Friday, 26 July 2013

You gotta move

A year ago, more or less, I wrote:

With or without Zumba, I’m here to stay.
Well I stayed one more year with Zumba, didn’t I. And in a week’s time, I’m going. How’s that? You Gotta Move.

So... No regrets. It was a great experience. Thank you all who came to my classes. But for now, the shop is closed. I am looking forward to the new adventure.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The show must go on

My, the new Zumba website is a mess.

I told them I quit. They know that too. Yet my official profile still lists my classes as if nothing happened. I know, I should have removed them myself last week, but I forgot. Let’s do it now.

I’m logging in. That’s what I see:

Dear Instructor,

We are sorry that you have decided to cancel your membership and we miss you! We would love for you to come back as we have added new features and benefits. Remember, you have 1 year from your date of cancellation to rejoin ZIN™. To avoid losing your Zumba license when you Training expires, be sure to re-join.

To re-join ZIN™, just click on the link below.

No, I really just came here to remove my classes.

What? It doesn’t look like I have the ability to do it. Let’s check what My Announcements say.

MY ANNOUNCEMENTS

We have good news!

As you know, your license to teach has now expired.

So what is the good news?

You can reinstate your license by taking another Basic 1 Instructor Training course, or simply by re-joining ZIN. You are now within your grace period to re-join ZIN and avoid starting over the complete Zumba instructor process.

To re-join ZIN using a credit/debit card just Click Here.

If you do not have a credit/debit card, please contact us and we will be glad to help you.

OK, that was not helpful.

Writing a letter to Support. Whoever created that interface, should be banned from web design forever.

Hello,

Last month, I cancelled my ZIN membership. Therefore, starting July 1st, I do not expect any classes to be listed on my profile. I do not want people to get misleading information. However, when I go to my website, I still can see the classes listed. When I log in to my Zumba account, I seem not to be able to edit the "classes" section any longer, so there is no way for me to remove them from the web. How can I do that?

Best regards,

Kirill

This morning, I got the response. I keep the spelling intact.

Dear Kirill,

Thank you for contacting Zumba Fitness. We are sorry that you left our ZIN family.

We are happy to assist you. Unfortunately you neither us cannot make changes to your website from our systems ones you cancel your ZIN membership. Please have in mind, that your name does not appear anymore under "Find an instructor", so it will be more difficult for people to enter your website. We apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing.

If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

Yes I have one more question. Have you heard of search engines?

Anyway, it seems that the only way to correct it is to re-join ZIN, which I have no intention to do yet.

On my good days, I tend to think that humankind is not intrinsically evil. Just dumb.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

ZIN 45th and the last

In case you forgot how Beto and Gina look like (a helpful hint: you saw them last time), they are back. And what they do is not getting any better. You can imagine how glad I am that this is the last ZIN volume I’ve suffered.

The audio track (I refuse to call it music) is awful. The choreo is... matching. With the singular exception of Violint, which at least is funny at times. As for Beto: it must be not that comfortable to dance with a hoody around his waist. Even if it were, it does not look nice.

ZIN 45 Song List

  1. DJ Dale Play — Electro-Latin — by Mara
  2. Violint — Oriental-Latin Fusion ◊
  3. Tu Sabes que te Amo — Salsaton * ☙
  4. Bailando por Ahí — Merengue Electrónico * ☙
  5. La Escalera — Electrolatin — by Natalia Betancurt feat. Estefano ☙
  6. Tacatá — Electrodance * ☙
  7. I Came Here to Party — Dance ◊
  8. Bom Bom Bom — Brazilian Funk ◊
  9. Marioneta — Cumbia ◊
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals
☙ Spicy Lyrics

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

You will be missed

Dear friends,

Today I did something that I was thinking of doing (but kept postponing) for the last six months. I cancelled my ZIN membership.

The new Zumba website is not the easiest one to navigate. But this is how it’s done:

  1. Log in with your instructor Username and Password at zumba.com.
  2. Click on the “My ZIN Account” link of your ZIN Menu.
  3. Select “To cancel your account, click here” link, located in the Payment Information section of the My Account Summary page.
It is rather straightforward. There are four steps to complete. During each of them, there is a possibility to cancel the whole process. Obviously, ZIN does not want to part with me (or, rather, my money).
YOU WILL BE MISSED

Dear Kirill,

We are very sorry to hear that you no longer wish to be a part of ZIN. Because it is our mission to make ZIN Members successful, we would like to share some suggestions before you make your final decision.

It seems like we never have enough time to get everything done. You are not alone. But consider the fact that teaching helps you commit to a workout routine that benefits you and those around you! Even one weekly class is a perfect way to leave the stress behind.

