A highly trained back specialist and fitness professional has issued a caution to anyone looking to join the latest dance craze.
As the Zumba dance fitness phenomenon sweeps the nation, KLC client Joani St Cliere is concerned about the number of classes being launched by new-comers with little or no experience of safely leading class workouts.
Joani, who has waiting lists for her 16 classes each week, revealed anyone can become a Zumba instructor by paying £180 to get a qualification after a one-day course. Although instructors are encouraged to gain a recognised fitness qualification before starting classes, this is not forced upon them.
This, she fears, does not qualify a complete novice to be responsible for students’ health and safety.
She said: “People see how busy my classes are and they want a piece of it. What they do not realise is I have been teaching for 15 years so I have a ready-made following. When I started out, I had a class of eight people, five of whom were family! It is only all these years down the line I am able to fill a hall with more than 100 class members at a time.”
Joani St Cliere teaches Zumba
Joani, who lives in Mayland and teaches in Maldon, Chelmsford, Danbury, Burnham and Woodham as well as at retreats in Turkey, Greece, Mexico and Sri Lanka, danced as a teenager before training as an aerobic and fitness instructor and studying to teach yoga, pilates, ante and post natal and martial arts.
Taking her career to the next step, Joani has become one of just six specialists in the industry to qualify as a Level 4 back pain specialist.
Joani, the first Zumba teacher in Essex, said: “There’s a difference between being an instructor and a teacher. I have done a lot of teacher training and am a qualified trainer of teachers. I have also done a degree in learning psychology.
“I believe imparting important information to my students is vital. People leaving class having learnt something other than a routine is important to me.
“So many people have back problems, so I wanted to know when they came to me with a query or if I saw them doing something in the wrong way, I was qualified to deal with it. I spend time shadowing an osteopath so I am constantly learning and am aware of people’s safety.”
Her expert knowledge and experience has seen her become the first in the area to take Zumba to the next level, by launching Zumba Toning and Zumba Gold classes this month.
The Toning classes combine targeted body-sculpting exercises and high-energy cardio work with Latin-infused Zumba moves, while the Gold sessions are modified to suit beginners, active older students or those recovering from injury or operations.
Visit http://www.essexzumba.co.uk/ to find out more.
What is Zumba?
Zumba was born in America in 2001 and fuses Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a fitness programme which burns calories in a party atmosphere. The routines feature interval training sessions where fast and slow rhythms and resistance training are combined to tone and sculpt the body while burning fat.
But, according to teacher Joani St Cliere, it is not just for the young and beautiful.
She said: “There is a misconception that you have to look like the Latin beauties to enjoy Zumba. That is not the case. There is something for everybody. It is just a fantastic way of exercising to such uplifting music. You certainly do not need to be a size zero dancer to join in. Everyone can get something out of it!”