Saturday, September 6, 2014

When taking another instructor's class...

As I've said before, I'm not the Zumba Fitness police (though I think that would be the best. job. ever.).  But I recently heard from a reader (who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent!) that she thought The Z Beat should cover Do's and Don'ts for instructors taking other instructors' classes. We came up with more ideas than I thought we would! Here goes.

Don't end up in a dance fight!
Photo credit: photomag.com
Do introduce yourself, especially if other students in the class know you. The instructor might catch glances or giggles and its better for him or her to know it's because you know the other students, not because you're making fun of the moves.

Don't go into another person's class and advertise your own classes - not the right time or place. (But, bonus points if you're hosting another instructor in your class and you invite him/her to advertise classes!)

Do use another instructor's class as a learning opportunity. Everyone has something to learn, and you can use the time to pick up on new ways to cue or how to perfect your machete, reggaeton stomp, etc.

Don't go into a class and steal the choreo. We all know how hard instructors work on our playlists and routines. It's one thing to see standard Zumba choreo and decide to go home and learn it from a DVD, but if its an original piece - ya gotta ask permission (and, even still, I would recommend doing this sparingly!).

Do use the time to enjoy yourself - how nice is it to not be the one everyone is watching? No need to count, praise, etc.!

OHMYGOSHDon't start doing your own choreo to a song that's also in your playlist. Not even in a "Oh, this is what I do to this part!" sort of way. It's too distracting!

Do clap at the end of songs if that's a norm in the class - the instructor will definitely be watching you for your reaction.

Don't talk smack about the other instructor before or after class with students (or, at least, avoid it as much as possible). When a new instructor teaches at my gym, students always want my opinion after class. I always offer something, but its usually an analysis of their style (e.g., she gave us a lot of fitness variations!) rather than a thumbs up or thumbs down.


Have you had any bad experiences when teaching with another instructor in the room? What else would you add to this list?

27 comments:

  1. I disagree about not doing your own choreo. It's a dance party. If you, as a student or instructor, know an alternate routine and it's easier or more comfortable for you, the instructor should be cool about it. Muscle memory is a hard thing to break. Any other instructor should understand how difficult that can be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think doing your own choreo at someone else's class is very disrespectful, if you are going to someone's class act like a student unless the instructor in charge asks you to do your own routine.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I respectfully really disagree with you. It makes it look like you are stealing focus and trying to "show up" the other instructor.

      Delete
    3. Oh gosh!! PLEASE don't do your on choreography during another instructor's class. VERY disrespectful!!

      Delete
    4. agree - very disrespectful and very distracting for the instructor if your "doing you own thing". I feel like this is one that's not even debatable. If an instructor feels that its ok to do her own choreo while visiting another instructor's class, it's probably because they are fairly new and don't yet understand the etiquette. Can't stress it enough, it's not ok to do that.

      Delete
    5. If you are a better dancer than the instructor, dumb yourself down. My instructor got jealous and made fun of me.

      Delete
    6. Do no...t do your own choreo but do add your own flavor

      Delete
  2. I would also add: Don't wear a Zumba top that has " instructor" on it. This is not your class, its theirs!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Interesting counterpoint re: doing your own choreo! And Laurie, that's a great addition... an Instructor shirt can confuse the group. Thanks to you both for reading!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've dealt with the instructors doing other choreography in classes and it's just not cool. It causes distraction and confusion in the classroom and it's just out of pure respect. Trust me, you wouldn't want someone coming in and doing that to you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. These are all great points! Thank you for posting this!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree 100% with all of these! It's already hard to remember our routines and if someone else comes in class and is doing their own moves, it throws off the instructor that is teaching the class. Plus...instructors tend to always stand in the front row, if they are doing their own moves then people in the back might only be able to only see them and follow their moves. There's a difference between adding your own flava or doing accidental solos and someone that is doing an entirely different routine. Just like when students go to different classes, different instructors have different routines to the same songs so students adapt and do whatever moves the instructor is doing. If students can adapt then instructors should definitely be able to adapt.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Personally I don't think its a good idea to be in to be in the front row when taking another instructors class. Yes I have done it, cuz that's where I'm most comfortable, but trying to wean myself from that. Very kind when a instructor introduces u as a fellow instructor but honestly it raises the bar and I don't want to mess up.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Please don't use a mic, we are here to zumba not have a conversation on how everyone's day is going in the middle of class, we don't need a step by step instructional class, this is so distracting! Also turn up the music it's party time!!!! Or go teach yoga!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love this post! I have had other instructors in my class that have violated many of these (even one who pushed me aside unasked for in class to lead her choreo)!

