The Merengue Soul

The site operates funny eh’ and deletes songs without notice or they just become unavailable. Anyway, I updated our playlist – Check it out – Beware of involuntary shoulder shimmies


I have a dilemma. I’m shy when presenting myself to a group of people. I require mental preparation and I get butterflies in my stomach. During a Zumba workout session with Liz at Goodlife, we all had to go in a circle and go in the middle and do our own thing. Because I’m not shy during the workout I guess she automatically assumed I wouldn’t be for this. Wrong…. She looked at me and said “Just Do” and tried to nudge me…I shook my head like a 6 year old child and gave that shy smile. But the thing was I wanted to go in there, but I didn’t know what move I was going to do. I eventually drudged up the courage and went in the middle and did a travelling samba step that I just learnt to do a day ago. It was so weird, because while I was out there, I could swear that 30% of my body felt numb with nervousness. Why the heck do I feel like that. But…

When I’m taking part in a Zumba workout class I feel I’m at the top of the world. I always make sure I get a spot at the front close to the mirror so I make sure I’m doing the right moves. As the positive endorphins flow through my veins, I actually smile and laugh during my workout. Not something I normally do as I’m sweating like a pig! I have to work on fixing the nervousness issue before August 12Th 2010. I was actually surprised to see that some instructors sweat like pigs too, like Cassandra, and Claudia. They don’t let it phase them though and they just keep like going like energizer Latin bunnies.

Some instructors have a great sense of humor like Jewel, Liz & Cassandra R. Sometimes it’s just enough to feed off the energy of the instructors because Liz H’s energy is all you can eat! She has tons of it! It’s so great when she gets out the hip scarf in the belly dancing part of the workout. Every body loves the music whether they can shimmy or not. They just want to shake it! Every time I listen to an Arabic song, I imagine the moves that I would instruct my class to do and at the same time not make them too complicated. Maybe I can have levels, that way the more advanced participants can enjoy it more. I would love to be able to provide hip scarves for everyone in my class because I found a great wholesale source for that. Hopefully I’ll be able to order a bunch soon. I love moves like:

  • Travelling Hip shimmy
  • Leg kick hip shimmy
  • Shoulder shimmies with back dip
  • Leaning dip hip shimmy
  • Hip Figure 8’s
  • Camel walk with scarf

When you’re doing these moves, breathe out twice per second so you don’t get cramps in your side from lack of oxygen. Don’t forget to drink lots of water during your zumba cardio workout.

I have lots of Arabic songs on my ipod so I won’t have to use the same songs every time and also what’s a must is keeping it SEXY!~

The Zumba Soul website contains awesome resources on how to belly dance and how to do other latin moves that you can take with you to your next zumba session.

What inspired me?

I wasn’t too fond of cha cha cha but now I have now changed my mind. Why? I was at a Goodlife Fitness Centre in Mississauga and I noticed a woman at the front of the class for how much rhythm she had in all her steps. I said to myself “She’s probably Latin …that’s why”. All of her moves had a latin flavor – the way she swayed her arms, the way she shifted her rib cage area above her waist and how she made slight pauses in between her moves. As I did my workout that day I studied what she was doing and 2 classes later after that information sunk in I had developed an awesome sexy Cha Cha Cha. – Since then…I like to do this dance in the zumba cardio classes. Kudos to her because watching her helped me to improve a basic 1 2 step so that it has a Latin flava as well. I complimented her at the end of the class and she accepted it with a smile:)

Styling in 1 2 step:

A 1 2 step is where you alternate your feet by taking 2 steps forward and 2 steps back (i.e. right leg forward, left leg forward, right leg backward, left leg backward) – and you do this over an over again to the beat. Some mix it up by adding arm movements, a hop, a cha cha cha and go back to the same 1 2 step.

So! If you want this step to look for Latin while you’re doing it, take the step as though it is a merengue movement by shifting your rib cage and swinging your elbows back as though it were a merengue type step. It’s fun to do

Styling in merengue:

For a more Latin flare, use rib isolation movements side to side as you do this step

Styling for Cha Cha Cha:

Involve rib isolation movements and arm movements in a graceful fashion

Styling for salsa:

On the 3 count use pauses in between each side step or forward or back step, and move your hips in a 1 2 3 fashion (right, left, center) – incorporate shoulder shimmies when you reach 3 count or whenever if you can focus in your foot steps;)

Styling with whining your waist:

This may be one of the hardest ones actually. This requires a lot of rib isolation movements and moving your hips round at the same time – it’s a Latin way of whining – so hott! Suitable dancing to reggaeton music, calypso, and reggae

Styling for belly dancing:

When you’re doing the standard side hip movement with your coin belt on and your arms gracefully in the air and your fingers positioned accordingly – lean back a bit more and bend the leg that you have more of your weight on. Arabic dancers love to do that leaning thing because it’s more sexy and appealing as they flick their hips to that tabla beat;)

Styling for batchata steps:

With out styling, the batchata step will seem as a 1 2 3 step, when it is actually a 1 2 3 4 step. On the count of 4 is where you flick your hip up to the beat before you begin at step 1 again. Your leg steps go to the right left right flick, left right left flick. The more rib isolations you involve as you take your steps the more sexy this step becommes. Do it better and better and it becomes better for your abs and it is tiresome too because it involves balance and isolations and good breathing.

Awesome mp3 such as arabic belly dancing music, salsa, reggaeton, batchata, etc to practice available on my site to listen to

et cetera