“They don’t train their bodies, they train their souls!”*

“They don’t train their bodies, they train their souls!”*

Zumba, vol 2

Zumba perfectly balances oriental dance in my life. While bellydance is full of different emotions, different levels of energy and very much dependent on one’s mood, surroundings etc., Zumba is pre-formatted, crazy, intense and 100% fun.

It had been almost a year since my last Zumba training in Delhi, so I signed up for Zumba Basic 2 in Dubai, taught by Zumba Education Specialist Steve Boedt. The training itself consists of six basic rhythms (belly dance, flamenco, tango, samba, soca and quebradita), plus there is a lot of instructor-centred discussion on topics such passion, burnout and self-confidence.

Now, if you are fluent in any of the above-mentioned dance styles, and have taken a Zumba-class, you know that we are talking of completely different planets there. To be fair, they do not try to claim that what they do is authentic, but inspired. Nevertheless, some of the stuff what gets presented as bellydance in Zumba, made me chuckle (think of tomb-painting arms, for example ;))

What also made me laugh was Steve going round and apologizing multiple times for what the format has done to bellydance! I guess he does it at every training, but being in UAE where bellydance is quite visible, he had to put an extra effort into it. Actually, we even got down to disussing where the term hagallah comes from!

It wasn’t just laughs and (sweaty!) dance sessions though. I love how the Zumba trainings also focus on the instructor – how too much passion can lead to burnout, and how to deal with it; what characteristics are important for an instructor; and how to overcome self-doubts in class. I found the latter topic very interesting – we often address that issue when coaching people to perform, but I haven’t seen much discussion when it comes to teaching classes. The moral that I took from the training was that you should never make up stories in your head. It is always better to get the facts.

And if you ever get the dance to take a Zumba class with Steve, grab the chance. He’ll make you laugh, he’ll make you sweat, and he’ll probably make sure there are parts of you hurting the next day!!!

* Steve’s impression of the first time he saw Zumba. However, I’d say it would also apply for oriental dance! 🙂  

City Break in Dubai

Safran at Dubai Creek

Having fun with the artwork at the Dubai Creek 🙂

City Break in Dubai

Let’s be honest, India can get pretty overwhelming sometimes… And with a dozen flights between Delhi and Dubai each day, it only makes sense to take little breaks in the Emirates!

I love the UAE because it makes both sides of my split personality happy. 😉 The dancer/traveller in me enjoys the Oriental feeling – the Emirates is a true melange of Arabic and Asian cultures, involving everything between Morocco and Vietnam. And at the same time the Northerner/Excel-table side of me is very satisfied with how clean, organised and safe it is there.

Sculpture in Al Bastakiya

From a gallery in Al Bastakiya

During my most recent trip I was a true tourist – I spent most of my time exploring the galleries and cafes at the Bastakiya Heritage Village, had my meals at the restaurants by the Creek, and even went to see the fountain show at the Dubai Mall!

And what would a trip to Dubai be without bellydancers? On my last night there we had a  truly global reunion with Sabriye, Athena, Selina and Kamillah.  And what do bellydancers do for fun? Of course we went to Sewar, a Lebanese restaurant, to enjoy live Arabic music and see a bellydancer perform!!! 😀 It was a beautiful end to my little trip, but I know I won’t stay away from the Emirates for too long! 😉

Safran, Selina, Athena, Sabriye and Kamillah at Sewar

The bellydancers’ reunion: Safran, Selina, Athena, Sabriye and Kamillah at Sewar.