Crash Course: Zumba is a Latin dance-based cardio workout set to the thumping beats of upbeat club music. Put your inhibitions aside and check your running man at the door. In this class, you’ll salsa, mambo, and samba yourself into a sweaty frenzy. No need to know what those are, you’ll pick it up quickly enough. Zumba the most fun I’ve ever had doing an hour of cardio…and a lot harder than it looks. Click here to check out when the next Zumba class is at Joy of Motion Dance Center.
[left]where: 5207 Wisconsin Ave. NW, red line/Friendship Heights metro
bring: water, towel
perks: learn some new moves
sweat score: 9 out of 10[/left][right]wear: comfortable shoes
cost: drop in cost is $17*[/right][line]
The Joy of Motion Dance Center has three locations in the DC area: Friendship Heights, Atlas District, and Bethesda. Each offers a wide array of classical dance classes (ballet, jazz, tap) and a few cardio-centric workout classes as part of their MOVE program. According to their website:
MOVE Program classes provide the best of dance and fitness together in 1 hour of power. MOVE classes use elements of aerobics and dance technique skillfully combined by our talented faculty to maximize calorie burn, increase strength and flexibility, and challenge your fitness level. Whether you are new to dance or a seasoned mover, we have a class for you.
The entrance to the Friendship Heights studio is located to the left of Paul’s liquor store. Don’t go in the door on the right unless you feel you need some liquid courage before class. The only signage for Joy of Motion is the two purple banners hanging outside of the building, so keep your eyes peeled while walking or driving by. After you enter the front door, go up a small flight of stairs to a long hallway where all of the classrooms are located. The bulletin boards lining this hallway are full of information about all of the dance instructors, companies, and programs.
The front desk area is located to the right about half way down the hallway. There you’ll find a small reception area with two changing rooms. I didn’t notice any lockers for belongings – everyone just brought their bags and coats into the studio during class.
The Zumba class was in Studio A. It looked very much like your basic dance studio, or at least from what I know of dance studios. This knowledge is entirely based on watching “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dance Moms.” Guilty as charged. It also gave me subtle flash backs to my days doing tiny tots ballet. Thank goodness I didn’t have to wear a leotard and tights this time. shudder
I won’t lie. I was intimidated to try Zumba. All I knew about it was that it involved lots of hip shaking, shimmying, and getting my groove on – things I don’t do naturally. If you remember from my first dance crash, my go-to move is the running man. It may not be pretty, but it’s effective and gets the job done. So I’ve avoided the sultry siren song of Zumba at all costs…until now.
The thing to know about Zumba is this: there is no time set aside to learn the moves, so when all else fails, just keep moving. Every sequence is done multiple times and the instructor yells out cues, so there is plenty of time to get the general gist of what your hands and feet should be doing. But, if you just can’t figure out what the heck to do, running man will suffice. At least it did for me. The whole point is keeping your heart rate up, your body moving, and the sweat flowing. Don’t believe me? Check this out.
I honestly couldn’t believe what an awesome workout this was. But then again, for anyone who has been out dancing, you know that it can be hard work. Especially when you’re constantly in motion for 60 minutes straight. So, in my mind, Zumba is the zesty love child of dance parties and cardio workouts. And I can’t believe we are only now becoming friends. It’s fun, you’ll break a sweat, and leave questioning your commitment to that rusty old treadmill.
As with any class, Zumba is more fun when the instructor is excited, engaged, and really into the class. Tanya was the instructor for this particular class, and I can honestly say she hit the mark in all three of those areas. She teaches Zumba classes all around DC and has developed quite the following, and after one session with her it’s easy to see why. She’s full of energy, extremely friendly, and isn’t afraid to shake things up with a few top 40 hits. We even broke it down to Gangnam Style at one point in the class (by the way, that dance is way harder than it looks). Tanya has an incredible weight loss story and credits Zumba to helping her lose 60 pounds. You can read more about her journey on her website. She’s passionate about the workout and she brings that commitment to her classes. Even for a Zumba newbie like myself, her class was a rocking good time. Thanks Tanya!
Have you tried Zumba?[line]
*Joy of Motion waived my walk in fee for this class; however, all opinions are my own.