Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The #ZINCON Experience

Over the course of #ZINCON, I added to this post to try and capture the experience as it happened. If you were there, I hope you enjoy reminiscing with me, and if you weren't there I hope this gives you a good idea of what is was all about!

Pro tip: I stayed at the Days Inn across the street from the convention center. It was totally convenient - about a 10 minute walk from the front door to most sessions - and half the price of the rooms at the Hyatt and Rosen Center. Here's the view from my room.
 
 
 
The kick-off session started with, what else, a dance party! I've never seen more booty-shaking at 8:30 in the morning in my life. Loretta Bates and Steve Boedt hosted the kick-off session, and we heard from Alberto Perlman, Gina Graziani, Beto (obvs), and a bunch of inspiring speakers.
 
 
We got to see the Warriors in Pink "get up off of that thang" - such incredible women! More on them to come.
 
 
Ashley Judd was the keynote speaker and she was funny, inspiring, and real. She even did two Zumba routines! (Check my instagram page for the video!)
 
 
After the keynote, everyone broke off for a wide range of sessions: Latin Pop, Reggaeton Rebellion, Assessing Your Personality, Cueing Tips, Brazilian Carnival. On Friday and Saturday, they offered a bunch of full-day trainings (I took Zumba Kids, which I'll tell you more about later!).

But, there's also dancing everywhere! Here are some folks learning the brand new ZIN 58 moves, while others were at the stage where Jammers and ZESs presented all sorts of Zumba routines, all throughout the convention.
 
 
 
They have these giant sign-in boards, and it was really cool to see what people write is their favorite part of #ZINCON.
 
 
Here's mine:

 
There was also a group of great sponsors giving out information and samples. Since I'm such a Jamba Juice fan, I was particularly excited to run into them! Below is a shot from above of all the sponsor tables.

 
 
In addition to the regular sessions, there are a few special events. If I can quote myself from 15 years ago, the fitness concert was off the hook! It's a live class with Beto and a bunch of amazing ZESs, where most of the songs are performed live. Francesca Maria, Dahrio Wonder, Prince Royce, and Yandel were all there, among others. Here's a video of one of my favorite songs to teach in class.
 
video
 

There was also the theme party - Zumba Island - which I didn't make it to but if the pictures even captured 10% of the fun, it looked awesome!

Overall, I didn't really know what I was in store for and everything exceeded my expectations. The classes were really, really good (both in terms of the dancing and the education we got) and the energy was awesome the whole time. Getting to meet some of my online-only Zumba friends was the best part! To those who I didn't get to meet... we'll just have to go back next year. :)

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