這次，OUTSM 要來介紹一位來自美國，在台灣居住十餘年，然後在這三、四年，開始她 Zumba 教學人生的 Kathleen 老師。
這次老師不教課，而是改用文筆，一字一句寫出對於 Zumba 本身的愛好，而且重新定義跳舞本身的意涵。老師希望以輕鬆愉悅的方式，讓平常不論是喜歡跳舞，或者是恐懼跳舞的人，都能夠在她的課堂上放下包袱，一起沈浸在節拍的律動中。
與其說這篇是老師的教學感想，不如說這是老師從這幾年 Zumba 教學中得到的啟示以及希望給學生的回饋。
2013 – present
Licensed Zumba® Instructor, Taipei, TW
True Fitness, True Dance, Xindian High School Sports Center, Taipei International Women’s Club, American Institute in Taiwan
Private classes including 小S’s personal Zumba ® instructor
小S 私人 Zumba教練
Over the past few years, I’ve had the rewarding and challenging experience of turning my hobby, dance, into my full-time job. I’m still getting used to saying, “I’m a Zumba instructor” when asked what I’m doing in Taiwan. More than anything, I’ve been struck by how people respond to this by sharing their own feelings about dance. There are enthusiastic reactions where I hear about someone’s love for getting down, her childhood dance classes, or his go-to moves. On the flipside, though, just as often and without skipping a beat, tons of people jump to tell me, “I have two left feet!” or “I only dance after I’ve had one too many drinks at the bar,” almost like it’s a preemptive disclaimer in case I was about to try to drag them to one of my classes. Not my intention, I swear.
All of the responses I receive have given me certain overall impressions: tons of people secretly or not so secretly like and want to dance, tons of people think they can’t dance, and tons of people are scared to dance (except maybe alone in their apartments). Whether positive or negative, dancing seems to give people a real case of the feels.
Dancing in a group can be intimidating to people who fear they can’t find that ever-elusive beat, or maybe it seems like their ears were just about to catch it, but the rest of the body is refusing to cooperate. It’s that self-doubt that creeps in when you think you alone are missing something painfully obvious, like being in a room where everyone is laughing at a joke in a language you can’t understand (something I have plenty of experience with). Wait, am I sure the joke isn’t on me?
To me, the beauty of a Zumba class is that it gives people a safe, non-judgmental space to enjoy music. It’s my job as an instructor to show them, “Hey, here is the beat… and here…. and here again. You might want to move to it like this!” Without words, I use visual cues to make suggestions about how you can appreciate the music using your body. People watch the instructor, try to challenge their minds and bodies to follow along, and are so busy breaking a crazy sweat that they rarely have time to notice or worry about what anyone else in the class is doing. There are going to be times when you feel like you really have a move down and times when you can’t remember which way is left or right. That’s what keeps it from getting boring. That’s what keeps people coming back class after class.
Without a doubt, there is something very satisfying about dancing to the beat of the music in unison with others. At times we clap and shout together at the exact same second, and in that instant it feels like we created something louder, bigger, and more vibrant than we could ever have created on our own. Still, one of my favorite moments as an instructor is seeing when students feel free enough to dance to their own beats, when people forget whatever “rules” they think exist, and stop paying attention to everyone else, myself included.
Zumba is about community and connecting with others, but it’s also about connecting to yourself. It is not about perfection. It is not about being the same as everyone else. It’s about getting so caught up in the fun that you can really let go, forget your self-doubt, and add your unfiltered and unique flavor to the dance. For myself and many other people in the Zumba family, it’s a lesson that can be taken out of the dance studio and into everyday life: to have equal appreciation for both moments of being in harmony with others, and those moments where you just have to take that solo like only you can do.
過去這幾年來，由於把對舞蹈的興趣轉變為全職工作，我經歷了一段既充實又富有挑戰性的時光。當別人問起我在台灣忙些什麼時，我仍在習慣回答「我是教 Zumba 的老師」。但令我訝異的是，許多人會跟我分享起他們自身對於學舞的感受。在眾多的回應中，有些人毫不掩飾地表達對於跳舞的愛，有人則分享兒時跳舞課的點滴或他們的招牌舞步。儘管如此，我最常遇到的情況卻是「我舞跳得超爛」或「我只有在酒吧喝太多了之後才跳舞！」之類的回應，不禁讓我感覺他們意圖先亮出擋箭牌，以免稍後被我熱情「邀請」參加跳舞課。我發誓這絕對不是我的初衷。
對我來說，Zumba 課的優點在於它提供一個令人感到安心、沒有批判的空間，並將重點放在享受音樂本身。身為老師，我的工作就是示範「嘿，這邊有一拍…再來是這…這裡跟剛才一樣。試著這樣動動身體吧！」比起口頭指導，我更喜歡運用視覺提示來引導學生透過肢體感受音樂。學生一面看著老師示範，一面挑戰自己身心的極限，嘗試跟上節奏。在這樣揮汗如雨的活動中，基本上也不會有時間注意其他人的一舉一動。有時，你不免注意到自己會跟不上某個動作，而有時則記錯左或右，這正是 Zumba 永遠不無聊的原因，也是學生願意繼續一堂堂上下去的理由。
Zumba 的核心精神除了是與他人建立連結與群體感，更是自我探尋的過程。重點並不在於追求完美或是仿效他人，而是如何放手享受其中的樂趣，拋開自我懷疑的心，並將最純粹與獨特的個人風格融入舞步中。對於我和其他 Zumba 家族成員來說，這是個一路從舞蹈教室延伸至日常生活中的課題：有些時刻我們需要與他人產生連結，有些時刻則是留給自己慢慢品嘗，但不論是「共舞」或「獨舞」，我們都應該試著去發掘其中的美。
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想要跟 Kathleen 老師一起跳 Zumba嗎？ 快點進來老師的粉絲頁 Kathleen Batchelor Zumba Instructor來看看最新的課程資訊，或者在 Instagram 搜尋 @kathtpe