Thursday, June 23, 2011

Zumba class killed the bellydance star....

Well, not the bellydance star, but possibly the bellydance class....

As a bellydance instructor, I have felt the effects of this extremely popular exercise "fad," and I don't mean on my waistline. I mean in my classes. Ever since Zumba has become "the" thing to do, I've noticed that less and less students are showing an interest in, and signing up for, bellydance classes.

Here's are my thoughts on why this is happening.....

Lots of women come to bellydance with the goal of doing something fun while getting in some exercise as well. Most students do not start a bellydance class with the hopes of one day "going pro." They like the dance, it's fun, and it can help get them in shape. Additionally, most people these days are feeling a pinch in their wallets, and probably don't have the money to sign up for multiple recreational classes a week. As great as a bellydance class is, it is still a DANCE class. And if your goal is to get fit, a bellydance class alone is not going to help you. You need to take an EXERCISE class.

That's when Zumba might seem like the perfect answer - it's a great workout, but you also get to "dance," which appears to be the perfect compromise to the student who wants to take a dance class for fun, but also wants to get in shape.

I'll admit it, I like Zumba. I take Zumba classes frequently. But let's be clear about one thing - Zumba is not dance. More and more often, I have people who tell me they know how to "bellydance" and then when I ask who they take classes with, they tell me they do "bellydance" in their Zumba class. ::smacks forehead::

Zumba is a follow-the-bouncing-butt type of exercise class. It's not dance. It's fun for what it is, but please don't confuse it with learning any form of dance - be it Latin, belly, hip hop (and speaking of hip hop, according to a hip hop instructor I know, those classes are also being negatively affected by the Zumba craze as well). Take it for exercise, but if you want to actually LEARN to dance, take a dance class.

With the Zumba craze being as large as it is right now, it's hard to picture it ever waning. Will it eventually go the way of Jazzercise in the 80's, and Tae Bo in the 90's, and loose it's popularity? Maybe. If history is to tell us anything, then probably.  But one thing's for certain - bellydance is an art form that has been around longer than any exercise fad, and it isn't going anywhere.