Category Archives: Choreography

Zumba L.A. convention, Zumba Sentao, and Zumba Step

I’ve been busy! I attended the Zumba instructor conference in Los Angeles in January–February 2014, where I certified for Zumba Sentao, a chair-based Zumba class:

Me sitting in a chair, wearing a Zumba top and convention nametag, holding the Zumba Sentao booklet and DVD box set

Zumba Sentao certification

There were over 3000 people there, most of them women, which means that the convention center had to repurpose some men’s restroom’s into women’s restrooms (you know you’re at an aerobics convention when they do this…):

Photo of a sign over a restroom door of an icon of a man, with a piece of paper taped over it that reads 'Women's Restroom'

Zumba “women’s” restroom

The weekend after the conference, I certified for Zumba Step. Zumba is launching this one big, and I can’t wait to get started on learning choreography and building a class!

“Zoot Suit Riot” by the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies (swing)

Listen/buy/sing along

Choreography

1. Instrumental intro: Charleston

2. Verse: Side kicks, single single double, with both arms lifting up with the legs, hands flexed out

3. Chorus:
* Double hop R, double hop L (hitting forward angled right on 1 and 3, then left on 5 and 7), arms push forward, chest height, as you hop
* Monkey arms and circle heel kicks
* Switch sides

REPEAT 1–3 (but this one time, chorus will only go once right and left, not twice)

4. Instrumental hits: slow cross walk with music hits, then shorty George (alternating shoulder lifts) to switch sides, 4x total

5. Drums (call and response): 2 steps, arms out, flip hands down as you step on downbeat

REPEAT 2-3-4-5

BIG FINISH, with flapping hands!

Note

I borrowed the chorus from Candy on YouTube. Thanks!

“We No Speak Americano” by Yolanda Be Cool Vs. Dcup (pop)

Listen/Obtain/Sing Along

* Listen at YouTube
* Buy at Amazon.com (get the 3:28 version)
* Covered as “Bon, Bon” by Pitbull

Choreography

SUNG INTRO
* March and shimmy on the tootles

ONE
* Tap forward on 1, tap back on 3

TWO
* Tap becomes a knee up, tap back on 3

SHAKE

THREE
* Grapevine RL

INTERVAL 1: feet inching from side to side, palms out and swirling (or… freestyle!)

FOUR
* SWITCH FEET; tap forward on 1, tap back on 3

FIVE
* Knee forward on 1, tap back on 3

INTERVAL 2
* Wide taps out; make bigger, add hops and arms

SHAKE; REALLY LONG PAUSE

SIX
* Grapevine RL

SEVEN
* Grapevine R, spin back L

INTERVAL 3: feet inching from side to side, palms out and swirling (or… freestyle!)

EIGHT
* Kick front, kick side, ball change, pivot to switch sides

CONCLUSION
* Wide taps out

“Toul ‘Omry” by Nawal Al Zoughbi (belly dance/salsa)

Listen/obtain/sing along

* View a live performance at YouTube
* Buy at Amazon.com
* Lyrics and English-language translation at Shira.net

Choreography

Intro

* March
* Salsa side (0:20)

Verse 1

* Slow hip circles on R side for 1 phrase (0:29)
* Alt RL hip hits (0:38)
* Squat, SSD hand waves up (0:47)
* Salsa side, 1 phrase (0:55)

Verse 2

* Slow hip circles on L side for 1 phrase (1:05)
* Alt LR hip hits (1:14)
* Squat, SSD hand waves up (1:23)
* Salsa side 2 phrases (1:32)

Guitar solo interlude

* 4 steps side to side (1:50)

“Salsa!”

* Salsa side, 2 phrases (2:08)

Drum interlude

* Wide step toe tap with shoulder shimmies, 1 phrase (2:26)

Goes into…

* Alt RL hip hits (2:36)
* Squat, SSD hand waves up (2:45)
* Salsa side, 1 phrase (2:54)

Drums with singing

* Wide step toe tap with shoulder shimmies, 1 phrase (3:04)
* Salsa side, 1 phrase (3:13)
* Repeat as song fades (3:22 ff.)

Note

This song appears on ZIN Mega Mix 20. The choreography is for the purchased version by the original artist.

“Cleveland Shuffle” by 71 North (line dance)

Obtain/sing along

* Buy at Amazon.com (radio mix).
* Watch the band perform it live.

Choreography

Watch NM teach it here.

