Friday, 25 November 2011

One month on

I had my first real Zumba class here a month ago. A month ago already? And what do you think?

I like this class. I like people in my class. I hope they keep attending, bring their friends, spread the word and so on, so it grows organically. At this moment, I am not sure I even want to do a class every day, not to mention more than once a day. (Saying that, there is no imminent threat of this happening.)

The new songs this week are Zumbalicious and Meneando la Cola, plus Mbube for warm-up and Lua Nha Tetemunha for cool-down. Also, on Tuesday I tried Rosa (ZIN 32). I love this song and hope one day I will be able to do it properly — clearly it was not the case this time. Finally, on Thursday we did La Raspa (thank you Luisa!) — again, can’t say it was great but good fun anyway.

I feel very tired this week. This may have something to do with our stuff finally arriving from England, after almost four months. As a result, the living space is filled with boxes. On the plus side, all my CDs must be somewhere there. More new music!

Song List

  1. Mbube — Warm-Up (1) — African song — by Miriam Makeba
  2. Que Te Meueve — Warm-Up (2) — Merengue
  3. Caipirinha — Brazilian Dance / Bellydance
  4. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  5. Zumbalicious — Salsa / Reggaeton
  6. Chori Chori — Bhangra
  7. Alegria Pa Zumbar — Samba
  8. Rosa — Cumbia †
  9. La Raspa — Mexican circle dance *
  10. Chillin’ — Merengue
  11. Meneando la Cola — Salsa
  12. El Baile del Gorila — Rumba Flamenca
  13. Zu Bailaito — Quebradita
  14. Lua Nha Tetemunha — Cool-Down — Morna — by Cesária Évora
† Tuesday only
* Thursday only

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

MegaMix 26

What exactly is “mega” in ZIN’s MegaMixes? I guess these supposed to be compilations of “greatest hits” suitable for Zumba. The trouble is, they are not. At least, the latest one definitely is not. Of ten tracks, there are seven covers (indicated by an asterisk *), no “Zumba Fitness originals” this time. It is listenable but, apart from Bolo Ta Ra Ra by Daler Mehndi, nothing to write home about. So I stop here.

Song List

  1. It’s Like This and Like That — Merengue — by Sounchek
  2. Descarga en Do — Salsa *
  3. Se Perdio La Cadenita — Cumbia *
  4. Pa KumPa! — Reggaeton *
  5. Bolo Ta Ra Ra — Bollywood — by Daler Mehndi
  6. Una Aventura — Rumba Flamenca — by Bandoleros
  7. Ritmo Caliente — Soca / Dance *
  8. Somos De Calle — Salsa / Reggaeton — by K.L.C. Clave Cubana
  9. Party in Miami — Merengue *
  10. Hay Que Empezar Otra Vez — Salsa *

Friday, 18 November 2011

1, 2, 3 and 5, 6, 7

It may be premature to say that my relationship with Azul Yoga & Pilates Studio came to an end; however on Monday I was informed that, due to the lack of students, the Zumba classes will stop for now. Well, that was a short stint, but all in all not quite useless. In any case, I got Monday and Wednesday evenings back.

This week, the new songs are Caipirinha, Chori Chori, Chillin’ and Píntame (Thursday only); plus Aganjú and Que Te Meueve for warm-up. It is quite a lot of new material, and I am not entirely sure that I did all these songs as well as I wanted (I am still trying to master the art of understatement.)

Now I heard the statement “Zumba is not a dance class” so many times (just Google this phrase and you’ll see what I mean) that I almost started to believe it myself. However, all beliefs should be challenged, even the most absurd ones. On Thursday, by popular demand, I spent about eight minutes going with the class through the basic salsa steps: first, with help of Eddie Torres’ counting track, and second, using Sergent Garcia’s song Píntame, which is mainly salsa with a bit of reggaeton. For the exercise purposes, we carried on salsa steps (1, 2, 3 and 5, 6, 7 and) in the “reggaeton” section and it worked like a charm.

Song List

  1. Aganjú — Warm-Up (1) — Bossa nova — by Bebel Gilberto
  2. Que Te Meueve — Warm-Up (2) — Merengue
  3. Alegria Pa Zumbar — Samba
  4. Caipirinha — Brazilian Dance / Bellydance
  5. La Batidora — Reggaeton
  6. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  7. Chori Chori — Bhangra
  8. Zumba Samba — Brazilian Dance
  9. Chillin’ — Merengue
  10. 1, 2, 3 and 5, 6, 7 — Salsa count — by Eddie Torres
  11. Píntame — Salsa / Reggaeton — by Sergent Garcia
  12. El Baile del Gorila — Rumba Flamenca
  13. Zu Bailaito — Quebradita
  14. Holy Incense (Tibetan Version) — Cool-Down — by Sa Dingding

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Caipirinha on the beach

Zumba B1 training manual (v8.1, p. 35) says:
Barefoot or sock-foot is NOT ideal nor recommended due to lack of cushion and support.
This is kinda stating the obvious, don’t you think? When there is nothing around the foot (that’s why it’s called “bare”), you sure can talk about “lack” or “absence”. Big deal.

