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KIRSTENRPH's Photo KIRSTENRPH Posts: 1,542
4/13/12 12:23 P

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I agree with everything posted so far!
There's nothing that will prepare yuo for teaching more than PRACTICE, PRACTICE,PRACTICE!!!
You really must know your routines inside and out before you get up in front of others. There's a big difference between "knowing" your routines at home in your living room and KNOWING them when you're up front and all eyes are on you!! Not to make you nervous or anything--I just want you to know how it felt for ME! I'm naturally a little nervous when in front of others, so when I lead my first Zumba classes, I sometimes "blanked out" and forgot the steps--except for the ones I did so often that my body just started moving of its own accord when the music started! LOL! That's now my standard for how prepared I am to lead a song in my classes--does my body do it even if my mind isn't fully engaged?
Now, if you're comfortable with being up front, leading others, able to "wing it" or improvise--then disregard my advice!! Some people can actually carry it off. But, the majority of us can't, especially when we are just beginning.
As mentioned below, there are MANY ways to "practice" and prepare, besides actually dancing with your DVD. As everyone has said, LISTEN to your music!! And let me add--don't just listen aimlessly (as I often do)--but visualize the steps for each part of the song. Some people find jotting a few choreo notes to be helpful. I actually used a "cheat sheet" with choreo notes when I did my first few classes! Nobody seemed to mind, since they knew i was a beginner (and so were they).
Investing in an inexpensive DVD player might be a good idea if you don't always have access to your laptop. I often watch the choreo DVDs while getting ready in the morning, cooking dinner, etc. Even when I don't do the moves, I learn which moves go with each part of the song.
Finally, you should practice the moves over and over until your muscle memory takes hold. You can do this in the shower (carefully!!), in your car (upper body moves--at stoplights!!), do a few steps while getting dressed, while waiting for water to boil, etc! You can find little bits of time throughout your day.
I also recommend doing your whole class in front of a few friends or family to get the feel of leading others, and get their feedback. What would make it easier to follow? which moves worked and which didn't, etc.

Good luck!! You will do fine if you put in the effort! emoticon



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4/13/12 12:11 P

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I agree, sometimes it's hard for me to physically practice but I do a lot of mental practice. Once I know the routine well in my head then I'll practice it a few times before I actually add it to my playlist. I just don't have time to physically practice the routine so mentally learning the choreo works great for me. In addition, when I get my DVD or a youtube routine that I absolutely love, I video record it with my IPOD and I have it with me all the time. I'll watch it during lunch or on my way home from work (bus ride). It's a great way of utilizing my time. If you have an IPOD touch (4generation), this may work for you too. I actually learned about this from another instructor I met at a Jam Session and it was the best thing ever.

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KZD2008 Posts: 232
4/11/12 10:42 A

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I agree we have to make the time. If you have a laptop throw your DVD in there and put on a pair of headphones do you can watch, listen and mentally choreograph the songs. I always do more mental practice than physical because I am trying to be good to my body too. If you don't have a laptop you could always buy a small portable DVD player.
Good luck to you! And yes, do join us in the instructor group.

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4/11/12 8:34 A

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Peggi has it right - you are going to have to make the time to practice. I understand being busy - I work 40 hr/week day job and currently teach 8 classes a week - so learning new choreo is always hard. Getting ready to teach requires a lot of work - its not going to happen instantly.

I agree with her recommendations - listening to the music in the car, finding the songs that "speak" to you - those are usually going to be the easiest ones to learn. Once you find your songs, you'll need to take the time to learn the choreo. I try to learn one song at a time - it makes it less overwhelming. When you can dance the song on auto-pilot is when you know you're ready to roll it out to a class.

And she is correct - we are licensed, not certified. A certification requires a test at the end to prove your skills. Zumba provides licenses as there are no "final exams" to pass to become an instructor. Also - there's a Zumba Instructors SparkTeam - come join us over there and we'll be there to support you

If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask - but for now, just try to make some time to get your songs going

~~~~~NCSF and ACT Certified Personal Trainer~~~~~
-Certified Fitness Nutritionist & Licensed Zumba & Zumbatomic Instructor!!-

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YARDWALKER's Photo YARDWALKER SparkPoints: (66,213)
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4/11/12 4:36 A

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It takes time and practice. You are going to just have to make time, chances are like with any exercise you won't find it. You have to make it. Listen to the music always, in the car, while cleaning house, etc. But you have to learn the moves. Plus, we are not certified, we are licensed.

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AMOLINARI's Photo AMOLINARI Posts: 456
4/11/12 1:14 A

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I became certified a little over a month ago and haven't really had the time to watch my choreography DVDs. it's frustrating, but I don't live alone and don't always have access to the TV/DVD player. I'm also working 12 hours a day.
any advice/ideas on how to learn the dances?? I would really like to start teaching within the next month or so.

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