What I’ve learned about Zumba choreo design

What the hell does Angel, a one year Zumba instructor know about the key to great Zumba choreo design? Well, my philosophy when it comes to creating, choosing, or modifying existing Zumba choreography is that anyone who takes your class, whether they are a first timer, regular, or advanced should be able to follow along. So long as they have some basic coordination, (some people don’t and that’s okay we love you too) they should be able to follow your routine through cues and direction.

One of the older ladies in a class that I was covering came up to me and asked my name. I told her my name is Angel, and she then said, “Angel, that thing you do with your fingers, and the pointing, I love that! It is so helpful for me to follow along with you! Thank you.” I gave her a sweaty hug and told her that this is called a “cue” and that I pride myself on providing excellent cues to participants.

I’ve spoken many times about how I feel about Zumba “performers and dancers” who belong in a theater as opposed to a class environment. Basically, they are nice to look at, but they make terrible instructors. In some cases, you find someone that is a great dancer, but also a great instructor, that’s Zumba royalty right there!

In any case, when I teach, I feed off of the energy of my class. Currently, I have two songs that for the most part they enjoy and follow along. However, there are two parts in the songs where I seem to lose every class. It has happened at every gym I teach, and that disrupts the whole flow and momentum of my class.

When something like that happens, at different places, with different groups, the choreo needs to be reexamined. From my vantage point, the sequence is one of the simplest, if not the simplest I’ve ever created. They catch way more difficult sequences, but seem to struggle with these. But like I said, it’s not just in one location, so it’s worth looking at.

I determined that despite how simple the choreo is, it just doesn’t flow for them, and I have made some adjustments. I’ll be testing them out this week in my classes. This isn’t the first time I’ve changed choreo on the fly or later on. Whenever something doesn’t seem to work for the class, I switch it up.

I don’t want you to learn my choreo over repetition, I want anyone to be able to follow, and if the only way you can do my choreo is by memorizing the sequence over time, then this is not good for the new people who show up. I don’t want only my regulars to participate, I want everyone to get it. So I tweak them as necessary.

There will always be someone who can’t follow along, but if most of them get lost, and the vibe is disrupted, you might want to reexamine what you as the instructor are doing.

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