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

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
     Workout 11:08:23
     Workout 21:16:42
     Workout 31:20:26
     Workout 41:24:19
     Full workout fast1:28:46

Total time


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