Saturday, July 23, 2011

BORP (Adaptive) Zumba

For those unaware, I'm working with BORP to create a Zumba class that everybody, literally every body, can enjoy.  BORP is the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program, and they are one of the main programs within the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, CA.
BORP is the leading provider and promoter of accessible sports and recreation opportunities for children and adults with physical disabilities in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

The class vision: a person in a power wheelchair will be sweating along to the music while a 20-year-old Cal student is dancing behind them.  A mother of two dances beside them, while someone with leg braces is workin' it in the back.

I'm not a licensed Zumba Gold instructor yet (though I'm signing up for a class in September).  However, I don't really want the class to be called Zumba Gold.  I don't even want to label it "Adaptive Zumba" (so I haven't).  I don't want people to think that it's only for seniors or only for people with disabilities.  I want it to be a fully integrated community dance class.  I guarantee that you can still sweat if we sit down for a song or two.  We want you to feel free to do what you can, and to try something new.
This is not a picture of my class. This is how it feels, though!

The class mantra: you are a person first, and your disability should not define you, nor should it isolate you from the community.  You should be able to dance like everyone else.  If you are a marathon runner, a dancer, have a little problem moving around, are a senior, or if you are in a wheelchair, this class is meant to make you feel included and still get you a good workout.

I've heard from my dancers with disabilities that they've been told their whole life to "keep up" or that "instructors usually get nervous or anxious when I show up to their classes".  Well, I don't.  However, I also don't want you to think that I'm going to take it easy on you.  You're going to sweat.  You're going to dance.  And you're going to have fun!

Your first class at BORP is free, and you can find out how to register on the Zumba w/ ~RoB tab.

I'd love to get some more of the community into the studio to shake their booties with me.  Plus, you'll get to use the brand new facility that's adjacent to the Ashby Bart Station in Berkeley.

Come join us Thursday evenings at 6:15 pm, and please, please, please tell your friends!

Happy Dancing,

Monday, July 11, 2011

Truckee Independence Day Parade

For the 4th of July holiday weekend, my girlfriend and I headed up to her hometown on the north shore of Lake Tahoe in Northern California.  As it turns out, we are really good at finding barbecues.  It was at one of these bbqs that one of my girlfriend's closest childhood friends mentioned that she was going to be Zumba-ing in a parade on the 4th.  (This same friend was featured in my first official class.  Thanks for making the shirts!)

It sounded interesting, so I wanted some more details.  Her local, Tahoe City, Zumba instructor had teamed up with one in Truckee to include a bunch of Zumba dancers into the hometown parade.  There were 3 songs that were choreographed, and they had been posted online.  As she was telling me about it, she looked at me and exclaimed 'You should come do it, too!'  (Paraphrased... she may not have exclaimed it.)

My first thoughts were, 'Thanks, but I don't know the instructors, and I've never seen the choreography, and I would really feel like I was imposing.'  Skip ahead 18 hours or so, and I'm standing next to her in the parade lineup with my favorite Zumba outfit on ready to dance and sweat and cheer.

Why did I decide to do Zumba in the parade?  She fessed up to not really knowing the routines, and she waited until I was in a food coma to have my girlfriend coerce me to committing.  After all, I could look at the videos online, I was pretty confident in being able to pick up on dances quickly, and it made for a good story for you guys (my readers).  As it turns out, they were more than happy to have me.

A few minutes into the parade, I was called out by a radio station announcer.  "Hey, is that Richard Simmons?"  (I'll blog more about this often-made comparison later.)  I took the opportunity to shimmy and really show off, and the crowd ate it up.  I'm happy to take advantage of moments like that, and it was probably the best part of the parade for me.  Here are some photos that were snapped along the route:

I'm a little bit of a ham. I regularly ran out into the audience and got them to dance with me!

Shimmy-ing to 'Livin La Vida Loca' at the judges booth.
I've since added two of the parade songs to my list of go-to Zumba songs.  I also got to hand out some of my business cards to the lovely people that I danced with, in hopes they might be able to swing by one of my classes in the Bay Area if they are ever visiting.

The group that we were dancing with ended up winning for 'Best Commercial Float'.  Our superb dancing didn't go unnoticed!

So, morals of the story are: the Zumba community truly is inviting and gracious and fun, and you should take every opportunity to just go out and dance.  Oh, and Go America, too!!

Happy Dancing,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Financial Investment

10 days ago, or so, I had a momentous occasion.  For the first time ever, I was paid for teaching Zumba!  Technically, I haven't been paid yet, but I know it's coming, and how much it is, so I guess I'll count it.

This was the first time that I added a 'positive' value to my spreadsheets that thoroughly detail the total amount I've spent throughout this process.  I was asked by someone today (a gentleman!) about the process for becoming a Zumba Instructor.  (I'm sending him your way, Joy!)  The thing that I've left out of my story so far is the financial investment you have to make before you start earning any money back.

Everything costs money, and you need to be ready to front a lot of it until it starts coming the other way:
- Instructor Training (The largest and first-seen cost.)
- Monthly ZIN Membership (You should definitely do this.)
- Promotional Posters / Business Cards (You'll want something to get your name out.)
- Zumba Gear (Become the fitness instructor, don't expect words to work on their own!)
- Liability Insurance (Get it if necessary, and I had to.)
- Zumba Classes (You'll still want to keep going to Zumba classes to continue to network and learn.)
- Zumba Music (You want to personalize your music, so have a few unique songs to stand out.)
- Parking/Memberships/Bridge Tolls/ Etc. (All those little expenses that add up if you track them.)

In general, I'd say you should expect to invest about 2.5 times the price of the instructor training before you will see any money back.  Obviously, that number varies widely depending on how long you wait to start teaching, and how much you immerse yourself in gear and promotional items, but I think that is a fair number to plan for.

Money shouldn't discourage you, but you should be serious about the investment considering the economic times we're in.  Hope this helps those of you considering starting a Zumba journey of your own!!

Happy Dancing,