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Anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t particularly care for the fanfare associated with famous or well known people. Sure, I’d love to meet and hang with some famous folks, but I’m not one to go around kissing ass or getting starstruck. That’s just not me, I think that we are all just people. Some are more well known and some have more money, but they are all just people. If a famous person wants to kick it with me, awesome. But I’m not gonna pay or chase for that. No way. (By the way, Ricardo did not charge anyone for pictures.)
In any case, if there was one Zumba famous person I wanted to take a class with, it’s always been Ricardo Marmitte. I’m a fan of a couple of them, but this guy is one who really stood out to me. I remember one my first thoughts when I saw him on a ZIN volume, “This dude can move! Maybe there’s hope for me!”
His energy on the stage, the vibe I saw, it caught my interest. So I started to look up more videos from him online and I became more familiar with him. I saw he was on Facebook, but I never bothered sending a friend request because I figure he’s got so many fan boys and fan girls, why would he add someone he doesn’t know? But I have followed his work for a while and I am a fan. He is the direct inspiration or choreographer of at least 5 of my songs.
In any case, that’s a brief introduction to my relationship with Marmitte. So when Deekee told me that he was coming to NYC, I shared out the news as per his request at the specified time. As soon as Evelyn got the tickets, I got one for me and my wife.
Now to be honest, as the day got closer, I was considering not going. Throughout my years teaching Zumba, I have avoided these big events, primarily because I don’t care for the lines and crowds and stuff. I’m not one to get up early, camp out and stand around for anything or anyone. There are so few people I’d do that for, and most of y’all are not one of them. LOL. This particular event was in Brooklyn which was another reason I wanted to bow out. Finally, I’ve been smashing my ankles and they’ve both been killing me lately. Just another excuse to skip out.
Thing is, I couldn’t sell my tickets, and I wasn’t about to burn $80 and not show up. No way no how. So when the day came, I put on compression tights, ankle support, calf support, and I also taped up one of my ankles. The one that hurt most. In hindsight, I should have taped them both up because the other started hurting during the two hour class.
So at the end of the day, we ended up going to the masterclass. I’ll tell you what though, am I ever glad that we did. This was one of, if not the most fun Zumba class I’ve ever taken. Ricardo is not only a phenomenal Zumba instructor, but also a great entertainer. He manages to teach a high level class, involve the participants and keep you having a blast the whole time without destroying his own body in the process. I was studying him as I took the class. I also observed his playlist style and everything else. This guy is phenomenal and I enjoyed his class a lot.
During the class, there were other instructors who led some songs, I believe that they were all exclusively Team In2it members, but I’m not entirely sure. Most of them did a great job and brought great energy to the event. Deekee for one was going hard the whole time. I could tell he was anxious and had a lot of pressure on his shoulders coordinating the event. I think he did a great job assisting Ricardo with stage dancers, organizing and so on. You did good Deekee, you did good.
At least one instructor seemed to struggle a bit with remembering their choreography. I tried to be supportive by following and keeping up as best I could despite the confusion, but as I looked around the crowd and saw the looks on some of those faces, I thought to myself that this was not the day to practice or learn a new choreo.
In an event like this where there are 250+ people, you gotta have your shit locked down air tight. I told my wife, “this instructor is either really, really nervous or they are new to this!” Aside from that one song and one minor sound hiccup later, everything went through without a hitch. Even when the sound acted up though, Ricardo played it off real smooth and kept things going as if nothing was happening. Those are the markers of a true professional in this game!
All of us who are instructors know that sometimes electronics act up, shit happens. We also know that we all mess up our choreo at times, it happens. But you gotta find your way back and play it off smoothly. You can get away with it with some choreo, but if we know that particular choreo, and we did know this one, then you gotta be on point. If you mess it up, we’ll know.
Yes, I know its really hard and it’s a lot of pressure, that’s why I tried really hard to keep it going for that instructor. I didn’t want them to get discouraged or terribly embarrassed. But hey, I’m one man in a large room where everyone is seeing the same thing. There’s nothing I can do about that. Anyway, I’m sure that whatever needed to be learned was learned and next time they will come back stronger! It’s happened to all of us, you got this!
As a matter of fact, it just happened to me at a party in pink master class. I was too hype and a bit nervous at the new faces that I messed up in the first 20 seconds or so. I stopped, I walked over to the music, started it over, and told them that we were going to try this again. Everyone laughed and we carried on perfectly. Its all in how you handle it as well. Remember, most of them are also instructors and most of them have messed up too. Just find your way back and it’s all good in the hood!
At one point, Deekee told me to go up on stage with Ricardo. I said “Nah man, I don’t want to go up there.” He looked at me and said, “You are an instructor! Go!” Anyway, I agreed and went up. I felt so uncomfortable because I had no idea what I was doing and only seeing this choreo for the first time. In addition to that, I was working around my ankle injuries which really slow me down. This was quite challenging for me because Ricardo was moving fast. Also, I had Tacia next to me. For those who don’t know, Tacia was one of my early Zumba coaches and she’s fucking amazing. That just made me even more nervous!
After a few moments of unsuccessfully trying to mimic and keep up with Ricardo and the ladies on stage I realized something. “Angel, you are you, stop trying to do what they are doing and do it with your own flair and style.” Once I came to that realization, everything was fine. I felt more comfortable and my movements were flowing much better. Once I realized that, then being on stage with Ricardo was no longer stressful, it became fun. The lesson? Just be you, even when around masters of the craft, be yourself.
I can understand why that instructor was botching the choreo, nerves can definitely get the best of us at times. As I mentioned previously, it’s happened to me many times before. When that happens, depending on how deep into the song we are, I’ll start over cause I need to set the right tone. I’ll joke about how badly I was messing up and that we are going to fix it. A lot of the times, my front row divas will correct me and keep it going! We’ll all laugh and push on! Sometimes the class energy is off and I’ll also start a song over until they give me what I want! I hold them to a high standard too! LOL. In any case, I can imagine that doing songs while Ricardo is watching can be nerve wrecking.
Anyway, like I said, this event was great. I did see some people who I try to avoid because they tried to cause me trouble in the past. Fake friends who try to hurt you. But the place was so big that even though you are in the same room, you don’t have to cross paths with or engage with them at all. After this event, I’ll definitely attend more Zumba events. This was a lot of fun. However, I will continue to be selective as to who I go and dance with. Especially at $40 a head. LOL.
If you ever get a chance to attend a masterclass with Ricardo, I’d encourage you to go for it, the dude is awesome. Thanks Deekee and the Zumba Gang (LOL) Team In2it for arranging and coordinating this, I’m sure it was a lot of work. You guys did a great job!
At the end of the event Ricardo said several things that resonated with me, things that make me like and respect the man even more!
First he said that we should always stay humble. The minute you get to big for your britches or you think you are better than others, they will hate you. Second, he said that he was in a bit slump and we helped him out of it. He said that its been a while since he felt this energy during a masterclass and that we gave him life. I’m glad to hear that, take that life, energy and motivation from where ever you can get it and run with it!
To his first point, we all struggle with ego and pride in this world. Humility is not always easy, especially in a world that is always kicking you in the throat. There is always someone trying to get over on you, and this naturally makes us defensive. However, we should always try and remain humble, or life will humble us.
To the point of being kicked in the throat, we all have our ups and downs, but great energies and vibes can help you find your way back.
Thanks for a great master class Ricardo Marmitte. Thanks Evelyn for pushing me to come out despite hating very long train rides. And thanks Deekee Gaerlan for getting me on stage despite my initial refusal. Finally, thanks Nickster and Daniel for the ride back to Queens at the end of the day. This was a great event.