I have discussed Jam sessions previously and why you should go to them in my post here. But, as a quick reminder, a ZIN Jam session is a 3-hour workshop where ZIN members can learn 4-5 songs from a licensed Zumba Jammer “ZJ” that you can teach the next day in your class.
A ZJ as described by Zumba is:
“A Zumba Jammer is a ZIN Member who specializes in Zumba choreography and has been officially selected and licensed by Zumba Fitness, LLC (Home Office) to host ZIN Jam sessions. Only licensed Zumba Jammers may lead a ZIN Jam session.”
Now let me introduce the next Jammer in the series “Interview with A Jammer”, Annalisa Brown.
When I first met Annalisa, I remember thinking she was sweet, kind and smiley. Her constant smile brought one to my face, even though I didn’t know what I should be smiling about.
She radiated this positive energy and still does. If you follow her on social media, you know what I’m talking about.
She does everything to keep people motivated while keeping it real.
I have not had the pleasure of jamming with her, but I look forward to the chance to dance with her soon. When I’ve seen her dance at past events, she is amazing. This girl has got some fierce style!
I got the chance to get to know her a bit better and am happy to share with you guys.
- Basic Facts – name, location, type of Jammer (i.e. choreo, salsa, etc.), where you jam, how long you’ve been an instructor, how long you’ve been a jammer, “day job” or other work you do besides Zumba
Zumba Jammer Annalisa: My name is Annalisa Brown and I currently live in beautiful Sacramento in Northern Cali!
I am a cumbia rhythm specific jammer but I love a good high energy fusion.
I jam anywhere and everywhere because I love to travel and meet new friends, creating new memories.
I have been teaching Zumba since 2012 and have been a jammer since 2014.
Fitness is my life and therefore I infused myself into the world of teaching 2 years ago, after working on the GeekSquad at Best Buy for 4 years as a manager; it was time to find my passion! I teach cycle, aqua, Pop Pilates and STRONG by Zumba currently but hope to add yoga in there somewhere soon.
- SeasonofFitness: Why did you decide to become a Zumba instructor?
ZJ Annalisa: It was 2012 when I took the training but my real journey started when I became ill in the hospital in 2013.
I had been in and out of the hospital 4 times because of errors in the medical procedure and I developed something called acquired dyslexia along with altered cognitive function in the brain.
I was bed ridden for 6 months but after beginning to teach again and realizing that my cognitive function was building again; I knew Zumba was exactly where it needed to be in my journey.
I truly don’t know where I would be without Zumba. It brought life back to me when I thought it would never be the same again.
My journey isn’t like the rest but I believe in success, I believe in allowing yourself to find a way to overcome and find your own personal success story.
That’s what I want. I want everyone to feel successful, feel free to be exactly who they are and love every minute of this journey we call life!
- SOF: Who and/or what inspired or helped you become a Zumba Jammer (ZJ)?
ZJ Annalisa: My first instructor, Chelsea from Chico. She showed me I was successful just the way I was. Dancing for many years in and out of competitions I learned quickly that I was never good enough so Zumba to me finally allowed me to feel successful, actually Chelsea helped me find it.
- SOF: Describe a jam session in only 3 words.
ZJ Annalisa: Community, learning good vibes! Oops that was 4.
- SOF: What was your favorite song to choreograph/teach and why?
ZJ Annalisa: It’s hard to say because as I grow as a ZIN member myself, I evolve and I fall in love with other rhythms ALL THE TIME! I mean if the music is good, you dance right?! At this very moment I love a good reggaeton, soca or belly dance fusion!
- SOF: Where do you find your songs that are not from ZIN?
ZJ Annalisa: Spotify is my best friend for every single class! There is always something new to discover and I love how interactive it has become over the years.
- SOF: What is your ‘go to’ dance move?
ZJ Annalisa: Probably a good body roll, booty shake or pump! I feel like that move can fit in almost every mood or song.
- SOF: What’s your favorite rhythm to dance to and why?
ZJ Annalisa: Cumbia, soca, salsa and reggaeton! Energy tells the story for me though, so, if you bring me anything with good vibes and passion, I AM SOLD!
- SOF: What rhythm is the most challenging for you and why?
ZJ Annalisa: TANGO! Probably because I’m super hyper and like to jump around! Lol! Maybe this will be my challenge and New Year’s resolution?!
- SOF: What’s your biggest pet peeve as an instructor?
ZJ Annalisa: I have to say the one thing that bothers me is when students don’t give somebody a chance, not just me, but when they walk in and realize it’s not their instructor and just leave! It breaks my heart! Also, when there are tons of water breaks! LET’S PARTY AND KEEP IT MOVING
- SOF: What other formats do you teach (Zumba and non-Zumba)?
ZJ Annalisa: Cycle, Aqua Zumba, STRONG by Zumba, Pilates, boot camp! I love to cross train and connect with as many people as possible; so, the more I can teach the more people I can help be successful!
- SOF: Do you have any embarrassing/funny ZJ moments?
ZJ Annalisa: Ohhh there are PLENTY! Probably the most embarrassing is when my pants ripped in a jam session! Yes! I was recording as well but nobody really knew because THANK YOU GOD for the flannel popularity!! I also fell off a stage once and broke a light LOL! Ohhh the memories!
- SOF: What are your hobbies outside of Zumba?
ZJ Annalisa: I LOVE the outdoors in the summer. There is nothing like a day at the beach, theme park or even a nice hike! Reading is my biggest hobby year around along with working out!
- SOF: What inspires you to stay a ZJ?
ZJ Annalisa: The people, the energy and the love that I see in the eyes of instructors that want to learn. Jam sessions truly create a community and that’s so important J
- SOF: What advice do you have for participants to get the most out of your sessions?
ZJ Annalisa: Ultimately you will get out of the jam what you put into it (I know I sound like your college professor) but hear me out for a second.
Take notes, listen and be inspired by those around you and when that moment comes where you have choreography to a song….. LEARN IT ANYWAYS! Muscle memory is a beautiful thing and you can add it to that amazing tool box you have for that song you’ve been looking for that missing link too!
Also, record ASAP after the jam session so you can remember! This was one of the best tricks I learned when I was a jam junkie, well… let me honest I still am and still do this when I go visit the ZJ family! LOL!
If you get chance to dance with her, definitely do! Check out her website for info here.
Thank you so much, Annalisa, for taking the time to let us know a bit more about you! I can’t wait to dance with you!