Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Thoughts on Party Crashers

This post is from Melissa, a guest blogger on The Z Beat!

I’ve seen a lot of posts lately about the frustration ZIN members are feeling over the abuse of the Zumba name by instructors or facilities. I share in that frustration and when I visited the Stop Party Crashers table at ZINCON, I took a few minutes to ask Diane Felkenes what exactly we can do about it.

My situation was that one of the gyms I am affiliated with is a specialty studio that has been trying to incorporate a Zumba class once a week but can’t seem to get it off the ground. Not too far up the road, there is another gym that offers Zumba classes and from what we’ve been told, they tend to teach a hip-hop dance class and many of our clients won’t take our Zumba class because they think that’s what it is. Because that instructor at the other place is officially licensed, he/she really isn’t a Party Crasher but, in my opinion, the essence of the original Zumba formula isn’t there and it misrepresents what it is. So my question to Diane was, “What do we do?”

Her answer was quite simply, “nothing.” It shocked me at first but then she explained that while she understood it can be frustrating, what draws people to Zumba in the first place is the fact that no two classes/instructors are EXACTLY the same. She said that trying to convince people our way is the “right” or “better” way defeats our purpose. So her advice to me was simply to teach my class, whether one or 100 people show up. She said, eventually, word will get around that the class at our gym is different and people will come but that trying to undermine or outdo the other instructor is a waste of energy.

On the other hand, she did say that if someone was illegally using the Zumba name and claiming to be an instructor when they’re not licensed that it can - and will - be checked by the Home Office and action will be taken. That was the reason for the Stop Party Crashers site. But, her overall sentiment was to simply do our best for our students and try not to worry so much about what other instructors are or aren’t doing.

On another note, I also read some Curves owners want to change the Zumba in the Circuit with Curves program to suit how clients think it should work, but that it is against the proper rules of the format. As someone who lost a teaching job because I wouldn’t do it the way the owner wanted, I just want to say we should never compromise how we were taught to run our classes for two reasons – safety and efficiency. Obviously, a lot of time and research went into the format and experts with a lot more letters after their names than me figured out what worked and what didn’t so I don’t feel the need to change it. I know it can be hard to stand your ground, especially with money on the line, but think if someone ended up with an injury because you took out a warmup or a cool down because an owner wanted you to.

Until next time, Zumba love to all!


  1. I'm still not happy with the way Zumba investigates. It took 3 years and finally just this month august they certified a teacher at one gym I reported for 3 years! ZUMBA took no legal action against them when they had tons of proof! I think that place should have been banded from having anyone whom already worked there get certified!

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