New Students

New Students

First, a very big welcome! I love getting new students – it’s great to have you on board!

The following is ‘my take’ on Zumba!

1. Feeling good 

First point to make - ZUMBA is as much about feeling good mentally as physically - you can zone out for an hour, its meditation on legs, and it's just the best thing for making you happy! How can great music not have that effect?!

2. No co-ordination? It doesn't matter!

In the same spirit, it is not competitive. Nobody should EVER feel awkward at my classes. NOBODY ever looks at anybody else (other than 'me at the front'!) because we are all 'doing our own thing'.

3. Feeling the music

There is no right or wrong way to dancing in my class. It's all about FEELING THE MUSIC and everybody feels it in their own way. You might want to follow my choreo as a guideline but if you feel the music differently - go for it! 

4. Dancing - best form of exercise

My class is about dancing/bopping ... call it what you like! 

You will get a good whole body workout but you will not be crippled at the end of it! I do not subscribe to the no pain no gain theory. My Zumba is not 'pumping iron' - as I've said before, it’s about feeling the music - that's what dance is.  

5. Choice of music

 I try to make my play list as mixed as possible. Hopefully that way there's something for everyone. The question of whether you like my class or not will hinge largely on whether you like my choice of music. I was lucky enough, 8 years ago, to start Zumba in the States (where I was living at the time) with an instructor who had my taste in music. I didn't realise the importance of that until I tried other classes, on my return to the UK, and just couldn't find one I liked - which is why I set up classes myself! I am always 'up for requests' – a lot of my chart choices are based on students saying to me 'Have you heard ..?' and if I like it, I'll do it!

6. What to wear

I do recommend good footwear! It doesn’t matter so much what you wear ‘further up’ as long as it’s cool – and you know the kind of cool I mean! Shoes are important as they impact on the rest of your body – spine, joints, etc. There are a load of websites selling dance shoes but I use my current shoes are the Bloch Wave Sneaker Multi @ £36.50 – I wouldn’t recommend the Bloch Bovver Boots @ £60.80 or Battleboots @ £49.95!!

7. Class attendance

You will get so much more out of Zumba if you come along regularly. Picking up routines is not 'magic' any more than the putting together the choreo in the first place is. I have to listen to a song over and over til I ‘own it’ i.e. work out the pattern/interpret different parts in the way I feel it/can do it in my sleep! This takes time. I would therefore not expect anyone to be able to come along and pick up the choreo first week - or even 2nd. It DOES however get easier the more you do it - getting to know the music - then not having to have your eyes trained on me the whole time. You'll find you can then dance a lot more freely and get a much better workout and generally enjoy it more.

To Conclude: I love Zumba - the more I do it, the more I appreciate just how much I need dance in my life! People exercise for different reasons. For me, Zumba ticks all the boxes: I stay 'trim', it lifts me, it focuses my mind. I dance because for me it is the best possible release. I can lose myself in it; and since moving to Winchester a few years ago, I have met so many really nice people I consider myself truly lucky.


Hope you enjoy Zumba too! Suexx


The following is on 'Health Tips'.

For me, Zumba ticks all the boxes for feeling good and keeping sane. 

I am going to divide this section into two parts:

1. Mental health

2. Physical health

Mental Health

This, for me, is the starting point with zumba. 

Yes, zumba tones your body and keeps the weight off - but far more importantly than that, it 'lifts' you mentally. Music is the best tonic - it is a universal language that speaks to us all.

Apart from the feel good factor of the music, and moving to it, there is also the 'focus' element. Zumba is a great form of 'active' meditation as it does require a certain amount of concentration, as each routine is different, and each routine itself has several different sections. 

Apart from focusing the mind, it is of course a great escape. To lose yourself in music for an hour is, for me, the best medicine out there!

Following is taken from Andy Puddicombe - former Buddhist monk and co-founder of the meditation app Headspace - some may find this useful as supplement to zumba!





Physical Health

Zumba is exercise by default. You don't even realise you're doing it. All that 'pumping iron' in the gym - forget it! This is so much more fun!

The great things about zumba is that you are exercising every part of your body - you are not singling out one part, working on it, and then moving onto the next. Every part of your body is moving when you are dancing; and the beauty of dance routines is that, everyone is so focused on their own participation i.e. following the instructor's choreo, that there really is no time to 'look around' and see how others are doing. This removes any element of competition and means that each participant can join in at their own level, and if necessary, adapt the moves to suit. Everyone feels the music in a different way and there are no rights or wrongs. 

As an instructor I try to make the routines as 'doable' and enjoyable as I can. We are not working towards a performance and there is no element of 'look at me'. We all dance in our own way and feel so much better for it! 

One more quick point I'd like to make - I have had back and knee issues over time; and my advice is - keep moving! I'll give you two examples:

1. Most recently, I managed to strain a ligament in my knee, whilst .... taking photographs!! Think human tripod - apparently that's how I stand when I take pictures! Because I generally take around 200 pics at a time when I'm putting together slide presentations (I do lectures/talks when I'm not dancing and writing plays), this I believe caused the problem which was then exacerbated by an August of inactivity i.e. virtually no zumba (I just did Monday evenings).

Since returning to regular zumba this week, my knee is definitely getting better. I am of course 'being sensible' and have slightly adapted the playlist to take out too many 'sharp turns' - but I am happy to report things are getting a lot better.

2. I had back issues a couple of years ago when I stupidly did two zumbathons in one week to raise money for Children in Need. I did however continue all my classes and again, the problem resolved itself - the worst times being when I 'gave in' and laid around - which just made me seize up.

So, take a leaf from my book. If you have 'issues' (a) of course, be aware of them and err on the side of caution when exercising i.e. don't jump, twist or do anything that might exacerbate condition; BUT (b) keep exercising/moving as this will help in the majority of cases.

Newspaper articles (most recent first):

Telegraph Sept 5

Plenty of bananas and beans to cut women's risk of stroke.

Eating more bananas could help to prevent strokes, a study suggests. Post menopausal women who ate the most potassium were 12 per cent less likely to suffer strokes in general and 16 percent less likely to suffer an ischemic stroke. Other sources of potassium: sweet potatoes and white beans.

Year-Round Resolutions – Zumba Style!

  1. Eat lots – you will burn it off in class!
  2. Drink lots - maybe keep that glass of wine til after class, alcohol doesn’t always aid coordination!
  3. Attend lots of classes  – the better you know the music, the more you’ll enjoy the routines!
  4. Smile and laugh lots – laughter is the best medicine 
  5. Forget your inhibitions – make 2014 the year you ‘just do it’ (..still talking zumba here!)
  6. Forget the gym – music can lift you without any equipment!
  7. Forget the ‘no pain no gain’ jargon. Exercise at your own level – injury is no fun.
  8. Travel the world – zumba music is from all continents.
  9. Make new friends – all classes friendly!
  10. STOP making excuses – come to Zumba! What are you waiting for?!