It's my third year at the Zumba Convention and I'm having mixed feelings. It's difficult NOT to compare to past years.
The oddest part was meeting Lil Jon and listening to how soft spoken he actually is. No, not really.
Actually, it is our schedule. This is the first year that Zumba decided not to sell three-day passes. This meant that they could add more to the Thursday schedule because presumably all ZIN would be in the building on Thursday. Sounds fair and makes sense. However, it feels different. Feels like we now have so much down time. I kind of liked running around from class to class.
My second complaint is the clothing store situation. The lines are ridiculous. People are having to choose clothes shopping vs. workshops. I haven't purchased much except a sports bra and the convention t-shirt. I refuse to be a part of the shopping frenzy. I hope next year, Zumba decides to have time slots for people to sign up and shop. Of course, there would have to be a lot of restocking going on but at least, everyone could have a fair chance. If you want to sign up to shop instead of attend a workshop then cool . . . you just opened a slot for someone else to take the class.
But enough with the complaints. Yesterday's Kick Off Season was great.
It was inspiring. We laughed at ourselves, cried together, and walked out pumped for the weekend and the year. I feel proud to be part of this brand. Yes, we are a little crazy. We wear bright colors and dance together at every opportunity BUT we are loving people.
They recounted stories of ZIN who helped in various local and national tragedies including New Orleans and Haiti and one particular story made everyone tear. It's about a Zumba Family - 3 immediate family members and their extended ZIN family. The wife was a part-time Zumba instructor and full-time housewife. She had one baby, another one on the way, and her husband worked full-time. One day, he suffered from a stroke. Their lives changed forever. Her ZIN family stepped up and decided that they could not see this family go through it alone. They held fundraisers to help the family through. They also cooked, visited, and helped with the babysitting. Anything they could do to help her - they did. In this world, these small acts of kindness is what's most important. Zumba honored the family and the ZIN. Zumba gave the family $5,000 and started a college savings account for the children. The ZIN received awards and their very own ZIN day in Georgia. The room ROARED. It was amazing.
At the Kick-Off, we had several other amazing stories and speakers including our very own ZELEBRITY . . . Kathy Najimy. She is what she coined, a "Zumba-holic." Kathy lives in NYC and takes classes at Alving Ailey. She loves it. Her Zumba Fitness journey has helped her lose 50 lbs and everywhere she goes, she tells everyone how she lost it . . . ZUMBA. Her reason why Zumba worked, " I like it because everyone is welcome, everyone feels equal. All ages, all ethnicities, all sexualities, all body shapes. There is no line drawn. No intimidation. I never feel self-conscious. I get a real work out and I lose weight." She feels Zumba Fitness aligns with her own personal philosophies. Choice. Diversity. Inclusion. "Everyone, despite their differences dances together."
Along with the many other surprises popping up throughout the weekend, the Kick-Off session was the perfect way to motivate us into movement.
I have so much more to share . . . like the Reggaeton Rebellion workshop (Best Workshop EVER in three years) and the Fitness Concert but I think, I'm on my limit in maintaining your attention. All I can say is VANILLA ICE! He performed. How sick is that? Now, we are REALLY bringing it back.
Time to go and Bellydance. TTYL. I'll leave you with some pics.