Tuesday, 27 November 2012

How do you sing “®”?

The unusual thing about ZIN MegaMix 32 is... absence of any salsa, merengue and cumbia (which, some of you may recall, are three of the four styles they teach at the Zumba® Basic 1 course). Six out of eleven tracks are “Zumba Fitness originals” of varying quality. (Actually I quite liked Africanisima: it is so different from what Zumba normally sells.) And, apparently, it’s not enough just to put “Zumba” in every song, it must come together with registered trademark symbol. Hence the title Zumba® Battleship, the yuckiest song of the compilation.

MegaMix 32 Song List

  1. Calor — Warm Up *
  2. Sueña Desierto Es Carnaval — Latin Pop ◊
  3. Toma Reggaeton — Reggaeton ◊ ☙
  4. El Tucanazo — Quebradita *
  5. Desengonçado — Axé — by Cecéu Muniz
  6. Go — Ragga Caribbean ◊
  7. Africanisima — African Dance ◊
  8. Zumba® Battleship — Dance / Hip-Hop ◊
  9. Luxor Baladna — Belly Dance — by Movses Panossian
  10. Ojos Negros — Middle Eastern Pop ◊
  11. Seasons of Love — Musical Theater *
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals
☙ Spicy Lyrics

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

What are we gonna do with it?

In the unlikely event that you are following this blog, you could have noticed that I am not a big fan of Zumba-ing double acts. Now imagine how happy I was receiving ZIN 41 and watching another live class. With another double act. Mind you, in some respects it’s very different from Tanya and Gina, Lindsey and Kass, or Zumbatwinz for that matter. Most importantly, Betsy Dopico totally out-dances her co-presenter Ricardo Marmitte. One-on-one class with Donna Giffen is all right. I quite like her way of building up the routine, it is just that the music, once again, fails to inspire.

No bhangra, flamenco or samba. Doesn’t matter, I gave up on the music from ZIN long time ago. But... as funny as it sounds, my favourite choreo on the DVD is the one for Now That We Found Love, a cover of the most ridiculous cover I ever heard.

Song List

  1. Mueve ese Eskeleto — Electro Merengue — by Fulanito ☙
  2. Pretenciosa — Salsa ◊
  3. Me Gustan Todas — Techno Cumbia * ☙
  4. Pose — Reggaeton * ☙
  5. Now That We Found Love — Disco Rap *
  6. Mereketengue — Pasito Duranguense ◊
  7. Bem Vindos — Funk ◊
  8. Taca Taca — Merengue / Calypso *
  9. Como un Angel — Reggaeton Pop — by Zulayka ☙
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals
☙ Spicy Lyrics

Thursday, 25 October 2012

One year on

You know what, I just realised that I did my first real Zumba class exactly one year ago. Time for a progress report?

Well, there’s not much to report. My morning class on Tuesday and Thursday was all but dead for weeks — only one student was attending and then not always. So I decided to stop the morning classes in the Botanical Park for a while. The only class still running is the Wednesday evening at FuerteFusión. Sometimes I have two students, once I had eight students (all hip scarves were in use!) but most often I have four people there. I can’t say this keeps me extremely busy, but at least it’s a weekly event I look forward to — something the morning classes ceased to be long time ago.

One rainy sunny rainy (yes sometimes it rains even here) day I was sitting and contemplating whether it was the time to close the shop and concentrate on something else. Ironically, it was exactly when my Facebook page accumulated 100 “likes”. To help me to celebrate this momentous achievement, Facebook presented me with €30 publicity voucher, which I can spend to promote my page so it could get even more “likes”. Oh bother. I would prefer just €30 in cash. It turns out that in order to redeem the said voucher, I have to give Facebook my credit card details. Thanks but no thanks, I’m fine.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

I prefer Gangnam Style

The latest ZIN offering is, as per usual, not especially good, not especially bad, not especially fresh. All standard Zumba fare except maybe covers of Chic’s Le Freak (which was big in 1978 and ever since) and Rihanna’s We Found Love (which by now everybody should be thoroughly sick of).

Forget Zumba for a moment (or longer). This weekend (better late than never), I discovered Gangnam Style by Korean rapper Psy — apparently, the most “liked” video on YouTube. And I can see why.

MegaMix 31 Song List

  1. We Found Love — ElectroPop / Warm Up *
  2. El Lapicero — Merengue — by Raul Acosta & Manikkomio ☙
  3. Al Son De Los Cueros — Salsa — by Sonora Carruseles
  4. La Cumbia Tribalera — Tribal * ☙
  5. Ahora Es — Reggaeton * ☙
  6. Agachadita — Cumbia * ☙
  7. Danca Da Cordinha — Samba / Axé *
  8. Le Freak — Disco *
  9. Trikitrikitran — Rumba Flamenca — by Mayka
  10. Las Cosas Pequeñas — Bachata *
* Covers
☙ Spicy Lyrics

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Getting nasty?

A live class without Beto, Tanya or Gina: now that sounds like a good idea. Long overdue, I say. But the implementation? A class with Lindsey Taylor and Kass Martin on ZIN 40: it is just like the class with Tanya and Gina. Except without Tanya and Gina.

