Monday, December 31, 2012

School fundraiser in La Manzanilla, Mexico

A Zumba fundraiser in the Ejido office with June Nery
On Thursday a gaggle of women got together for an hour and a half Zumba with June Nery and myself (as a guest instructor) to raise money for school supplies for the local elementary school in La Manzanilla, Mexico, about three hours south of Puerto Vallarta. June says they need everything --- not just pens and notebooks but tissues and toilet paper. Everything.

People were generous plus worked it out on the day after Christmas.

June holds weekly classes in the Ejido office in La Manzanilla, a little ex-pat community in a small fishing village in Tenacatita Bay, in the state of Jalisco. The Ejido office is like the community building in the states. Concrete floors, ceiling fans, one bathroom. Sufficient.

June Nery leads weekly classes in La Manz
June is a former dance teacher from the U.S. and it shows up in her form. Perfect. And she can always face the class, turn away, then turn back, which is one of my dyslexic challenges. Working out with her reminds me to get my arms up higher, my movements large and identifiable. Always good reminders.

The greatest morning challenge at that location is the smell of pork carnitas being cooked in the big metal basin in the street, with the carnitas fumes wafting in toward the end of the class. Could be a good thing for some. Probably not much of a good thing for a vegetarian. But interesting.

June raised another $1,000 pesos for school supplies, about $76 U.S. dollars. That can go a long way down here.

Off the beach for a fundraiser in La Manzanilla

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A month of Beach Zumba

The early morning Zumba class in Nuevo Vallarta is growing!
It's been a month since I dragged my PylePro PA system down to the beach in Mexico and started an impromptu Zumba class. And what a fiesta this past month has been.

It's so different than teaching Zumba in the states. It's kind of a pulsing, changing crowd, like the waves we're watching. I might start out with 20 people when the class begins at 8 and by 8:30 it could be up to 30 or more. And back to about 25 as we're stretching.

I'm out in front on the hardpack sand where there is a corridor of walkers and runners between me and the waves, who also getting their morning exercise. Everyone reacts differently to the class --- but there's definitely no sneaking by. A few avert their eyes, hoping not to make eye contact. But the majority are dancing their way by us, or a quick thumbs up, often even dropping in for a routine or two. And then they are back the following class for the whole 60 minutes.

I find I have to really focus on the music and the routines rather than what's going on out in front of me or I lose it. Last week I spotted some baby tortugas trying to swim out through the surf. On Friday a friend's husband was paddleboarding in front of us and between routines we stopped to yell a hearty "Hola, Jay!"

I have a small cadre of regulars, mostly Mexican women, who live year round in the nearby condos. And they are the ones who really bring the fiesta to the class. The rest of the crowd is here for a couple of days on vacation, maybe up to two weeks, delighted to find a Zumba class on the beach. Sometimes I have a handful of men participating. Sometimes none.

What it means, as a teacher, is that I have to continue to keep the routines simple but fun, and assume that there will always be a majority of newcomers.

But the bigger challenge has been coping with the tides. We haven't had many low tides in the early morning and the softer sand is a challenge. But what a workout. Wow! My homework for tonight is to put the tide chart into my calendar. That's a first in my teaching career. But I can live with it. It's a blast to be teaching in such an incredible setting.

All my Zumba friends and instructors, come join us if you're on vacation in the Puerto Vallarta area. We're in Nuevo Vallarta and hopefully will be out there through March on Monday/Wednesdays/Fridays at 8 a.m. I'd love to have some guest instructors stop on by and lead a routine or two.

For those of you in the La Manzanilla, Barre de Navidad/Melaque area over Christmas, I'll be in La Manzanilla on Thursday morning (Dec. 27) for a Zumba fundraiser for school supplies for the local school, with June Nery. C'mon over to the Ejido office in La Manzanilla at 9 and join the hour and a half long party and help the school children!