Zumba Convention 2013 {Day 2} – Brazilian Carnival & Hip Hop

The vibrant colors of pink, red, green, and purple pop against the long trail of white. Neons and other bright colors bounce step by step as thousands of Zumba instructors pass between the Hilton and Peabody hotels in Orlando, FL. As if the rainbow of fun workout gear isn’t enough, the air is practically electrified with the positive energy emanating from the cheerful group. This is the scene for four days straight every year at Zumba Convention. A covered pathway (that I’ve nicknamed the “white mile” because of the white floor, safety rails, columns, and cover….and because it’s almost a mile in distance) stretches between the three main buildings for the ZCon events: the two aforementioned hotels and the Convention Center, which sits conveniently in between both. The walk isn’t short, but in the Florida heat and with the daily Florida rain storms, I’m thankful for the covered path to get from one event to another so you get some relief from the heat and protection from the rain.


This year, ZCon added inspiring quotes related to the conferences theme, “Dreams”, throughout the white mile. Pictured above is one of my favorite quote snippets: “Explore. Dream. Discover.” by Mark Twain.

Here’s the full quote that I love so much:

“Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

― Mark Twain

As a big fan of quotes, I loved seeing the positive messages as I walked from one session to another.


{Sea of neon, slashed tops, mesh clothing, crazy patterns – Zumba lovers from all around the world!}


My first session of Day 2 of my 2013 Zumba Convention experience was a repeat from last year – Brazilian Carnival.


These ladies really helped me get my samba down last time, and this year, I wanted to re-learn how they broke it down (to help teach my participants) and pay better attention to the other Brazilian dance styles they review. I really wanted to learn some new moves to add some more diverse International rhythms to my Zumba classes. Plus, I’d love to have more samba songs in addition to more of the other styles on my playlist.

We learned a few moves of four different styles of Brazilian dance before doing a master class using the moves we had just broken down. The class was super high energy and a total blast!


Almost every session ends with cameras – those taking photos of the playlist, contact info, or notes…


…and cameras to get a quick photo with the session presenters. Here I am with the beautiful presenters of Brazilian Carnival.


The ladies of the Brazilian Carnival gave each of us a gift this year – a small ribbon they brought from Brazil. I didn’t 100% hear what they said about the ribbon, but I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to tie it around your wrist, and they say when the ribbon falls off, your dreams will come true. Update: Actually, a quick google search found more info – the ribbon is called a Bahia Band! Click here for the history of these Bahia Bands.


After the morning session, I headed back to the hotel for a quick lunch and then back to the Peabody for my afternoon session.


I did Hip Hop: The Zumba Remix – another repeat from last year.

Those of you who know me well may know that I’m a big fan of hip hop…more so the music than the dancing. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be a great hip hop dancer, but it’s much easier to enjoy the music – that doesn’t require practice. I’ve been on the lookout for an adult hip hop class that fits with my schedule for the last couple years, but I haven’t found anything…yet.

I really could use lessons. Of all the sessions, Hip Hop may strike the most fear in me. I’m not the fastest at learning choreo, and learning fast-changing moves eight-count after eight-count does not come naturally to me. I much prefer the repetitive moves in the traditional Zumba song format (the same move for the verse, chorus, etc.). Luckily, the Zumba Conference provides an environment that is naturally low (or even no?) judgement. It’s not a competition. We’re all there to learn and enjoy the sessions and the presenters’ various styles, lessons, and techniques.

Speaking of ZESes, one of my favorites, George Iu (who usually co-teaches the Hip Hop session) almost didn’t make it to convention. It was so tight, they actually had to find a replacement for him – Eric Aglia. George got to present a couple songs, but he had to pass his hip hop torch to Eric. Though I missed seeing more of George, they found a great co-teacher for the class. I thought Eric did a great job stepping up into the big shoes he had to fill. Michael was his usual, fabulous self. He even did one whole song in heels! I don’t know how he did that – there’s no way I could dance in heels like that!

In this session, we learned some basic moves for a three different hip hop styles: Old Skool, Girlie, and Music Video. And then we did a master class with a warm-up, simple choreo (Zumba format songs) and then more choreographed songs. Not gonna lie, I didn’t get all the steps down, but I did have fun trying!


I waited in the long photo line to get a picture with all three of presenters.


{Michael, George, me, Eric}


After the sessions were done for the day, Sarah and I hit up the Zumba shop. I hadn’t planned to buy any new Zumba wear, but I found some cute stuff and bought some anyways. Who’s not surprised?

I pretty much reserve most, if not all, of my Zumbawear shopping to ZCon because it’s the only time you can try things on before you buy them and see the materials, etc. in person. Plus, you guys know I like putting outfits together. Besides new choreo ideas, I love bringing back new clothes from convention! I remember before I was a Zumba instructor how I loved seeing the new workout wear the instructors would sport in class during the weeks after ZCon. Now, that’s me!


After shopping, we headed back to the room to get ready for a dinner out! More on our eating adventure next time!

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