What’s the point of having two instructors anyway? Even though each of them quite obviously can dance, poor synchronisation makes the whole show appear messy. When Beto dances together with two/four/more other instructors... well, they may be not that well synchronised either, but at least you know who to look at for “master” routine. Here it is just not the case. (Can we have a class with Zumbatwinz next time?) And another thing: the students surely are not supposed to repeat that floor body wave. What’s this showing off for?

In One-on-One, Michael Thomas shows some interesting moves, but somehow none of his routines makes a convincing whole. The only song/choreo from this DVD I would like to try is Coisa Brasileira from the live class. That’s 1—0 Two Ladies vs One Guy.

A new feature: now songs with “spicy lyrics” are indicated with a little chilli pepper icon. So that you know.

Song List

  1. Me Va Quema el Celular — Merengue * ☙
  2. Vamos Pa’ La Pista — Salsa ◊
  3. La Suavecita — Cumbia / Reggaeton * ☙
  4. Fuera de Control — Reggaeton — by K.L.C. Clave Cubana ☙
  5. Maria — Rumba Flamenca ◊
  6. Getting Nasty — Techno Dance — by KCB ft. Lady Lauryn ☙
  7. Coisa Brasileira — Axé / Capoeira ◊
  8. Ponte los Tenis — Electro Merengue ◊
  9. Come On Eileen — Ska Punk * ☙
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals
☙ Spicy Lyrics

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Home ☼ ☼ ☼ home

Home Still Home

To live in Fuerteventura and go on holidays to Britain, rather than the other way round — that feels weird. Good too. England was nice, most of the time. Scotland was beautiful. The weather was pleasing. The prices... well that was a bit of shock. Even so, it was great to be there and see friends. I even managed to play a gig with Arco Iris. Better still, to come back home.

Home Sleep Home

Finally, sleeping in my own bedroom. The days are hot, but after dark it is nicer outside. Maybe should consider sleeping on the sunroof — after I’ve done with cleaning, that is.

Home Sweep Home

After a month away, the patio, terrace and sunroof are covered in a thick layer of Martian dust. The surfaces in the house... are covered in a thinner layer of the same dust. I keep on sweeping.

Home Swim Home

As I just said, England was mostly nice. The visit to Wells-next-the-Sea was an exception. The weather was good, even hot by English standard, so it looked like everybody decided to go there on that particular Saturday. In a nutshell: long and slow drive; no decent parking; inefficient staff in a café (and nothing spectacular in terms of food); incredibly crowded beach, without swimmable sea. That served as a reminder why did we move to Fuerte in the first place. Needless to say, the next morning after the return we cycled to the beach for a dip. Bliss.

Home Slim Home

After all this driving around Britain (that is, sitting in a car for a good part of a day), I’m back to walking, cycling, swimming and, you may have guessed, Zumba-ing. And no more full English breakfast for me till next year.

Actually, I almost went para zumbar in London. There are hundreds of Zumba instructors there, but in search for a “local” class (that is, something within a walkable distance from the place in North London where we were staying) I came across one free class that was held in a church. The only problem was... it turned out to be “ladies only”. What a disappointment.

Home Sweat Home

My, it is hot outside. So, following the suggestion from my student, I moved the morning classes from 10:00 to 9:00. Nine o’clock! That really is early for me, but today’s class has proved it was the right decision. I think by 11 we would be “well done” (as opposed to more usual “medium rare”). Nevertheless, as I just realised, this is exactly what I said to my students: “Well done everybody”.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Feel Alright

Sometimes I wonder, should I even bother? (Writing about monthly ZIN releases, that is.)

Or shall I put it the other way: sometimes they wonder, should they even bother? (Compiling their monthly offerings, that is.)

Truth to be told, I found ZIN MegaMix 30 rather... listenable. I did not care much about Buraku and That’s Not My Name though. Nothing fantastic or even remotely original, but all in all... it feels alright.

Song List

  1. Apache (Warrior One Remix) — Warm-up *
  2. Torero — Latin Pop *
  3. Que Cosa Tan Linda — Salsa *
  4. Fever — Reggaeton *
  5. Buraku — Caribbean Hip-Hop — by K-liber4life
  6. Mis Ojos Lloran por Ti — Quebradita *
  7. El Baile de las Cocoteras — Cumbia *
  8. That’s Not My Name — Punk Pop *
  9. Verano Sólido — Merengue *
  10. Feel Alright — Tropical / Pop ◊
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals

Monday, 23 July 2012

African Healing Dance

with Wyoma and the Dancers and Drummers of Damballa

Of my small collection of dance fitness videos, this one is perhaps the most enjoyable. Wyoma must be a brilliant teacher. The programme was recorded in 1997 but it does not look dated in any way. The picture quality, however, is not that great. The whole DVD appears to be little more than a direct transfer of the original VHS tape. But don’t let this spoil your experience.

Also, don’t be confused or annoyed by the word “healing”. No matter what your relationships with African deities are, the dances are guaranteed to make you feel better.

The body teaches. The more you learn about your own natural body rhythms, the healthier you can be.

The workout is fun. It starts with Wyoma teaching some body isolations. Then she proceeds to show — and explain the origin of — the traditional African dance moves: imitation of animals such as snake, elephant, birds; the elements (air, fire, water and earth); and daily routines (picking berries, grinding grains and so on). The warm-up is just the right length and effort level. In the DVD booklet (a nice touch, by the way) it is explained that the warm-up is not traditionally done in Africa as the “dancers there have already spent much of the day walking miles to gather food or water or to attend school, so their muscles are typically loose and ready for the joys of more rigorous movement”. Then we are taught the real African dances.

