A bit of information about what jam sessions first. A jam session is a 3-hour workshop taught by a Zumba Jammer, where you learn 4-5 new routines to teach in your classes. Zumba Jammers are instructors hand-picked by Zumba Fitness to lead these sessions.
Some instructors think jam sessions are unnecessary because of the amount of choreography that is already readily available; be it from our ZIN volumes, Mega Mix choreography on ZIN Now, or YouTube.
BUT there are more reasons to go to a jam session other than just getting new routines.
#1 – You get to network and meet new instructors from your area.
This is super helpful in case you need help finding subs for your classes or are looking for someone to practice your choreography with. Even if you’re not looking for subs or a dance partner, you meet other instructors who can relate to your teaching experiences. Or you may even find yourself with some new Zumba friends. Persevering through 3 hours of dancing together tends to bring people together. I think one of the best things about Zumba Fitness is that as a company they provide us with opportunities to be a part of such a great community.
#2 – You improve on your cues and progressions.
Jammers incorporate cueing and progressions into the choreography as they teach it to you. That means you don’t have to break down the moves or add cues to the routine later on. They give the songs ready to teach the very next day. This not only makes it easier for you to teach the routine in class but, over time you will improve on cueing your routines and progressing your moves for the students to understand them.
#3 – You learn to pick up new routines quicker.
The process of learning new routines can be challenging. At the beginning picking up new choreography can take some time. You will be able to speed up this process by attending more jam sessions. In my experience, jammers break down choreography in a way that gives you a framework for memorizing new steps in the future. You’ll be able convey the moves clearer in your classes after you jam.
#4 – You will be able to choreograph new routines on your own easier.
I find myself using the combinations and moves from jam sessions in my own routines ALL THE TIME. Jammers are hand-picked by people who work for Zumba Fitness…this means that they have proven that they excel at choreographing new routines. So, usually what they come up with is AWESOME. They give you more options to use in songs that you want to do on your own or even choreography that you want to tweak.
#5 – You feel inspired or re-inspired.
I almost always leave a jam feeling re-inspired about teaching. Getting to dance it out for 3 hours is something we instructors don’t always get to do. We are the teachers; therefore, rarely do we just get to let loose and dance because the students wouldn’t be able to follow that well. Although a jam session is for learning new choreography, you also get to go full out when you want to because you are not leading a class full of students. Other than being able to dance my little heart out, I feel the passion again for teaching because I have been able to learn from someone who is very passionate about what they do. It rubs off on you.
By going to jam sessions, you are bettering yourself as an instructor overall. The improvements you make are then transferred to your classes; you can lead more effective classes for your students so that they feel successful when they leave. If we have students who feel successful, we will have returning students, which means we can keep people dancing their way to a healthier lifestyle.
Now go find a jam session on Zumba.com and have fun!