And by taking advantage of the multiple income-generating opportunities, you can increase your profit. You can do this by re-selling Zumbawear® purchased at a discount rate, or by joining the Zumbawear® Wholesale Program for an even larger profit margin.

Well the last passage contains something that I actively dislike in Zumba, so it was unlikely to stop me. “Even larger profit margin”? You got to be joking.

Interestingly, they ask you to choose one (and only one) reason for leaving and at least two things that I find useful about ZIN membership (apart from the music and choreo). Fair enough. It’s important to be more positive than negative. Anyway, I already forgot what were those two things I ticked.

My license is valid till the end of the month. After that, don’t even ask me about Zumba classes.

By cancelling your membership, you forfeit the rights granted under the ZIN Membership and License Agreement. Your classes will no longer be posted on zumba.com. You must immediately cease use of the Zumba trademarks, copyrights, logos and other Zumba marketing materials. You may not post promotional Zumba videos online, make commercial use of Zumba Fitness’ original music, or maintain a domain name containing the word Zumba.
As I mentioned before, Zumba Fitness did not invent the word “zumba”. Therefore, their claims on domain names containing this word are groundless. Not that I am going to use their trademarks etc. But I plan to keep this blog where it is. Just as a memento.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

MegaMixed bag

OK I have to admit it: MegaMix 35 is not all bad. Reggae-merengue Estoy Enamorao by Colombian Grupo BIP could have been perfect if not for annoying voice distortion. But... Zumbified 99 Luftballons? Seriously?

The best track is Banjaara from the 2012 Bollywood blockbuster Ek Tha Tiger.

MegaMix 35 Song List

  1. Estoy Enamorao — Merengue — by Bip
  2. Mambo Lives — Mambo *
  3. No te Veo (Remix) — Reggaeton * ☙
  4. Tu no te Sabe Mover — Dembow — by Eduar2 El Romologo ☙
  5. 99 Luftballons — New Wave *
  6. Como Le Gusta a tu Cuerpo — Vallenato *
  7. Me, Myself, and Music — Club / Dance — by Dahrio Wonder
  8. Banjaara — Hindi Pop — by Sukhwinder Singh
  9. Si tú Quieres — Techno Merengue — by Fortuna & Fuego
  10. Promise — Bachata *
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals
☙ Spicy Lyrics

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Vamo a baila... pero no este

After the brilliant ZIN 43, this one is a let-down. Watching Beto (in pyjamas) and Gina (in some sort of Elastigirl outfit) live in Dublin, I feel nothing but respect... for Tanya. A true artist knows when to stop.

The music, apart from El Gato Boogaloo by Sonora Carruseles and Llora Llora which is a cover of Oscar D’León’s Llorarás, is forgettable. Both live and one-on-one versions of In the Summertime are actually rather funny, in a Muppet Show-ey way. It’s Oh So Quiet is embarrassingly bad. And I am still not sure that three different instructors for one-on-one is such a good idea.

ZIN 44 Song List

  1. Meto Mano — Merengue — by Amarfis ☙
  2. El Gato Boogaloo — Salsa — by Sonora Carruseles
  3. Love Shack — Pop Rock *
  4. Vamo a Baila — Calypso / Soca ◊
  5. Gimme Five — Batucada / Bachata ◊
  6. Llora Llora — Salsaton *
  7. In the Summertime — Dancehall *
  8. Ritmo Chido y Sabroso — Quebradita / Rock & Roll ◊
  9. It’s Oh So Quiet — Jazz
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals
☙ Spicy Lyrics

Monday, 1 April 2013

¡Adiós, Posterous!

As I said before, Posterous is closing down end of this month. So this is probably my last post there.

But it’s not the end of the blog — not yet, at least. The new address is

zumbafuerteventura.blogspot.com

(are you surprised?) and you’ll find all the old and, hopefully, some new posts there.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

MegaMix 34

ZIN MegaMix 34 is full of covers, none of which is better (or significantly worse) than a corresponding original. Among them, ¿Por qué les Mientes? by Tito “El Bambino” El Patrón, Mambo Yo Yo by Ricardo Lemvo and Ain’t Nobody by Hawk Wolinski — or, rather, a cover of Alex Wilson’s salsa version of Ain’t Nobody. The warm-up (?) track The Reckoning, featuring the keyboard sounds last popular in the 1980s, is far too long (by Zumba standards) and repetitive (even by Zumba standards). If you want to incorporate some Latin electronica in your Zumba routine, you’d better check the quality stuff from Novalima or Bajofondo. I am not a big fan of reggaeton, but Rykitona by K.L.C. Clave Cubana is good.

