This month we talked to the fantastic Christopher Vo about – what else? – how he got into teaching Zumba® and how it relates to his experience as a professional dancer and performer.
Chris was hooked to Zumba® after taking his first class and discovering how much ‘fun energy’ was saturated in that one room. To Chris, teaching is just another form of performance in which his objective is to leave participants feeling exhilarated and empowered. His mantra: “When there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set YOURSELF on fire.”
Chris hopes to inspire people to join the party and maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle through Zumba®. Read more about that and other things we discussed with Chris.
Q: How and why did you start taking Zumba® classes?
CVo: Honestly, I had no idea what to expect when I took my first class. I just heard amazing things about it. I decided to venture into Tanya Beardsley’s class based on a recommendation by one of my group fitness managers at Equinox.
I’ll never forget my first-time experience! There was so much fun energy saturated in that room, I was hooked from then on.
Q: Being at such a high level in the dance world, what attracted you to Zumba®?
CVo: What I love about dance is that it transcends all language. It is a primal art form in terms of its ability to communicate and express without words. This is my favorite thing about Zumba®. Having taught classes in Switzerland and France recently, transcendental language of dance rings true more than ever… Add a little international flair when the worlds of dance and fitness meet and you have ZUMBA!!!
Q: How do you adapt to teaching versus performing?
CVo: For me, teaching is very similar to performing. It’s just another form of performance. Dance is about communicating with your body. When I’m teaching Zumba®, there’s a constant dialogue between me and the class. In order to keep that dialogue active and exciting, I feel a responsibility to perform the class in an engaging way… Some will call that teaching. To me, it’s much more than just teaching. ;-)
Q: What are the similarities and differences between your formal dance training and Zumba® if any?
CVo: I have a mantra for both my formal dance training AND Zumba®: “When there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set YOURSELF on fire.” In my formal dance training that mantra serves as a motivation tool to keep me going when times are tough. And believe me, I had some rough times training at The Juilliard School. When I apply this mantra to a Zumba® class setting, it ups the anti in terms of energy level and enthusiasm. It is a step above just a motivation tool, if you will. When I set myself on fire, I find it is extremely contagious. Sooner or later the class is burning up with me… Talk about one HOT party!!!
Q: What is your main objective as a Zumba® instructor?
CVo: My main objective as a Zumba® instructor is to provide, with the best of my ability, an amazing workout experience that upholds the integrity of Zumba® Fitness. This means being 110% prepared to lead safe and exciting classes that leave participants feeling exhilarated and empowered. It is important for me to have my participants feel a sense of accomplishment and leave them yearning for more!!! On a larger scale, I hope to inspire people to join the party and maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle through Zumba®. Zumba® love! :-)