The African-Caribbean Dances section includes only two dances, both of them are loa dances of Haiti, of Benin origin. I was especially impressed by Yonwalu. On the video, it is danced first at slower pace, with Wyoma breaking down the moves, then at the faster tempo.

The Healing Journey is some sort of free-style dance/meditation:

Bring your curiosity, freedom from judgement, and sense of play to the dance floor... Dance a dream or fantasy, or dance with no thought at all.

Oh, did I mention the open-air setting and live drumming? It’s all there too!

Finally, in the very end of a short cool-down, Wyoma encourages you to take whatever you’ve learned and share it with someone. Isn’t it wonderful?

African Healing Dance

  • Dance as a means of healing body, mind, and spirit
  • Body Isolations
  • Animal-based movement
  • Dance based on everyday movements
  • Dance based on the four elements
  • The warm-up
  • Traditional African Dances
    • Sowu — “The Dance of Life” (Ghana)
    • Gbêgbé — Journey to find a new home (The Ivory Coast)
    • Focodoba — Post-initiation basket dance (Guinea)
    • Umoya — Bringing energy from heaven and earth (South Africa)
  • African-Caribbean Dances
    • Nago — The warrior dance (Haiti)
    • Yonwalu — Dance for Damballa, the Serpent Deity (Haiti)
  • Improvisation: The Healing Journey
  • The cool down

The Dancers

  • Nii Armah Sowah
  • k. osiris wade
  • Lisa Wittner

The Drummers

  • Clifton Robinson
  • Heidi Alina
  • Eric Robnett
  • Saphyre

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

A year on Fuerteventura

One year ago this day, I came to live on this island, without much of a clue what I am going to do. By that time, my old job was already fading from memory; not that there was any chance (or desire) to find anything similar on Fuerteventura. On the other hand, I was freshly qualified as a Zumba and Aqua Zumba instructor and, according to the Zumba web site, there were no other instructors on the island. The phase transition from an unemployed scientist to an unemployed fitness instructor was almost complete. Here are a few things that I’ve learned, Zumba-wise:
  1. People are not exactly queuing to attend Zumba classes here
  2. I can give a 90-minute class of Zumba and stay alive
  3. I can give four Zumba classes a week and still stay alive
  4. If nobody turns up for the class, it is not the end of the world. The beach is nearby
  5. It is unlikely that Zumba classes will pay my bills
Is one year a long time? Not really. Not on Fuerteventura anyway. Things do not happen fast on la Isla Tranquila, and if they did, it won’t be la Isla Tranquila any longer. With or without Zumba, I’m here to stay.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Now he raps too

I will be honest with you: I’ve seen worse than ZIN 39. Sure, the music is, to put it mildly, not the best — and not very diverse, even by Zumba standards. (Do we need that much electro merengue?) The only happy exception is Indian Moonshine, where I liked both live class and one-on-one versions. But it is nice to see Beto in good form and enthusiastic about the whole thing again, perhaps for the first time since ZIN 33 (and that was published a year ago! Incidentally, that was the first ZIN volume I have received, and the most last useful one.)

I like the new one-on-one format, presented here by ZES Steve Boedt. The breakdown of steps now goes on top of (rather than before) the demonstration. On the other hand, after hearing it once, you may want to switch the commentary off — and you can!

There are three bonus videos on the DVD: Baila mi Son by Ensamble, Crazy Love featuring Mara and not particularly good rap from Beto, and Sweet Girl by Zumba Fitness. (For the last time: there is no such artist as Zumba Fitness. Why would anybody call oneself after a fitness company?) As is the case with most of bonus material, it is completely disposable.

Song List

  1. Pégate Más – Electro Merengue *
  2. Sweet Girl – Merengue House ◊
  3. Baila mi Son – Salsa – by Ensamble
  4. El Rey – Cumbia *
  5. El Jefe — Latin Hip-Hop *
  6. Ella me Copia – Techno Bachata / Rumba Flamenca ◊
  7. Indian Moonshine – Bhangra Folk Fusion ◊
  8. Party Rock Anthem – Electro House *
  9. Dueño de Nada – Urban Merengue – by Mara
  10. Crazy Love – Electro Merengue – by Mara
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals

Friday, 25 May 2012

Big Dance Video and MegaMix 29

OK people, if you haven’t seen it already... you didn’t miss much. Here’s the official top secret song and Zumba® choreography for the UK Big Dance Week 2012: Es Tiempo De Bailar. Why did they make this video “unlisted”, I know not. The song is thoroughly boring (at just over four minutes, sounds like eternity to me), the choreography... As Beto didn’t even break a sweat (see, his top is still on), I figure he is dead bored too. Big yawn.

As for MegaMix 29: actually, on the second listening, it’s not as bad as the previous compilation. (Then again, should one even attempt to replicate that?) It is worth keeping for De Una Vez Gozando by Sonora Carruseles alone. Then I really liked the cover of Gabriel Romero’s La Subienda. But the rest?

Merengue El Pollo is one of those patience-testing songs: they really should try and change a chord once in a while. Reggaeton Latino may have been Don Omar’s major hit back in 2005. Now it sounds terribly dated. Frankly, it never was that good in the first place. And, with all respect to Dido, what Thank You has to do with Zumba? (Just checking, I know the answer. Zumba wants to become even more mainstream by catering for those who does not listen to Latin, African or Asian music... basically anything that is not sung in English.)

