April 26, 2012
Australia will be one of the first nations to develop a ‘Zumba Instructor Network Community Council’ when elections in coming weeks determine the first five representatives.
The instructor network initiative launched last month will aim to resolve disputes and improve communication among Zumba aficionados.
Lack of fitness and first aid qualification as well as competition between 4000 Australian instructors are among the first issues on the council’s agenda.
Perth Zumba Instructor Victoria Jane Sutherland said it was concerning that instructors were now outnumbering available jobs.
“Certainly with the increasing numbers of instructors due to training being only a one day course, making ends meet is becoming harder,” Ms Sutherland said.
“The class sizes aren’t as large in some areas than when it first started, leading to some instructors becoming extremely competitive and even vindictive.”
Social networking sites report ruthless actions taking place in an attempt to jeopardise competitors’ classes.
The vision of Zumba’s Columbian creator, Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez, was to make Zumba available to anyone who wanted to learn or teach – with no prerequisites required.
Starting out as an aerobics teacher in his hometown gym with no formal fitness training, Mr Perez turned his passion for dance into a global brand.
The mix between Latin-style dance and aerobics has attracted 12 million people in 125 countries to ‘join the fitness party’.
New instructors have to attend a one-day course to obtain a licence, where it is only ‘recommended’ instructors get their certification in the fitness industry.
Ms Sutherland said she was concerned about the quality of some instructors and the safety of participants.
“I am worried about the number of instructors without CPR or first aid qualifications and that some instructors are performing dangerous moves leading to many participants suffering injuries,” she said.
“Unfortunately this is placing a negative impression on Zumba instructors as a whole.”
Ms Sutherland said Zumba had to have some form of quality assessment to assure participants their instructor had sufficient knowledge about the human body.
Zumba Australia education specialist Enrique Salomao said Zumba was available across 80 per cent of the planet, making it important to develop a council.
“An issue concerning instructors is the lack of a monitoring system on who gets trained in Zumba,” he said.
A level three certificate in the fitness industry allows a person to work as a group fitness gym instructor and takes up to a year to complete.
“Those who do not have a certification have the option to open a small business or hire a hall,” Mr Salomao said.
Ms Sutherland said the ‘honeymoon period’ for Zumba was now over and that only people who love dance and fitness were now attending classes.
“Private classes sometimes allow participants to avoid commitment to attend, unlike gym goers who pay a membership and need to justify their costs,” she said.
Photos: Martine Hotz