MegaMix 34 Song List

  1. The Reckoning — Electronic / Dance — by Salda
  2. Yo No Soy un Monstruo — Merengue Electrónico * ☙
  3. Ain’t Nobody — Salsa *
  4. Siguelo — Reggaeton Pop * ☙
  5. Fiesta en América — Latin Pop *
  6. ¿Por qué les Mientes? — Cumbia *
  7. Rykitona — Reggaeton — by K.L.C. Clave Cubana ☙
  8. Mambo Yo Yo — Mambo *
  9. Eto eh pa Tuguere — Merengue * ☙
  10. Baracundera — Brazilian Ragga / Cooldown ◊
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals
☙ Spicy Lyrics

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The secret of Zumba

First published 16 March 2013 @ sólo algunas palabras

There is no doubt that Zumba Fitness owes its success in significant part to its name. The story goes that the company’s co-founders Alberto “Beto” Perez, Alberto Aghion and Alberto Perlman, aka “three Albertos”, were deliberately trying to find a name which rhymes with “rumba”:

Their first stumbling block came when they went to trademark Rumbacize, a play off Jazzercise and rumba, which means to party in Spanish. They discovered Rumbacize had been covertly registered by the owner of a fitness club where Perez taught classes. So the three Albertos went to a Houston’s restaurant in North Miami Beach and brainstormed.
“Bumba. Cumba. We said everything trying to find something that rhymed with Rumba,” Perlman recalled. “Wumba. That sounded like something for pregnancy.”
They were getting nervous. Nothing sounded right.
“Then we got to Zumba,” Perlman said. “That’s it. We were excited.”
A nice story, that. They had to go all way down the alphabet until the last letter did the trick. The Zumba Fitness’ Trademark Usage Guide goes as far as to claim that
THE WORD ZUMBA® DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING
The word ZUMBA® was coined by our company, and is an arbitrary or fanciful word we selected as the original brand name that identifies Zumba Fitness’ dance fitness programs and related products.
But did three Albertos really coin a new word? Of course not. They should have been well aware that there is a word zumba in Spanish. As a noun, it means “teasing”, “bashing”, or “beating”; zumba is also a form of the verb zumbar “to buzz”, “to hit”, “to tease”, “to nick”, or, surprise surprise, “to have sex”. Curiously enough, Zumba Fitness LLC urges us to never use the word “Zumba” as a noun or verb, only as an adjective. This is an absurd demand as it goes contrary to the already established usage. (“Are you going to Zumba?”, “Let’s Zumba” etc.)

But why is “Zumba” such a good name? I think the secret is that (a) it is short and (b) it is easy to pronounce. In particular, the sounds in “Zumba” are organised this way:

⊏⊔⊓⊏⊔

(where ⊏ stands for a consonant, ⊔ a vowel, and ⊓ a nasal consonant). This pattern pervades the names of music and/or dance styles such as banda, bomba, changa, conga, cumbia, danza, ganga, funky, landó, limbo, lundu, mambo, mento, punta, punto, rumba, samba, semba, songo, tambu, tango, timba, tumba and zamba, to name a few. So it is exotic and in the same time vaguely familiar. It has a jaunty feel about it. It sounds like a name of a cute animated creature: Bambi, Dumbo, Simba, Pingu, Rango...

It is more important to be easily pronounceable than exotic. There is no need to travel far: we are literally surrounded by ⊏⊔⊓⊏⊔ words and names. Many languages, including English, favour them. There’s bound to be a neighbour called Cindy, Sandy, Mandy, Randy, Wendy or Monty. They eat candy or drink shandy. They talk about weather: it’s windy today, it will be rainy tomorrow. We like these words so much that we join them together in reduplications: hanky-panky, mingle-mangle, mumbo-jumbo, namby-pamby. It does not mean that if we like the name we have to like what the name stands for. (We may love pandas but hate mambas.) The reverse, however, is not true: the good cannot be given repelling name. (Even if Willy Wonka and his Oompa-Loompas annoy us, there is no way we’ll fall in love with Vermicious Knids.) “Fancy going to Zumba tonight?” You can’t say “no” to that. Wanna try Bokwa? Not so sure. What about Piloxing? Definitely not, it’s a horrible word.

A handy property of a good name is its ability to form nicely sounding compounds and portmanteaux. I would argue that the conditions (a) and (b) are necessary although not sufficient. It comes as no surprise that ⊏⊔⊓⊏⊔ words are good at that. Examples include Mamborama (“mambo” + “panorama”), Sambadrome (“samba” + “-drome”), Tanghetto (“tango” + “ghetto”), Biodanza (this one is kinda obvious)... Here Zumba is doing well too: Zumbatomic, Aqua Zumba, Zumbathon, even Zumba Green (a colour which I call “toxic yellow”). Now imagine what would happen if they still were called Rumbacize.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Posterous is closing down

Oh dear. I’ve always had bad feelings about that takeover by Twitter. And look what was published on Posterous blog on 15 February 2013:

Posterous will turn off on April 30

Posterous launched in 2008. Our mission was to make it easier to share photos and connect with your social networks. Since joining Twitter almost one year ago, we’ve been able to continue that journey, building features to help you discover and share what’s happening in the world – on an even larger scale.