Song List

  1. Anderlecht Champion (Euro 2000 Olé Olé Olé mix) — Warm Up — by Eurostars
  2. El Pollo — Merengue — by Amarfis y la Banda de Atakke
  3. Mete Bronca — Axé — by Ceceu Muniz
  4. La Subienda — Cumbia *
  5. Hybrid — Caribbean Hip-Hop — by K-liber4life
  6. El Party — Merengue House — by Proyecto Uno
  7. Reggaeton Latino — Reggaeton — by Don Omar
  8. De Una Vez Gozando — Salsa — by Sonora Carruseles
  9. The Sign — Pop *
  10. Thank You — Cool Down *
* Covers

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Zumba, as seen in Gran Hermano

Where is everybody? I mean, everybody? OK, let’s see, there was Semana Santa, then Feria de Abril, then Día del trabajo... But that’s it. Is it? There were very few people attending recently. And when I say very few, I really mean very few. You know that even if just one person turns up, I give a class. During the last two weeks, three classes were cancelled. Not a good sign.

If you remember, two months ago I did my first fundraising Zumba class in CEIP “Antoñito El Farero”. Which I thought was a success: local people were talking (at last!) about Zumba. So I did expect a little bit more turnout for our second Zumba event on 7 May 2012. Obviously I was wrong. Maybe it was too short a notice, but there were far less people yesterday.

Could it be that everybody was watching Gran Hermano instead? For some time, my fellow Spanish Zumba instructors were discussing Zumba being promoted on The Big Brother. Personally I do not subscribe to a view that every publicity is good publicity. Zumba, “as seen in Gran Hermano”? If I never heard about Zumba, I would probably say “no, thank you”.

Still, I got my endorphins going wherever they go, couple of new songs were learned for the occasion, and there were children who apparently enjoyed Zumba too (especially the fact that some of them got to wear hip scarves). Tamara did two songs with me, Hecha Pa’lante and La Gota Fría. All in all, I think it was not a bad class.

Song List

  1. Mbube — Warm-Up (1) — African song — by Miriam Makeba
  2. Samba De Janeiro — Warm-Up (2) — Samba Dance
  3. Chillin’ — Merengue
  4. Vivre — Salsa — by Zap Mama
  5. Alegria Pa Zumbar — Samba
  6. Busamba — Salsa / Cha-cha-chá
  7. La Peinada — Quebradita
  8. Hecha Pa’lante — Bellydance
  9. La Gota Fría — Cumbia
  10. Hindu Cumen — Indian Fusion / Cha-cha-chá
  11. Mambo — Rumba Flamenca — by Bandoleros
  12. Caipirinha — Brazilian Dance / Bellydance
  13. Aña Pa’ Mi Tambor — Salsa — by La Excelencia
  14. Zorba — Sirtaki
  15. Vuelvo al sur — Cool-Down — Tango — by Gotan Project

Monday, 30 April 2012

Aqua Zumba Vol. 7

This is the fourth and probably the last Aqua Zumba CD/DVD set I am getting (and therefore reviewing). I suppose I still will be able to purchase the follow-ups but frankly I don’t see why I should.

Music: not especially bad, but nothing remarkable. I heard Hola my Friend already on MegaMix 25 (although there it was called “Pacific Rhythm” rather than “Polynesian Rhythm”, even though it sounds like calypso to me). And of course, Daler Mehndi’s bhangra is always a welcome addition to the usual merengue/salsa/cumbia/reggaeton programme.

The choreo... once again, not bad, but nothing to write home about. Also, I have nothing against using the bench, but hanging on the frame looks like an extravagance I can live without.

Song List

  1. La Mujere Quieren Más — Merengue *
  2. Cumbia de mi Tierra — Cumbia *
  3. La Extranjera — Reggaeton — by K.L.C. Clave Cubana
  4. A Gozar Timbero — Timba / Cha-cha-chá *
  5. Hola my Friend — Polynesian Rhythm ◊
  6. Tú Tienes — Merengue *
  7. Me Enamoro de su Piel — Cumbia — by Periko
  8. Oxígeno — Salsa *
  9. Ho Jayegi Balle Balle — Dance / Bollywood — by Daler Mehndi
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals

Friday, 20 April 2012

Wish you weren’t here

The brand new ZIN newsletter (April 2012) says:
First Zumba® Instructor Conference Is a Worldwide Hit!

Top-notch media from all over the world traveled to London, England in February to visit the first-ever Zumba® Instructor Conference. Reporters were blown away by the passion and off-the-charts energy of our instructors.
And what could be the best way to commemorate this historic event? Two scenarios spring to mind.
  • The truly cunning: to present the highlights of the Conference in such a way that anybody (both attendees and those who did not find either time or money to go there) would not just think that it was half grand well spent, but also ready to part with such (or larger) sum come the next conference.
  • The really nice: to give back something useful to ZINs whose hard-earned cash made this conference possible in the first place. (But frankly, I wouldn’t put much money on it).
Guess what? Neither of these. Instead, we are sent just another £@€%!#$ CD/DVD set.

