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.

8 comments:

Alice said...

I don t think that zumba will last, anyway. I know a lot of people who got really sick of it after only a couple of months.

Daniela said...

I can definitely see how it's easy to get bored of it after a while - that's the nature of the class, it's repetitive. That's the benefit of an actual dance class - you can constantly be working on new routines, new moves, etc. You'll never get bored! (at least I won't, anyway!)

Bellydance said...

I agree that belly dancing is a form of exercise that is so much fun! On the other hand, when you spend an hour belly dancing you will burn about 300 calories.

Anonymous said...

I've learned most Latin dances growing up with my family and friends. They are not professional by any means but they were authentic dancers. Zumba presents a highly diluted form of these dances in a repetitive annoying fashion that is simply not worthy of their names. The music, which is often in it's original form, is also often dubbed with some background annoying sounds, which is so annoying.

I am personally not against the Zumba movement because people should be allowed to dance/exercise however they want, but I wish people would stop confusing this with real dance.

I've even seen some flamenco pseudo moves, which are just impossible to fit into the Zumba structure because flamenco in all it's virtues is the opposite of Zumba. And thank god for that!

Anonymous said...

zumba is AWFUL. I cannot stand how badly it has affected my hip hop classes because people don't want to think (their words) or because they think they can dance but cannot even pick up an 8 count. I can't wait for zumba to disappear like jazzercise did.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree, I've been belly dancing for years, I've also studied ballet, Jazz, Flamenco, Salsa and Bachata at actual dance schools, and I also go to the gym for working out, I tried Zumba and I didn't liked it and I even felt offended as how some instructors and their zumba "students" actually believe themselves "DANCERS". I'm not against Zumba as an exercise but It bothers me that those who practice it think they are dancers for taking a 40 min class a few times a week where they don't actually learn to Dance, Dancing takes discipline, technique and very HARD WORK. I wish people would learn the difference.

Regina Go said...

THANK YOU! I LOVE THIS POST!

Regina Go said...

THANK YOU!!! I LOVE THIS POST! ZUMBA IS NOT A DANCE!!!