This cool version of Zumba anthem Caipirinha, performed by Lindsay Jay and friends, was filmed at Camber Sands. If one can do Zumba on the beach in East Sussex without cushion and support, there is no reason not to try the same here.

Friday, 11 November 2011

One quebradita too much?

This was a strange week. On Monday evening, nobody turned up at the Azul Yoga & Pilates Studio. Tuesday, four students at the the Pabellón. It was good as we tried a few new songs. Wednesday: one person at the Azul. (Still, infinitely more than on Monday!) Still, a class is a class, and I would hate to miss another evening of Zumba-ing. Luckily, one staff member joined us. And on Thursday, nine zumberas, including two new faces.

This week, the new songs are Alegria Pa Zumbar and Zu Bailaito (Thursday only); plus Latin Ritual for warm-up and Holy Incense (神香) for cool-down. I thought Zu Bailaito was a good fun, but it is a challenging song, what with all the cowboy horse-riding, and I know it leaves quite a few of us exhausted — that’s why I put it just before the cool-down.

Song List

  1. Latin Ritual — Warm-Up
  2. Zumba Samba — Brazilian Dance
  3. Las Mujeres Lo Bailan Bien — Merengue
  4. Alegria Pa Zumbar — Samba
  5. La Batidora — Reggaeton
  6. Tunak Tunak Tun — Bhangra
  7. Bla Bla Bla — Reggaeton / Cumbia
  8. Toul Omry — Salsa / Bellydance
  9. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  10. El Baile del Gorila — Rumba Flamenca
  11. Mueve la Booty — Merengue
  12. Zu Bailaito — Quebradita
  13. Holy Incense (Tibetan Version) — Cool-Down — by Sa Dingding

Saturday, 5 November 2011

iriver iHP-140 jukebox

I bought this amazing piece of kit seven years ago and it is still alive! I even have a few gigabytes of its (40 GB) disk space left. Back in 2004, this was probably the best gizmo of its kind. Granted, even then it did not look as sexy as iPod, but it can do so much more. Most of my music there is in OGG format. It also is a surprisingly good-quality dictaphone. There is a (still unreleased) recording of a bass/drum/guitar trio (eventually becoming a duo as the drummer left the building) in the basement of my old workplace. (When I grow old and famous, I may want to release it to raise some cash.) Also, from time to time I used it just as a portable hard disk that it is.

And here’s a problem: where to get a replacement when (or, better, before) it crashes? iHP-140 is not available in shops any longer. According to Wikipedia, this player is discontinued and succeeded by iriver H300 series, which is also unavailable. Most of affordable MP3 players for sale now have no more than 8 GB memory. In the meantime, I hope it does not die a sudden death just before my Zumba class.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Two great classes

Yesterday I did my first Zumba class at the Azul Yoga & Pilates Studio. Four students (plus three staff members who just happened to be there) attended — much more than I’ve expected. The basement of the studio is cozy but rather small for eight people. Also, the room is rather echoey; I have to tweak an equaliser in my MP3 player to improve sound a bit. But it was a good fun. As I have one-hour slot (not one and a half, as at the Pabellón), and for a moment go through steps before each song, I had to drop couple of songs from the programme (marked with † below). In future I am going to talk less and have more time for dance!

Just as a week ago, it was raining today. OK that will be called “drizzle” in England but by the time I reached the Pabellón, I was soaking wet. Good thing I did not throw away original polyethylene packaging bag from my sound system — it kept the amp dry. We had a great class with eight zumberas, including two new students.

As promised, I will be changing the program by introducing a couple of new songs each week. This week, the new songs are Zumba Samba from ZIN 32 (which, incidentally, is not a samba at all) and Mueve la Booty; plus Rumba en la Noche for cool-down, but it does not look like anybody noticed any difference with last week’s Quiero Saber.

Song List

  1. Anatomic — Warm-Up — by Afro Celt Sound System
  2. Zumba Samba — Brazilian Dance
  3. Las Mujeres Lo Bailan Bien — Merengue
  4. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  5. Aguanile * — Salsa
  6. La Batidora — Reggaeton
  7. Dança Da Mãozinha — Axé
  8. Tunak Tunak Tun — Bhangra
  9. Bla Bla Bla — Reggaeton / Cumbia
  10. Toul Omry — Salsa / Bellydance
  11. Con Moviemento † — Bachata / Reggaeton
  12. El Baile del Gorila — Rumba Flamenca
  13. Mueve la Booty † — Merengue
  14. Rumba en la Noche — Cool-Down — by Juan Manuel Cañizares
* Played only @ Azul Yoga & Pilates Studio
† Played only @ Sala Pabellón