On ZIN 38, the music keeps hitting new lows, what with annoying trademarking, imaginative lyrics like “Dancing the salsa, Zumba te llama” (Dancing Salsa), misinformation (Zumba Time!! is not a calypso) and even a house song. And did anyone notice the small print on the disc:
All songs PPL & PPCA free except track #6.
That’s new. I just checked all ZIN CDs and DVDs I have: none of them has exceptions like this. I don’t care much about Pitbull’s song but this sets an unpleasant precedent. After all, thousands of instructors are using Zumba’s covers or even so-called “originals” instead of the real thing precisely because they are free to use without paying additional licenses.

On DVD: another masterclass by Beto, no better (to put it mildly) than Beto’s classes from the times when ZIN volume numbers were in their twenties and the man himself still did care about stuff. The choreography is rather tired, with the only exception of The Trip. Wait a minute. Is this really Beto or his avatar from Zumba Fitness Rush?

Another novelty is that there are three different instructors in one-on-one class, each presenting three songs. This may be not a bad thing, considering that you are bound to dislike at least one of them. As an icing on the cake, we are reminded that we are not supposed to break down the steps for the class. Nice.



Song List

  1. Bunda — Merengue — by Watatah
  2. Dancing Salsa — Salsa ◊
  3. The Trip — Arabian Reggaeton *
  4. Loco — Cumbia ◊
  5. Eva Maria — Quebradita *
  6. Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor) — Hip House — by Pitbull feat T-Pain
  7. Zumba Time!! — Calypso — by Watatah
  8. Balans — Caribbean Hip-Hop — by K-Liber4life
  9. Stereo Love — House *
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Un año después

One year ago to the day, I qualified as a Zumba Fitness instructor and joined ZIN. Like many other things, this happened by accident. For a couple of months, I was entertaining the idea of becoming Zumba instructor while still in the UK (the plan to move here was around for much longer). However, according to the Zumba website, there were no Zumba Basic training anywhere close to Cambridge. In February, I was visiting the USA and came back to England for a few days before flying to Fuerte. Out of curiosity, I went to check the Zumba web again. And behold, a miracle! There were places for training in Peterborough on 15 April. So I went ahead and booked my place. As soon as I did that, the Zumba web site was showing the same course as “sold out”. Maybe there was just one place available, the cancellation or something.

The training, with Naomi Mokoena and Natalia Bull, was great. By the end of day I was thoroughly exhausted and just wanted to lay down. The rest... well, is not history yet, but it is covered in this blog in reasonable detail.

All in all, it was a rewarding thing to do, if not financially, then as an experience. How long will I stay with ZIN and give Zumba classes, is another matter. Check this space one year later.

Thank you Tamara Kulikova and Luisa Curbelo: I would never go that far without your support.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Cardio Samba Workout

with Quenia Ribeiro

I loved The Samba Reggae Workout so much that I decided to get another one by Quenia Ribeiro. Perhaps inevitably, I kept comparing this DVD with SRW.

Here, Quenia introduces samba no pe (Rio-style samba). She breaks down the basic steps — and then not-so basic steps — in the tutorial section, and there are enough repeats to get at least some hang of them. If not, go to the beginning.

The warm-up, just like in SRW, is more like cool-down. But here it is extra-long: 27 minutes! This is like a workout on its own. During the cardio workout proper, we are going through all the steps and moves from the tutorial, first slow, then at the “real samba tempo”. Which means, fast. Really fast. At least for me. Unless you know the choreographies from the tutorial real well, it’s almost impossible to follow the fast bits. The good news is, that the first four sections of cardio workout exactly correspond to the sections of tutorial, so you can work, say, on section 3 only. The last part of the cardio workout combines all four choreos at the full speed.

The cooldown is surprisingly short (under three minutes!) but, as it utilises some of the warmup moves, I guess one could freely borrow from that section to pad it up.

SRW features the live samba band playing on the same stage as the dancers. Alas, no such luxury here. The backing track is very repetitive, even by samba standards. But I guess you were not going to use it anyway.



Cardio Samba Workout


Welcome00:00
Learn Basic Samba Steps01:44
Step-by-step Tutorial
     Workout Section 113:11
     Workout Section 218:25
     Workout Section 322:51
     Workout Section 429:26
     Basic samba steps between segments40:11
Warmup41:19
Workout
     Workout 11:08:23
     Workout 21:16:42
     Workout 31:20:26
     Workout 41:24:19
     Full workout fast1:28:46
Cooldown1:34:03

Total time

1:36:52

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Now this is what I call ZIN 37

Check it out: live class with Beto. Cardio party with Beto, Tanya and Gina. Beto. Beto. Tanya. Live class with Beto, one-on-one with Gina. Beto. You get the idea. Tanya, with guest appearance of Beto. Beto with some guys. Beto again. And now, ladies and gentlemen... Tanya and Gina. Why am I not so thrilled? I’ll tell you why.

But first, I have to declare that I may be prejudiced. I heard a lot of (mostly negative) opinions about ZIN 37 long before I started to worry whether my own copy was lost in transit. Which seems to be the case. Finally, when the MegaMix 28 arrived, I sent a note to Zumba Home Office and, to their credit, they sent me a replacement copy pronto. After watching it, I almost regretted troubling them. It was so not worth waiting for.

