Ten tips for when you don’t get the steps


I frequently tell my newer students to try not to get overwhelmed by unfamiliar moves they encounter in Zumba class.  I know well the unpleasant frustration of not being able to do or understand something (see pic).  When you hit that point, it’s decision time: do you shut down or push through?

Unlike matrix mathematics or financial planning (only speaking for myself here), Zumba is meant to be fun! I certainly hope if you are faced with confusing steps that you don’t get right away, you push through.  I try to balance the easy-to-learn basics of Zumba with more varied combinations. I think this keeps class interesting, and I also think it’s good for our brains and confidence when we bump up against a little challenge and master it.  Here are some tips to help keep frustration levels down.  Email me if you have more!

  1. Skip the arms.  Focus first on getting your feet to more or less the right place.  Then figure out how your body weight should be shifted. The arms can come later.  Much later.
  2. Forget Right and Left. Think more in terms of sides of the room. Windows or wall? (psst, if you’d actually like an extra challenge, switch sides in the room some weeks. Wheee!)
  3. Skip the turns. Just keep doing the step we were doing before. The timing should work out that you’ll end up back with the routine when the turn is over. However, don’t skip every single time. That may be selling yourself short. Turns are fun and I never throw in a triple spin or anything! Try it! You may like it. It gets easier with practice.
  4. Verbalize the step into a little chant. Kick-ball-change anyone? It works.
  5. Remember that you’re going to see it again. The moves are going to repeat later in the song.  The song is going to repeat in the weeks to come.  And the moves will show up again in other songs.  The first time you see it —  that’s the hardest it’s ever going to be.  It will only get easier.
  6. Watch someone in front of you.
  7. Don’t freeze up. Move something! Don’t shut down. Push through.  But if you truly give up on the step then……
  8. Get creative.  Do your own thang! Unlike freezing up, I absolutely love it when I see this! Are you moving? Then you are exercising. Are you moving to awesome Latin music? Then you are doing Zumba. Congrats and enjoy. Maybe I’ll steal your steps.
  9. After the song, ask someone nearby for tips and/or ask me after class.
  10. Smile, laugh. Savor the fun of moving your body and being around the wonderful people in class!  That’s what I do!