  When I received my Hopkins acceptance, though, and after many more negative Zumba experiences (shout out to Amy for being a light in a very dark time), I decided it was time.  After all, life as a grad student meant that any form of income was a good thing.  And getting paid to do a workout I normally would pay for?  That sounded like the sweetest income of all.

This past May I woke up early and headed to MA to become a licensed instructor.   The plan was to contact gyms and dance studios before moving to Baltimore so that I could begin getting paid to workout.  <–Are you seeing a pattern?  I love getting paid to do the things I love…like party, talk about sex, and dance my a$$ off.  Except the Universe had other plans and I couldn’t find work.  Gyms either weren’t hiring or I never heard back from group ex instructors.  After numerous attempts I would give up…then get frustrated and try again.  This paid off and I was given a job subbing for the grad school’s gym.

Last night I taught my first class.  My entire body aches.  I have blisters all over my feet.  And I spent two days full of nervous, frenetic energy.  Would they like my style?  What if they were disappointed?  What if I messed up?  I knew it was all in my head but try as I might I couldn’t shake the nerves.  Until I got to class…and expressed my nerves…and was accepted…and encouraged.

I messed up.  I tripped at one point.  I didn’t even have my regular sneakers!  And I loved every damn second of it.  No one cared that at one point I totally blanked on every bit of choreography…no one knew when I subbed in different moves than I had planned…and everyone left sweaty and smiling, the way they should.

I knew I would have fun but what I didn’t expect was to look back halfway through class and find myself grinning with pride.  I was doing an act of service, perhaps the highest act ever: offering health and vitality and de-stressing and fun.  I found myself encouraging people to keep going…to trust in their bodies’ strength…to take it down and listen to their bodies when they needed to.  And at one point when every footfall was perfectly in sync and all you could hear where foot taps, bass, and deep breathing…I was one with the Universe.

I am so proud of myself, mess-ups and all.  And when a first time student came up to tell me how much fun she had, how easy I was to follow, and how great the class was…well that was a feeling no words can quite describe.  It was a perfect moment and I plan on holding that close as finals loom this upcoming week.  For now, I’m going to just let the pride and joy continue to fill me up as my smile stays big and my heart, content.  And I’m going to keep on reaching out for subbing and job positions because I cannot wait to do it again!

What was the last scary-but-fun thing you did?

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Zumba Training Highlights

Hi All!

I hope you had a beautiful Memorial Day weekend.  It was sunny and warm in CT and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

This happened to be a very exciting weekend for me as I finally became a licensed Zumba instructor.  I don’t talk much about fitness here on the blog but since I discovered Zumba three years ago, I’ve been obsessed.  I always loved to dance and the fusion of fitness + dancing spoke to my soul.  I can easily lose myself in a Zumba class, forgetting time and space  <–which, admittedly, can lead to awkward moments and not realize an hour has gone by.  A few years back I had considered becoming licensed…but decided to start Passion by Kait instead.  The start-up costs are approximately the same and, well, I haven’t looked back since.

I decided the time was finally right, however, for a number of reasons.  One of them is $, both making and using it.  By teaching, I am able to workout…and get paid for it.  <–a grad student’s wet dream  It will also ensure that I work out at least a couple times of week.  I can’t skip out at the last minute because I’m tired or just don’t feel like it (come on, you’ve been there too).  I have a feeling the stress relief will be extremely necessary too!  Finally, I wanted to run class the way I wanted.  I had the point where no one else’s class was really, truly cutting it anymore.  They were still fun but I found myself thinking, “I would have done that move instead” or “I can do this better.”  I’m not proud of those thoughts but finally the voice saying, “Get yourself licensed then smart ass!” was loud and incessant enough for me to listen to.  And so I registered…even managing to find a discount code!

Saturday morning I woke up at 6:40 (!) to drive from CT to MA for training. I haven’t woken up before 10 am in two weeks, never mind before 7! Having stayed with the beau the night before, I was allowed a little bit of bitching and moaning before he said the wisest words ever (he’s been full of them over the past couple of weeks bless his amazing soul): “Remember, this is what you want.”  So I got my cranky self up and ready, made breakfast, and off I went.

Sleepy but super excited!

The second I stepped in the, care the excitement started!  I had gotten maybe 5 hours of sleep, terrified I would sleep through my alarm (yes I had that nightmare too!) but the adrenaline was flowing!  The training was definitely a little different than expected but I am so happy I did it and that there are numerous job openings in Baltimore.

Like Gabby said: the Universe supports us!

The training was all day with about 6 hours of movement and 2 hours of lecture.  The whole day was super high energy and fun and though I’m a little nervous to start teaching, I have to remember that a) nothing I learned was life-changing, earth-shattering new and b) I’ve been choreographing on my own for as long as I’ve been a Zumba student.  I just couldn’t help it!  Dirty beats come on and my hips start to do their own thing.

The one thing that did stand out, likely because it rubbed me the wrong way, was the emphasis on “the Zumba formula.”  I do understand a company’s desire to maintain its image and mark but I also think its independent contractors are big girls and boys and should be able to customize their classes as they see fit (and, on one hand we are…but there are still, in my opinion, a lot of guidelines).  I’ve danced with a handful (2-3) of amazing instructors and dozens of awful ones.  My favorite instructors, to this day, didn’t do things as I learned them to be “the Zumba way” while many of my least favorite instructors followed it to a T.  As with all things, I’m looking to find the balance that works best for me.  And, of course, to be the best Zumba instructor Baltimore has ever known!

Sunday was brutal.  Even getting 8 hours of sleep I was exhausted and hurt all over. I definitely gained a new respect for fitness professionals. If you fall into that category, please share your secrets in the comments because I don’t know how you do it!  Nonetheless, it was 100% worth it.  I have a ton of music to listen to, songs to choreograph, and other instructors to network with.  I can’t wait to get started and promise to keep you updated!

Yoga/beauty/dance,

Best,

Kait xo