Remember the worst ZIN MegaMix you ever heard? I promise, music-wise ZIN 37 is even worse. The live class in Frankfurt is... to say “disappointing” would be an understatement. The dance routines feature a lot of clapping, apparently designed both to work the class into frenzy and enliven the dull choreography. When Tanya and Gina appear together on the stage, the choreo does not seem to be well coordinated between the two. It is embarrassing to listen, embarrassing to watch. It must be embarrassing squared to dance to it — not that I tried. How does it feel to teach this?

One-on-one class with Lindsey Taylor is more watchable (as far as the annoying distorted-honeycomb background allows) and the choreo looks more interesting. But it cannot save the sheer awfulness of the music.


Song List

  1. If You Wanna Dance — Techno Cumbia ◊
  2. Hasta Que Se Rompa el Cuero — Salsa *
  3. La Bomba — Merengue / Techno Cumbia ◊
  4. In a Search — Reggaeton — by Obie P
  5. Mr. Saxobeat — Eurodance *
  6. Vino Tinto — Rumba Flamenca / Pop
  7. Sexy Movimiento — Electronic / Reggaeton *
  8. Asi Te Quiero Ver — Merengue — by Fulanito
  9. Quiebra — Quebradita ◊
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals

Friday, 30 March 2012

MegaMix 28

If you (like myself) thought that MegaMix 27 was bad, what can be said about the latest compilation? MegaBad? Don’t you feel sick of another axé by Ceceu Muniz, another rumba flamenca by Bandoleros? Apart from Nachde Ne Saare, absolutely nothing, I repeat, nothing of interest.

One would think that with so many new ZIN members paying their licence fees, ZIN should have enough money to bring us some decent music. Instead, they send something that I wouldn’t bother downloading for free.

Song List

  1. Merengue con Letra — Merengue *
  2. Barranquillero Arrebatao — Salsa *
  3. Lovumba — Electroflow / Reggaeton *
  4. Todo Duro — Axé — by Ceceu Muniz
  5. Rumbatone — Rumba Flamenca / Reggaeton — by Bandoleros
  6. I Wanna Go — Dance pop *
  7. Baile Privado — Urban Merengue *
  8. Ay Mami — Socaton *
  9. Nachde Ne Saare — Punjabi — by Devender Khannewala
  10. A Heart That’s Full of Love — Acoustic Pop ◊
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals

Saturday, 17 March 2012

La vida es un carnaval

Spring is here, and the carnival came to Corralejo! So it was decided (a) to move classes to 10 am (by mid-day the sun is getting really hot) and (b) to dress up for the occasion. (And beyond, because in search of carnival accessories I went to FuerChina shop and bought there, among other stuff, the bellydancing hip scarves for €2.90 each.) We had two lovely classes on Tuesday and Thursday.

The new song we tried this Thursday was Busamba (from Aqua Zumba Vol. 5). I think I managed to confuse most of my students with some non-traditional steps, so have to work on cues for it.

This year’s theme is “musicals”. Whatever I am wearing is supposed to represent Berger from Hair. I should say the ’60s wig did not stay on my head longer than warm-up, mostly because I couldn’t see much in it.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Zumba in the school

Once upon a time, I mean, Some time last Autumn, I went to my son’s school, CEIP “Antoñito El Farero” to attend the parents’ meeting. Apart from discussing Timur’s progress, we’ve talked with his teacher about the end of the year school trip, or rather, the ways of raising money for it. I have suggested giving a class of Zumba at the school, and, to my surprise, got an enthusiastic response. Nothing followed though for three months or so. And then... I was asked to do it!

So: on Monday 5 March I did my very first fundraising Zumba class with 25 people attending! Tamara helped me a lot, not only managing to attend the class after her chi kung marathon, but also doing one song with me. (I know, I know, I do have to work on those cumbia steps, but still, I impressed myself by remembering most of them.) Also, several students from my morning class came to support me. All in all I think it was a success. After the class, a number of ladies came to talk and I hope I will get some new students. Most importantly, Spanish audience seemed to like what they saw and did. In the evening, the president of school’s AMPA (Asociación de Madres y Padres de Alumnos) sent an email to all the parents which I found very flattering... Fingers crossed, we will have another Zumba party!

Song List

  1. Anatomic — Warm-Up — by Afro Celt Sound System
  2. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  3. La Fiesta Ya Se Encendió — Merengue
  4. Taboo – Axé / Urban
  5. Toul Omry — Salsa / Bellydance
  6. Tunak Tunak Tun — Bhangra
  7. The Click Song — African / Cha-cha-cha — by Miriam Makeba
  8. La Batidora — Reggaeton
  9. Dança Da Mãozinha — Axé
  10. Rosa — Cumbia
  11. Zu Bailaito — Quebradita
  12. M’Toto — African — by Zap Mama
  13. Last Tango in Paris — Cool-Down — by Gotan Project

Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Click Song

The final result of the last month’s Zumbathon (released on 27 February) is... €7,443.50 for charity! Well done Zumba Lanzarote!

In case you did not notice, I was not writing anything here for the last three weeks. I am pleased to say that the morning classes saw an increase in attendance. (On Thursday 1 March we had 11 Zumber@s, including two gentlemen!) Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the classes in FuerteFusión. Two people at most. Where are all those who wanted the evening classes? As a result, this month there won’t be classes at 19:00. I am taking a two-week break and then the classes will resume at a different time slot. Watch this space!

