I discovered at the last minute that Pakko was on vacation in Hawaii and had canceled his Zumba classes this week in Sacramento and that my Zumba buddies were all headed to Pepper Von's class instead.
Woo Hoo! Pepper Von and my Zumba buddies? Perfect.
Pepper is a fitness legend around Sacramento, and now in Zumba nationally. Last week (while I was in Tonga) he was teaching a Zumba class to my instructor colleagues in New York --- something I was disappointed that I had to miss. I already knew I liked Pepper's style, choreo's and enthusiasm from one class I had tried last year before we moved from Sacramento. So it would have been a great opportunity to meet my new New York Zumba Zin buddies and do another class with him. I definitely need a clone so I can be all the places I want to be at the same time.
We had an energetic, non-stop, fun (no other way to describe) hour. Hard to beat, hard to describe.
For one thing, he's got two drummers (pictured above) to accompany the music and one roams the class and keeps you on the beat, occasionally joins in the dance, keeps the energy really high.
The play list and one-hour class is literally non-stop --- no stopping to change the music or get a drink. Just go for it!
Pepper's got the most amazing classroom management I've ever seen --- in any class. Not just exercise or Zumba. And that's coming from a teacher.... Despite having 50 to 60 people in the room, if he sees you doing an exercise incorrectly, chewing gum, too close to a wall, he's got laser eye contact, still smiling, but somehow gets the right gesture and you know exactly what you're supposed to do/correct/change.
And he's smiling. Everyone is smiling. No question you're there to have fun. And everyone does.
What I really watch for as a new student in anyone's class is how difficult it is to follow the instructor for a first class. And he's so easy to follow. So I started concentrating on how the heck he does that. It's through understandable, consistent gestures. It's clear when to stop one part of the choreo, move on to another. The choreo's are simple but not too repetitive to be boring. He introduces the new step a second before the next part start if it's remotely confusing. He includes the Latin dances but also has a fair amount of Hip Hop and African beat music. It really works.
Bottom line, he's great. Which is why he is now a sought after Zumba Education Specialist. Check his bio here and see what he's already accomplished.
He's teaching a Sentao class tomorrow afternoon (Thursdays) and a Toning class on Tuesday. I'll check one of these out before heading back to New York next week. If you haven't tried a class with him, head down to his Step 1 Studio pronto!