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Inside your Zumba instructor’s brain!

By Sophie Vickery | 10 September 2020

Hi! I’m Sophie and I’m FDS’ Zumba Instructor. I’ve been teaching Zumba since 2015 and one of the questions I get asked a lot is ‘how do you do it?!’ People often wonder how Zumba instructors teach a class jam-packed with fast-paced, varying rhythms to participants of all ages and dance/fitness abilities. Well, let me tell you, the brain of a Zumba instructor is a busy one and here I will shed some insight into why!

Zoom into Zumba dance

Obviously, our key priorities are health&safety, delivering the choreo, making sure you’re all having a happy/safe time and getting a great workout too. But that wouldn’t make for a very exciting blog, so here are the bits you perhaps hadn’t thought about. Arriving at the class, instructors leave their own problems at the door – our focus is on our participants. That stressful day at work or niggling hamstring are pushed out of our minds and we put on our energetic smiles. Before the class begins, there are often people who want to speak to the instructor (we love it when you speak to us by the way, please keep doing that). Some loiter nervously nearby, I call this the awkward hover, but don’t worry we see you and engage conversation with you to help you feel comfy.

Dance, dance, dance

As instructors, this is one of our favourite parts of the job because whilst you may feel nervous now, we know that in a few weeks time you’re going to be dancing like you’re one of Beyonce’s backing dancers, even if you don’t know that yourself yet. Meanwhile, others bound up to us enthusiastically, they can’t wait to tell us what their favourite routine was last week, where they got their new leggings or their full medical history spanning back decades. We love you guys too – keep up the chat! By the way if you’re nervous about telling an instructor about a medical complaint…trust me, we’ve heard them all…!

Step into the beats

We get into the studio and setup the music (often a minefield). We’re all ready to go, people standing in their spaces ready to move but there’s a gaggle at the back making noise…I call these the chatters, chatters at the back. I love these guys; I’m a strong believer that coming to class is just as important mentally and socially as it is physically and these guys really capture that. I do want to know what you’re talking about though – FOMO alert!

We start the class and for the next hour our brains are a whirlwind of choreo, cueing, signalling, remembering, communicating, keeping an eye on everyone, energy and smiling. I get sooo many questions about this process so let’s cover them off in one.

Zumba Fun Questions

  • Yes it is sometimes like herding cats (but we love that).
  • Yes we are baffled when we cue to move one way and some people go the other.
  • Yes we do forget the steps sometimes and revert to improvisation, usually something involving a single/single/double format.
  • Yes we can get distracted if one of the participants goes wrong and end up copying them instead.
  • Yes we sometimes have a brain freeze on what comes next but suddenly our brains take over, recognise the music and we’re back in the game…smooooth!
  • Yes I have had wardrobe malfunctions whilst teaching.
  • Sophie brings the Salsa Steps to Zumba

    Sophie Vickery – Bringing the Zumba Fitness to First Dance

Keep Up with Zumba 

Meanwhile lockdown has brought a whole new meaning to teaching, and that’s a whole other blog but think pets, navigating tech, participants coming in and out (imagine people coming in and out of a studio during the class!), family members doing the most random things in the background, cramming all your furniture into the corner to make space for all those salsa shimmys and merengue turns.

Until that next blog….remember that a Zumba instructor’s brain is busy but, most importantly, we love our participants, no matter what quirks, dance moves or personalities they come with. And they are what make this the most rewarding job in the world.

When is Zumba Fitness Dance class?

And Sophie makes it look effortlessly easy. For more information about times both in studio and online then please take a look here. We welcome all Zumba lovers and yes Beyonce we are all ready to join you on a world tour – we’ve even got our own feather and sequins!  Please do get in touch should you have any questions. 


Opening hours

Monday-Friday 9am-9pm
Saturday 10am-6pm
Sunday 11am-6pm

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