The new songs we practiced these weeks were La Fiesta Ya Se Encendió (ZIN 36), La Vida Es Un Carnaval by Celia Cruz, Samba De Janeiro (ZIN MegaMix 24), The Click Song by Miriam Makeba and Vivre by Zap Mama.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Zumbathon in Lanzarote

The first outing — I mean, out of the island — since I moved to Fuerteventura last July. All for a good cause: a Zumbathon organised by Lesley Thom of Zumba Lanzarote. The money raised go to the local charity A.F.O.L. (Asociación de Familias Oncohematológicas de Lanzarote) — apparently, the only cancer charity on Lanzarote.

The event took place at rather posh (five-star!) hotel Hesperia Lanzarote in Puerto Calero. While wandering about the hotel looking for the Zumbathon venue, I walked into the registration desk of the Natural Products Conference. It felt a bit weird, like entering the time portal into the past. As soon as I got the right directions, I hurried back to the present.

Apart from Lesley, there were four guest instructors: Jorge Blasco, Lynsey Carroll, Wanda Knight and yours truly. I did three songs (all very short): Kulikitaka by Banda Brasileña De Carnaval, Bubamara by Fanfare Ciocărlia and M’Toto by Zap Mama. (We were practicing the latter one with my morning class for the last couple of weeks.) I think they went rather well.

The whole thing was great. OK, this is the only Zumbathon I ever been, so I couldn’t compare. Then again, maybe I could. For I know that elsewhere my colleagues were struggling to get the people interested and had to cancel events like this. But here we had well over 100 zumber@s thoroughly enjoying themselves — yes, I even spotted some men dancing! I’m sure there would be even more if at some point Lesley didn’t indicate that the venue is getting too crammed and there won’t be any tickets sold at the door. She promises next time it will be outdoors with unlimited places. Bring it on.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Campeona del zumba?

Yesterday, several enraged fellow ZIN members shared a link to this fascinating item in El Periódico Mediterraneo: a reportage from... Campeonato de España de Zumba (Zumba Championship of Spain)! Well, if there is a championship, then there must be a champion. The article is subtitled: “Raquel Gil es la primera campeona de España de la historia y este fin de semana irá a las Olimpiadas” (“Raquel Gil is the first Spanish champion in history and this weekend will go to the Olympics”). More than that: according to this publication, Ms Gil said that
Siempre ha sido mi gran pasión y además de competir, también doy clases.

It [fitness] has always been my passion and, in addition to competing, I also give classes.
The article is written in such a style that a reader is instantly getting confused. Competing in what? Classes of what? (Of “el zumba”?) Which Olympics? It also could be that the author, Miguel Ángel Sales, has no clue what he is writing about. There is no such thing as Zumba Championship. (Not yet, anyway.) Also, a quick search shows that there is no Zumba instructor by the name of Raquel Gil.

But enough of that. For the last two weeks, in addition to my morning classes, I was giving an evening class in FuerteFusión. In fact, I should have given two evening classes, but Wednesday 9 pm proved to be too awkward time for anybody to turn up. (Either that, or football was getting in the way.) Next week, both Monday and Wednesday classes will be at 7 pm.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Aqua Zumba Vol. 6 and MegaMix 27

Back in June 2011, I attended the Aqua Zumba training and Zumba Masterclass in Liverpool with ZES Kelly Bullard. Without any exaggeration, it was a truly remarkable experience. I was looking forward to this Aqua Zumba DVD featuring Kelly. I’d love to say that it did not disappoint. But that would be a lie. The thing is, Kelly does a good job given the material. I am not sure who gave this material to her though. Remember what is the single most important element in a Zumba class? That’s right, the music. No matter how good choreography is, it cannot save the bad music.

Now I understand that I am entering a dangerous territory here. Highly subjective. I don’t like pop. That includes “Latin Pop”, and this collection has three (out of nine!) songs marked as such, even though La Bomba could have been called “reggaeton”. All three are awful. The best songs in this collection are Reggae Kumbia and Yo No Fui. As per usual, most of the lyrics here are interspersed with “Zumba Fitness”, which really gets on my nerves. (As if simply “Zumba” were not enough. But “Zumba Fitness”? “Zumba Fitness sabroso”? Yuck, yuck, yuck.)

As for MegaMix 27, I don’t feel it even deserves a post on its own. Can’t think of any usable tune from here except from a cover of Benny Moré’s Qué bueno baila usted — alas, once again contaminated by “Zumba Fitness”. And what Great Balls of Fire, More Than Words and Unislide are doing here?

Aqua Zumba Vol. 6 — Song List

  1. Vamos a la Playa — Latin Pop
  2. Hablale De Mi — Salsa / Reggaeton — by K.L.C. Clave Cubana
  3. Reggae Kumbia — Cumbia / Reggaeton
  4. Rumba y Gozadera — Merengue
  5. Yo No Fui — Reggaeton / Calypso
  6. Dime Lo Que Quieres — Salsa
  7. Shabadabada — Latin Pop
  8. Mano Pa’ Arriba — Reggaeton
  9. La Bomba — Latin Pop

