Monday, February 24, 2014

The ZIN Jam

On Sunday I went to my first ZIN Jam. It's a three hour workshop for Zumba instructors where they can learn new choreography. Learn it well enough that they can put it to use right away...well in my case almost right away. I learned each song leading with my right side and if I want to face my class to teach any of these, I'm going to need to learn to lead with my left side; so basically the mirror image of the song. That will take me some time. Plus, it will be a few days before I can even attempt to flip the songs because as much as I want to just dig into them right away, I need a couple of rest days. It was an intense 3.75 hours (we ran over the time), plus I'd gone to the Zumbathon the night before. Here is where I am grateful that Jae talked me out of doing the master class that preceded the Jam. I'm taking tonight off for sure, because I've got my own class to teach on Tuesday and Jae's class to go to on Wednesday. So I think any work I want to do on all the stuff I learned is probably going to have to wait until Friday at the earliest.

So what was the Jam like? I already used the word "intense", but here are some other applicable adjectives: busy, active, tiring, fun. 

When I first arrived there was check-in process where they make sure that you are you and that you're on the list. There were booklets filled with choreography notes and goody bags to take. My bag had a black rubber Zumba bracelet inside. Yay! One I don't already have. There was also a granola bar and chocolate in there but it all had dairy in it, which I don't eat, so I gave it all to Rae. Yep, she was there too. I had signed up and then found out she was going too. So that was fun. It was a strange feeling at first being next to her. Up until that point, I'd only done Zumba with her where she's the instructor facing me. I got over that pretty quickly, there's very little time to dwell on odd little tidbits like that in a Jam. She wanted to be up front and since I was directly to her right, I wound up smack in the middle of the front row. I got over that pretty quickly too...

Me: I'm in the front! Ack.
Me: So what? You're used to the front.
Me: Yeah, in my own class...this is different.
Me: Suck it up and deal.
Me: But people are going to see me make mistakes!
Me: No, they're going to be watching the Jammer, not you, and making their own mistakes. So quit freaking out already, because the first song is starting.
Me: This warmup mix by DJ BadMixx is pretty good.
Me: On that at least, we agree.

My inner monologue. Remember how I said (in a past post) that one voice is the drably colored voice who tells me that I can't or that I shouldn't? And remember how I said I've learned to ignore that and/or do the opposite of what that one says? This was one of those times.

Anyways! The first 30 minutes were spent warming up and doing all five songs, just getting an initial feel for them. I was surprised by how sweaty I was by the time we were finished with that. Indicative of what was to follow. After going through all the songs once, we grabbed our booklets of choreography notes and opened to the first song. The songs were divided into parts labeled with a letter: A, B, C, D, E. None of them had more parts than that, and a couple only went up to C. There was also a written description of each part, how many repetitions of each part to do, how many times each part appeared in the song, and the time stamp for where each part was in the song was included. Our Jammer was very thorough. So, referring to part A of song one, we went over what the description meant, and then practiced only that part three times. Likewise part B, and part C, etc. until we'd gone through all the parts in depth. Then we put the song back together again and did it all the way through two or three times for practice before moving on to the next song where we repeated the process all over again. And again and again and again, until we'd done all five songs.

We were part way through the fourth song when I looked at the clock... Hrmm...5:45. The Jam was supposed to go from 3-6pm... Hrmm.

Me (rushing to text Bry between song parts): Babe, we still have a song and half to go. Eat without me.
Bry (texting back): We're already eating.
Me (rushing to check texts between song parts): Good. I'll be home whenever we're done. Love you!

***Side Note: Bry later told me that measuring time in song is not useful and it doesn't mean the same thing to him as it does to me. Oops! The hazards of being married to a crazy Zumba girl. Heh.***

After we'd gone through all five songs, we did the first three as review before cooling down and stretching.

A few other interesting things:
* We took a five minute break somewhere in the middle, during which I was able to scarf down a Clif bar, but aside from that we were pretty much going the entire time. I've never danced so hard for so long in my life; even the day I went to B1 wasn't quite like this. I came home from the Jam and it was shower and food time and woe be unto that which got my way.

* That booklet full of choreography notes was in my hand two thirds of the time. For real. Being in the middle of the room, I didn't want to have to keep running back and forth to the wall to set it down and pick it back up. I also didn't want to lay it on the floor in front of me. I imagined that I would step on it and go sliding into the stage. So I just held on to it, and the pen I was using to jot down my own thoughts. I wasn't the only one either, I could see others behind me in the mirror doing the same thing. It is odd to do all the arm movements while holding on to something but trying to ignore that it's in your hand. Also, my booklet is strangely wrinkled and warped from my sweaty palm. Gross, but c'est la vie.

* There was Z-Wear for sale, and I managed to stay far far away from it. I resisted it's gravitational pull and didn't pick anything up or try anything on.

So that was my first Jam. Yeah, in there will be others down the road. Even though I was still sore after a hot shower and an Advil. Even though I went to bed exhausted Sunday night and woke up tired Monday morning. Even though I lay awake in bed for an hour Sunday night trying to fall asleep but not really being able to turn off the music and choreography in my brain. Even though, even though... In spite of all of that, or more likely -because- of all that, I loved every minute of it and I would do it all over again. It was time and money well spent.

Group Shot
I'm in the third row, first from the left. I'm wearing an orange shirt, and orange headband, and glasses. The lady in the blue tank top right behind me is Rae. The lady in the front row, second from the right, wearing the black hat, the grey top, and the black pants is the Jammer.

Best advice: Don't sell yourself short. You don't know where your limits are until you blow right past them doing a flamenco triple march.

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