On April 30th, we will turn off posterous.com and our mobile apps in order to focus 100% of our efforts on Twitter. This means that as of April 30, Posterous Spaces will no longer be available either to view or to edit.

Right now and over the next couple months until April 30th, you can download all of your Posterous Spaces including your photos, videos, and documents.

So that’s what I am doing. Watch this space, I’ll post the new blog location soon.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

I’ll say it anyway

It’s been a while since I enjoyed Zumba’s audiovisual offerings that much. The live-in-Prague class with Donna Giffen and Walter Diaz is good! Their dancing styles are very different and, as with other ZIN double acts, the synchronisation at times is far from perfect. But, for the most part, their choreo is a pleasure to watch. And it is funny (not just fun blast sizzlin’ insert your favourite Zumba cliché here). And where their routines get too complicated or, on the contrary, too repetitive, there Maria Browning picks it up in one-on-one class.

The music... is not bad either. Except for Zumba Loco, but one could guess that much from the title. (Why did they use it as a soundtrack for ZIN 43 Sneak Peek, is anyone’s guess.) I don’t really like synthpop but I have to applaud the Zumba’s take on A-ha’s hit Take on Me — brassy chorus replacing the annoying synth riff of the original, and especially the accelerating samba coda. A thumb or two up.

Song List

  1. Tu Boca — Merengue ◊
  2. Salsa Choke — Salsa ◊
  3. Shant — Bhangra ◊
  4. Arremangala Arrempujala — Punta * ☙
  5. Take on Me — Batucada / Samba *
  6. Quemando Bota — Banda Tribal ◊
  7. Zumba Loco — Hip-Hop / Dance ◊
  8. Mueve la Pompa — Electro Soca *
  9. Llamado de Emergencia — Reggaeton *
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals
☙ Spicy Lyrics

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

ZIN 42 and MegaMix 33

In the latest ZIN Newsletter (naturally, not available to general public), it is said that Beto cites ZIN 42 as his favorite ZIN Volume. Really? I can’t believe he meant it. What is there to listen to? Del Puente Pa’ alla is good (even though I still prefer the Grupo Niche version), but the rest? Rumba en Moscú? Sexy and I Know It? Yuck, yuck, yuck three times.

The live class was filmed at the 2012 Zumba Instructor Convention. That could explain... no, it can’t explain anything.

The camerawork is worse than usual, which is already bad enough. There is supposedly stellar (by Zumba standards) crew dancing around Beto but some of them keep disappearing from the frame. I spied one half of ZumbaTwinz and some other people that looked familiar. I liked what the girl with crimson-red hair (sorry don’t know her name) did on Inténtalo. Also, there were some funny steps in the aforementioned Del Puente Pa’ alla, I have to try those. The rest is disposale. And where on earth did Beto find those pants? I couldn’t find the official ZIN 42 sneak peek to illustrate this, maybe they were too embarrassed to release it.

By comparison, MegaMix 33 sounds like a good compilation. My favourite tracks are Medellín Feria de Flores and a cover of Huey Dunbar’s bachata Yo si me Enamoré.

ZIN 42 Song List

  1. Pa’ que lo Bailen Bien — Cumbiaton ◊
  2. Del Puente Pa’ alla — Salsa *
  3. Rumba en Moscú — Russian Folk ◊
  4. Inténtalo (Me Prende) — Tribal * ☙
  5. Fiesta Buena — Latin Hip-Hop / Dance — by DJ Mam’s teat. Soldat Jahman & Luis Guisao
  6. Corazoncito Bonito — Bachata / Merengue ◊
  7. Move Ya Body — Hip-Hop * ☙
  8. Give It Up — Champeta / Soca ◊
  9. Sexy and I Know It — Electro House * ☙

MegaMix 33 Song List

  1. La Maldad — Merengue * ☙
  2. Medellín Feria de Flores — Salsa *
  3. Ella Anda Sola — Reggaeton * ☙
  4. Segura Na Cintura — Axé ◊
  5. Show You How To Love — Dance (a cappella) — by Pentatonix
  6. Dame la Ola — Reggaeton Electrónico * ☙
  7. Yo si me Enamoré — Bachata *
  8. La Morena — Kuduro — by Vic J feat. Montano
  9. Me Enteré — Reggaeton Pop *
  10. Dekole — Caribbean Soca Beat — by J Perry (feat. Shabba & Izolan)
* Covers
◊ Zumba Fitness originals
☙ Spicy Lyrics