MegaMix 27 — Song List

  1. El cuento — Merengue — by Omar El Spactacular
  2. Que Bueno Baila Usted — Salsa
  3. Bureo, Bureo — Urban Funk
  4. Rebolaxa — Axé — by Ceceu Muniz
  5. Cumbia del Caribe — Cumbia
  6. Unislide — Freestyle — by Jerome Haywood
  7. Great Balls of Fire — Rock and Roll
  8. Amoot Alak — Rumba Flamenca — by Bandoleros
  9. Het Is Tijd — Soca — by K-Liber4life
  10. More Than Words — Acoustic Rock

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

SOPA, PIPA and Zumba

Today, the Wikipedia community blacks out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours worldwide, starting 05:00 UTC.
The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.
Although SOPA and PIPA are the most ridiculous acronyms the U.S. legislators ever came up with, this is not exactly laughing matter. Regrettably — although not surprisingly — a list of organizations that support SOPA, compiled by the bill’s sponsor, Lamar Smith, includes my licensor, Zumba Fitness, LLC. By supporting this reactionary piece of legislation, it committed a grave mistake: that of underestimating the consumer’s power. As the boycott of Go Daddy has shown, this may be real costly. Even among Zumba fans, there are enough internet-savvy consumers and Android app users who may feel outraged and hit where it hurts. Naturally, that will hurt not only Zumba Fitness, LLC but also its licensees around the world.

Luckily, SOPA is about to be shelved after president Barack Obama indicated that he would not support the legislation that
reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risks or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet.
But it is not dead yet.

Friday, 13 January 2012

¡Olé FuerteFusión!

Great news everybody — this Monday 9 January my friend Chantal opened a brand new dance studio called FuerteFusión. It is located at Calle Bajo del Mejillon 5, opposite the post office. Hopefully the people who wait in a queue there will hear the music and pay notice. When I first saw the studio in December, I thought it won’t be ready for couple of months. Two weeks later, it opened the doors. There will be classes of salsa (both Cuban and LA style) and bachata every weekday. And guess what, yours truly is going to give Zumba classes there! To start, there will be two classes a week: Monday 19:00—20:00 and Wednesday 21:00—22:00.

In fact, I did the very first free class on Wednesday. OK there were only four people attending but this is a start. This time I opted for (almost) non-stop programme, just under 60 minutes, without breaking down the steps and no talking. I thought it went rather well... This impression was reinforced on Thursday when one of the zumberas told me that she really enjoyed the class because I did less talking (than usual, that is) and cut down on pauses between the songs.

Today I got some feedback from the Wednesday class. Hmmm. Apparently, omitting the breakdown was not that good idea, at least for those who never did Zumba before. Also, it looks like I have to use more verbal cues during the dances — again, that is something that I was trying to avoid. Another day, another lesson.

Last week, I introduced Taboo (aka Chorando Se Foi) from ZIN 36. The new song this week is a slow merengue, La Noche from ZIN 29.

Song List

Tuesday and Thursday
  1. Mayoral — Warm-Up — by Novalima
  2. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  3. Las Mujeres Lo Bailan Bien — Merengue
  4. Los Campeones de la Salsa — Salsa
  5. Taboo – Axé / Urban
  6. Chori Chori — Bhangra
  7. Bubamara — Romani — by Fanfare Ciocărlia
  8. Bla Bla Bla — Reggaeton / Cumbia
  9. La Peinada — Quebradita
  10. Caipirinha — Brazilian Dance / Bellydance
  11. Alegria Pa Zumbar — Samba
  12. Mueve la Booty — Merengue
  13. Toul Omry — Salsa / Bellydance
  14. La Noche — Flamenco / Merengue
  15. Vuelvo al sur — Cool-Down — Tango — by Gotan Project
Wednesday
  1. Anatomic — Warm-Up — by Afro Celt Sound System
  2. Chillin’ — Merengue
  3. Baila Pa Emociona — Calypso
  4. Caipirinha — Brazilian Dance / Bellydance
  5. Tunak Tunak Tun — Bhangra
  6. Bla Bla Bla — Reggaeton / Cumbia
  7. Dança Da Mãozinha — Axé
  8. El Baile del Gorila — Rumba Flamenca
  9. Toul Omry — Salsa / Bellydance
  10. La Batidora — Reggaeton
  11. Zorba — Sirtaki
  12. Zu Bailaito — Quebradita
  13. Last Tango in Paris — Cool-Down — by Gotan Project

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Belly Dance Fitness

by Aerobics Oz Style

Just as in case of The Samba Reggae Workout, I ordered this DVD on the strength of the Amazon reviews. This time, however, it was rather a miss. I did not learn that much new, apart from some useful moves during the cool-down (called here “warm-down”). There is about 55 minutes of workout (including warm-up and cool-down) and quite a lot of utterly disposable bonus features, like Behind the Scenes or Team Profiles (where one of the instructors is showing her kitchen and another is going through her collection of hip scarves). The music is really boring. And what is “Oz Style”? I think it means that all the demonstration takes place on the beach, somewhere in Australia I presume. I quite like that — you almost expect a great white shark or something among the bathers on the background — although the camerawork is not that great. Apparently, the cameraman is rather fond of Dutch angles, which, according to Wikipedia, are
often used to portray the psychological uneasiness or tension in the subject being filmed.
Not the best choice for a dance fitness or, for that matter, any instructional video (unless it is the one on Dutch angle techniques). As much as I enjoy looking at the girls with very little clothes on, it would be better if the camera stayed focused on the instructors. Also, as the DVD is aimed at the beginner, one would expect a bit more of basic movement breakdown.