Keeping our mental and physical health in this difficult time has been, and it still is a difficult challenge for many of us, more than the virus itself that has rapidly spread across the globe. Many solutions have been sought for overcoming the stress of being confined to home. With the help of Zoom, some of the obstacles were removed, and people have been able to better cope with the situation. Well, one of the fitness programs that have managed to survive and somewhat flourish in spite of the COVID-19 crisis was Zumba®.
What exactly is Zumba®?
Zumba® is a fitness program created by Beto Perez, a Colombian dancer. Later, he joined forces with countrymen Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion, and together they built a successful brand. The program, which was a blast in America and Asia, has been taking Europe by storm for several years now. Now Zumba® has locations in over 150 countries spread across the world.
While usually, a regular gym has around 40 visitors at any time during a day, the measures imposed after the onset of the pandemic caused such establishments to close down, with the situation giving many headaches to both those who love sports and the ones who teach it. For coaches and instructors, this situation not only limited their usual daily physical activity but also affected their financial situation.
To support them, Zumba® has initiated a virtual classes program, which means that anyone can enter from anywhere in the world; the only condition is to have a device with internet access. You do not need special equipment, everyone is welcome, and there is no age limit (except for children, where there are special classes tailored for them).
In order to better understand what these changes mean, Ana Georgescu, Zumba® Education Specialist and International Fitness Presenter, has allowed us to catch a glimpse of her professional life during the pandemic.
How did the pandemic affect you, considering that you are used to traveling extensively due to your job?
This pandemic has changed my lifestyle entirely from being pretty much every week on a minimum of 3 different flights to being home for about six months with no human interaction while on lockdown was a drastic change for me. The last time I was in one country for so long was probably 12 years ago. But after about one week of full-on panic and stress, I knew that this is a new challenge that we are given, and we need to learn to adapt.
What do you miss the most?
Definitely the human interaction and the exhilaration around of a live crowd. The live music, the hugs of my friends from across the world.
I know you held some live classes. How did they go and what difficulties you had to overcome in order to make them happen?
Indeed a live class these days is still a bit different to what it used to be only 6 months ago. From teaching with a face mask on, always respecting the recommended 2 feet distance and having a very restricted number of participants in class but it feels like a blessing regardless of all of these changes. It’s such a stress reliever that we all need for sure.
What does it mean for someone accustomed to human contact to have to teach everything online?
I take it as a chance to learn new skills and to connect with the people who enjoy my Zumba classes in a different home. It is not the same experience but it can definitively be beautiful in it’s own way. Think about ancient theatre and cinema. It’s a necessary evolution that allows art to reach people in more than one way.
How did the students seem to adapt to the online classes?
I think it’s still a process. Some take longer than others but those who have given it a try were always happy they had the chance to move their bodies and had a moment for themselves.
What was the funniest event during virtual classes?
The funniest thing that happened to me was having a participant leave her microphone on and sing at the top of her lungs until I had to interrupt her recital so I can continue my class.
How do you know if a student can be a good instructor?
Good musicality, passion for dance and enthusiasm for working with people. If you got these you are made for being a Zumba® Instructor.
We all really miss interacting with other people, but hard times require hard measures. Working from the comfort of our homes has become the new norm in our daily routines. If you already work from home, why not train and keeping yourself fit?
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