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Face the class!

Let’s try this again. It’s a topic that I’ve covered many times and some people just don’t seem to get it or understand. When you are teaching a Zumba fitness class, (we are not teaching dance, we are teaching group fitness) you should always face the class. It is understood that on occasion you will turn and face the mirror. However, the majority of your teaching should be spent facing the class.

At times I do face the mirror, but its only for a brief moment and simply to show off how amazing my transitional skills are. The majority of my class, and I’m talking about 95% of the time or more, I’m facing the class.

I just don’t understand how you can teach an entire class and have your back to the group. That is just so counterproductive to me. I feel like I’m ignoring them or not connected to them when I face away from them. I really don’t understand how some of you do it. I love to make eye contact with my people. I engage and connect with them throughout the whole class, and using the mirror makes that very difficult. I don’t know how or why some of you do this.

What can I do?

So let’s cover how you can start facing your class and making better connections. First and foremost, learn all of your choreography starting on the left foot. When you are facing your students, your left foot is their right foot. The same applies to hands and so on. It’s basically like staring into a mirror. You are the reflection they are following.

Look at this image below. This instructor doesn’t suck. She is facing the class and they are “mirroring” her movements. Her left arm is up, they match her, as if staring into a mirror and raise their right arm. That’s what mirroring is in a nutshell. You do the same thing when teaching zumba.

If you see this picture below, I was probably in the process of screaming or jumping around, but you’ll notice that I am facing the group and they are all in sync with me. My left foot is mirroring their right foot.

If you need to learn your choreo while facing the mirror, (I do) that’s fine as well, but learn it starting on the left foot. This is so that when you teach and you face your class (as you should be doing) then you will already be conditioned to start on your left which is their right foot. It’s about muscle memory when learning choreography, so if you memorize it starting on your right foot, then you will have difficulty transitioning to the left foot.

I have shared this valuable information with several of my friends who became fitness instructors. Yet, for some unknown reason these people insist on facing the mirror when they teach. They’ll say something like one of their favorite instructors faces the mirror and does well. Don’t get me wrong, some mirror facers are good instructors, but in my opinion they could be so much better if they faced the class. SMH!!!!

I always mirror the class. If I turn around and face the mirror, then I have to transition to the opposite foot because I’m now opposite to them. When I face them, I transition back to the other foot. This keeps them always in sync with me and starting on their right foot. We as instructors have to know to transition feet when we turn, you can’t stay on the same foot or they’ll be out of step. This concept of mirroring, I apply it everywhere. Even when I teach strength and kickboxing classes. I always mirror and so should you.

I think I’m going to make a video about this on youtube sometime soon. I’m trying to build my channel back up after deleting of my non-compliant videos. This idea isn’t covered on there so I think I’ll make one soon. What do you think about this topic? If you have any questions do reach out!

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