    One disagreement I have is on using other's choreo - I always ask other instructors before using theirs and understand that expectation, but at the same time I don't expect them to ask me. If you love my routine... take it, please! Creating your own choreo is very challenging for many of us (myself included), especially when Zumba encompasses so many different styles of music and movements. We all can't be experts in everything. So, when another instructor loves my choreo and want to use it to, I am honored and flattered! I think sharing choreo is very much within the spirit of Zumba, Beto and other ZES share theirs with us after all. I wish more people would see it that way too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you Anonymous! I always ask to use choreo but as a choreographer first and foremost (I love the process and it's a huge creative outlet for me), it's a big honor to see another instructor use some of my choreography. I love it!!!

      Delete
  10. It can get SO confusing if there is a guest instructor doing his/her own choreo during a song, but it's confusing for the instructor to follow someone else's moves too! It's like second nature what moves you're doing, so you hardly even think about it, like a reflex, so when I'm in a class where the choreo is different from what I do, I might just use that time to go get some water or something else innocent and non-disruptive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've done exactly that-excused myself and gone for water. Then I stayed out of the room and went through my moves by the door. I had just learned my own choreo and didn't want to confuse myself when I had to teach it. I also didn't want to distract the participants from the instructor leading the class. When the song was done I returned to the class.

      Delete
    2. I agree, it's exactly what I do! sometimes their choreo is just slightly different stylistically, but when it's a non-zin song that I worked really hard to learn my own moves for and hers are COMPLETELY different, then I just have to excuse myself from that number. I take a water break or go to the bathroom, maybe march in place off to the side or stretch any trouble spots. And when it's a matter of being a sub at another's class, and we do the same song with different choreo, I either try to learn hers first, or I just don't do that song in that class. It's not fair to the students who've already learned Their instructor's moves, to have to change for the sub.

      Delete
  11. Agree don't wear instructor shirt, I don't think you have to introduce yourself though. Whenever I go to a class, usually they can figure it out. I've introduced myself before and it usually makes the instructors nervous I've found it's better to just lay back. I also never take the front row unless that's where the free stop is. As for choreography, I agree don't do your own, it's disrespectful. And yes NEVER advertise your classes unless the instructors ask you too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is just my philosophy and no one has yet taken offence to it:
    Beto has quoted saying "Zumba Instructors are stronger in numbers."
    When attending someone else's class I always go on 'cheerleader' mode to get the hosting instructor's students even more motivated.
    It's always nice to see selfless acts like that in where you go to fully support the host and his/her students.
    However the only exception to this rule is if I am not introduced to the class (Which I find very disrespectful).
    If an instructor comes to your class you should be more than confident in your own abilities to not 'lose students' but also hospitable in acknowledging that there is someone else students can reference to during the class.
    I personally think people being paranoid about advertising in other's classes are the ones who know they are not good instructors.
    (Which does exist)
    And before anyone goes on micro agression mode do remember this is a fitness brand and if you can't keep up or handle the competition then maybe this isn't the right career/job for you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. hmmm, interesting point of view. I never feel like I need to be introduced as an instructor if I visit another instructor's class. Why would that be important? I'm not there to impress his or her students. I would still whoop and yell or clap or whatever feels appropriate to participate and support the fun. And in the past I've given a shout out to instructors that were in my class and embarrassed them because they came to participate, not be pointed out and feel like they had to "measure up". So now I never introduce an instructor in the room unless I've offered them to lead a song and they've agreed to that.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love the comments on this subject!!!! Here's one thing I want to put out there. When I go to a Zumba class, I do NOT want to come onstage and do a routine. That's NOT what I'm there for. I want to lay low and dance like nobody's watching. I'm good with following the instructor's lead!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Very interesting comments! When I'm invited to visit other instructors and do a routine, I wear ZIN gear. If I'm traveling out of town and randomly find a Zumba® class, I'll wear regular workout gear. As a male, my presence is already distracting enough without adding that I'm also an instructor. For this same reason, I'll also dance in the back or on a far side so that the class' focus stays on the instructor.

    I don't think choreo can truly be "stolen" since it's extremely rare that someone is doing a truly original dance move. However, I personally wouldn't copy someone else's entire choreo without asking them.

    NEVER do your own choreo in someone else's class. That's very rude and distracting. Not to mention it can be a safety hazard if everyone isn't traveling in the same direction!

    I'll add: always be positive about the instructor you visited. Even if the class was not your style, someone loves it, and disparaging the class is like stomping on someone's heart. Instead, point out how great it is that Zumba comes in so many different flavors that everyone can find a class they enjoy. On that point, I routinely send my students to other instructors' classes. I want them to find the instructor(s) who best help them meet their fitness goals. If it's me, then they'll be back! If it's someone else then I know I have some things to learn! At the end of the day, it's all about the students anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Never do your own choreo! If instructors asks you to lead a song, then of course. I also hate when students that attend other classes do their own routine in my class. Pet peeve!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point - everyone is expected to follow the instructor's lead!

      Delete