I Reported My Zumba Instructor
Are you ever unaware of how much you care about something until it’s destroyed in front of your face?
Maybe you didn’t want the rest of a sandwich, but after your friend pops it into their dumb mouth and chews it, it’s suddenly the most important sandwich in the world, and now it’s gone.
Well, I know how that feels. Zumba is my sandwich.
*For those who don’t know, Zumba is a popular Latin dance fitness class run in gyms all over the world and headquartered in the US.
The Road to Crazy
For the last couple of months I’ve been taking gym and yoga classes on a daily basis in an effort to earn back my fitness.
I was fit in my early 20’s and hardly ever got sick. A decade has since past, and my ability to fall ill on a whim is now my defining characteristic.
I have no interest in flailing around by myself on a gaggle of monstrous gym equipment, so I take classes.
While taking a class, the instructor can keep an eye on us and make sure we’re not doing damage to ourselves, while also motivating us to push harder. I can also surround myself by other equally jiggly and sweaty people who’re all pushing for the same goal. It’s a good time.
Years ago, when I used to dance on a regular basis, I became a qualified Zumba instructor. I flew to Sydney and took the training over two glorious sweat-filled days.
While taking the training I learned all the dos and don’ts of a Zumba class.
We had to remain enthusiastic and smile while our lungs ached and sweat poured into our eyes. We had to clearly indicate upcoming steps, and make sure we communicated visibly to the class the entire time.
We needed to display personality and a unique sass through our movement. The songs followed a flow, and muscle groups would all have to be taken care of in a logical order.
We would warm up and cool down the students to protect their muscles, all while dancing and keeping the party going.
We were supposed to wear Zumba branded or neutral clothing, and keep everything on brand the entire session.
There are a lot of rules, but Zumba is the best, and we all wanted to be a part of something great.
In the years since taking the training I have barely taught any Zumba classes, instead I implemented the Zumba mentality into my drama classes.
I need to warm up my drama students every lesson, so I do Zumba-style warmups and cool downs that protect the kid’s muscles and hype them up for a fun time.
I’ve also taken lots of Zumba classes as a participant to keep my skills alive, and shrink my tummy. But I don’t take just any Zumba class, I take Ken’s Zumba class.
I discovered Ken by chance when I was choosing which gym I would join. Ken’s classes werr pumping, and he lived up perfectly to the Zumba brand. He was everything I ever wanted in a teacher, and far better than me at Latin dancing.
But yesterday I wanted to get my groove on during an afternoon that Ken wasn’t working, so I booked a Zumba class taught by the other Zumba teacher in my gym.
This teacher’s name is Milk, and his incompetence drove me into an irrational tantrum where reason and logic were replaced with rage.
Losing My Cool
Milk walked into the Zumba class wearing a Les Mills branded tshirt (Les Mills is a competing fitness brand).
My mouth literally dropped open when I saw it.
He then began the class without asking if any of us were new or had any injuries. He didn’t address us or even smile, he just started to dance.
His warmup was 48 counts of a bloody grapevine, and left everything except my legs entirely unstretched.
He then started a Bollywood style dance that I’ve definitely seen on YouTube before, but don’t know if it’s real Zumba or fan made. But regardless, it was so poorly executed that something in my mind snapped and led me to do something I’d never done before… I went to reception and filled out a written complaint.
Did I Cross the Line?
Many of us feel entitled to a level of ownership over the things we feel passionate about. When I worked at Disney, I saw it all the time among the guests.
Disney fans feel ownership over characters and storylines and feel personally attacked when characters from movies are altered or changed.
While working at Disney, I witnessed the rollout of the updated princess dresses that were designed to reflect a more modern take on fashion trends. This rollout gave me a front row seat to the rage this change brought out in some of the guests.
But are these guests entitled to their rage? Am I?
Zumba doesn’t belong to me anymore than Disney belongs to someone who paid $100 for a day at a Disney Park.
My life isn’t made worse because this teacher is butchering Zumba, so why would I feel so mad?
These companies encourage this level of ownership. Disney wants its fans feeling this passionate so that they don’t question the $100 Disneyland ticket, the $80 Elsa doll, or the $30 fee to watch Mulan on a streaming platform they’re already paying for.
Zumba wants my loyalty so that I’m attending their classes over those being offered by its competitors, including ‘Les Mills’.
In retrospect, I feel guilty that I officially reported the teacher. I should have spoken to him directly, and asked why the class fell so short of my expectations.
I should have found out if he’s even qualified to teach the class, and if not, why he’s doing it at all.
Now that I’ve come to this realisation, I know that I need to find him and apologise. I should tell him why I did it, and try to learn from this experience.
But there’s nothing I can do about my feeling of ownership over the material, or the rage this feeling induces from time to time. This feeling has been cultivated by the company itself, and it’s a part of me now.
So if you teach Zumba and you’re reading this, be careful to execute the class properly. You never know how much your students may care about the choices you make.