This is a 40-count, 4-wall line dance. The 5 blocks of 8 counts are:

* Tap out to side, RLRL, 4x.
* Step knee/hop half turn back, step knee/hop half turn front.
* Box step forward (lead right first), click heels together on the 4 count, switch left.
* Kick RL, swirl leg (4); repeat on L. Turn a quarter turn left to face west.
* Shuffle/3-step forward, then back, then in a circle.

Note

I could not bear the previous line dance because it broke the 8 count. This one fits nicely into the 40 and goes well with the music.

“Watermelon Crawl” by Tracy Byrd (line dance)

Listen/obtain/sing along

* Listen at YouTube
* Buy at Amazon.com
* Lyrics at Cowboy Lyrics

Choreography

This song is not phrased in 32. It’s phrased in 36 or 40. The phrasing goes 8-8-8-8-6. But sometimes it’s all 8s. Just ignore this and dance straight through it. It comes back into the downbeat eventually.

I use the classic Watermelon Crawl, a 4-wall, 40 (sort of)-count intermediate line dance. A tutorial is available here on YouTube.

Instead of doing the toe-heel-toe taps to begin, I cross-rock forward. However, this song is slow enough that the toe-heel-toe thing works. In addition, when breaking it down, I remove the pivot at the end, because this move is hard for participants to learn. I do several more knee lifts instead. This actually makes it easier to fit the steps into the music, because you just hit the beat with your knees until it’s time to start again. The music tells you when it’s going to be a 6 or an 8, and if you’re not pivoting, it’s possible to cue.

Note

I tried this dance to BR5-49′s “Cherokee Boogie” but it’s too short and too fast. The song is great, though. I may break it out again once my students get the feet.

“Los Campeones de la Salsa” by Willy Chirino (salsa)

Listen/obtain/sing along

* Listen at YouTube
* Buy at Amazon.com (I use the version on ZIN 18, which is 4:20 in length)
* Lyrics at Only Lyrics

Choreography

Intro

* Plant feet wide, hip hits, presentation arms at shoulder level

Chorus (0:20)

* 4 steps to side, 2x salsa back
* Other side
* Repeat 4x total
* Stomp wide march during the transition

Verse 1 (0:51)

* Salsa side

Chorus (1:11)

* Add turn back on salsa back (outside leg moves first)

Verse 2 (1:36)

* Show tap and cross-front variations

Chorus (1:56) but no wide stomps

Intro reprise (2:41)

* Hip hits, presentation arms

Interlude 1 (“Ese soy yo”) (2:38)

* 2 steps side to side

Interlude 2 (rap) (3:09)

* 4 leg hits, switch side; then take in circle

Interlude 3 (“Ese es el mio”) (3:29)

* 2 steps side to side

Chorus (3:50)

“Pa’la Discoteka a Bailar” by Zumba Fitness (techno-cumbia)

Obtain

* Buy at Amazon.com (on Zumba’s Vibe Tribe album; it is also on ZIN 24)

Choreography

Intro

* Toe taps forward, then take it wide (this previews a move in the chorus)

Chorus 1 (4x)

* 2 V-steps, same lead
* 2 alternating toe taps
* V-step, tap to switch lead
* Repeat

Verse 1

* Hip lifts, arms wave overhead, 8 on one side, 8 on the other side
* Walk it up and back

Chorus 2 (3x)

* Same

Verse 2

* Same hip lifts as before, but now take it slowly in a circle, 8 one direction, 8 the other
* Walk it up and back, adding side toe tap to begin and end

Interlude 1

* Step tap, clapping with the claps in the music; 2 phrases
* Two steps, clapping; 2 phrases

Chorus (2x)

* Same, but add directionality: add cross over on final V-step/tap

Interlude 2

* Tiny knee up on downbeat, alternating (8 beats)
* Step tap, arms go opposite (8 beats)
* Turn tiny knee in to big knee up, alternating (8 beats)
* Step tap, arms go opposite (8 beats)
* Circle around, as before 8 one direction, 8 the other

Chorus

* Same, to end

Note

I have choreographed this song for a Zumba Gold class. The reggaeton rhythm is not performed in Gold, so I am making do with a song with a reggaeton interlude—thus the knees up on the downbeat. This song is great to funk up, so add your own personal flavor!

Although this choreography has no bouncing and works well for Gold, it is possible to add intensity and directional changes. I like doing the final chorus in a circle; just do the steps while turning.