Step Forwards

The Year that was 2020

At the beginning of 2020, I wrote a Business plan for the things I wanted to achieve in the year. The courses I wanted to take, the classes I wanted to open, the events I wanted to run. My Zumba colleagues and I wanted to run a Zumba Masterclass event and we met in January to start the preparations. I also had some charity ideas – raffles, a Zumbathon, a Christmas party – I had started contacting venues and people to be involved.

Hours of revision

What happened this year is both widely documented and very well known. Also not worth dwelling on. I closed my classes in March with the expectation that I would reopen after Easter. I didn’t open again until October, only to close again in November for another month. I reopened in December for 3 weeks and for most of my classes, only managed two of these. I didn’t run a Zumbathon, a Masterclass or a Christmas party.

I started the year working for Energie Fitness in Northampton, which sadly closed in June for good. I did some gym work between July and December for Diana’s Fitness, for Simply Gym Kettering and for Kettering Park Hotel.

I was able to keep a place at Islip Sports Pavilion, however have not been able to return to either of my Olney venues, and am hugely grateful to Olney Youth Club for stepping up and giving me a home. I tried to open two classes in Riseley and still very much hope to make a success of these, once they come out of tier 4.

I took my Level 2 Exercise to Music qualification, and I am nearly finished it having passed all my written work and my anatomy exam, although Covid has meant I have not yet been able to take the practical part of the qualification. I took my Zumba Aqua, Toning, Gold Toning and Indian Rhythms qualifications. I took and passed my Clubbercise qualification. I took many classes with multiple incredible presenters, all through Zoom. I was also able to take part in a 12 hour charity fitness event run through Facebook live, and ran an online presentation and demonstration as part of a wellness event.

In many ways therefore, this year has been successful, despite its multiple shortcomings. However the most important thing that happened for me this year is the amazing Zumba community we built through email, online classes and You Tube. It has been the most incredible and the most emotional thing and I thank every single one of you for helping support this. The rest of this blog is a tribute to some of the wonderful things that happened this year and some of the dozens and dozens of emails and messages I have received, and continue to receive.

Thank you Sarah, I’m sorry that classes have to stop but as you say you’re following the advice given. I assume it’s going to have a negative impact on your livelihood which is a great shame for you and everyone else who is no longer able to work. Let’s all look forward to the day when we’re all safely through this crisis and are back together at Zumba Gold. Take care.

Before I realised it would be a long term solution, I decided to post some routines for people to follow on You Tube. It gave me a project and made sure I kept practicing and learning myself. The response was amazing:

Thank you so much for taking the time to record some routines for us and letting us know how to keep in touch with you.  Being able to do Zumba from home will help me keep me fit and sane (especially since I heard this morning that my tennis sessions have been cancelled too!)  I will have a think know about joining your online class.

Thank you so much Sarah (and Simon) for the vdeo – done it twice now, will try to keep it up. Husband sighs and says that he “supposes he will have to read the paper elsewhere now”! See you when we are let out again! 

I have just finished the Zumba routines on Youtube, they really are brilliant, very professional! A big thank you to you, and Simon for producing them so expertly. I would like to forward a payment to you for all your hard work, I think others may wish to do the same. If I/we contact you individually would you be happy to pass on your bank details – name on account, account number, and sort code so that we can make this happen? Hope you are keeping well, keep dancing! Love Sue, xx

Definitely!!! Me too 🙏

Phyl and I had been having this same discussion, Sarah

I would also like to contribute towards my Zumba fix.    Please could you send me details?

I’m very proud of myself, having done the whole routine every day now! It’s great to have it to look forward to, plus it makes me feel physically and mentally better.  Only trouble is, after all this practice, there’ll be no excuse for getting it wrong in class!! Thanks again for sending it.😄

Having realised that we would not be having a ‘few weeks break’ and then getting back to normal, we moved to Zoom for our dancing.

Thank you to my wonderful ladies who joined me for Zoomba on Friday.  It was very nerve wracking but I think it went well.  I will be doing another free Zoomba class at 10am this Friday.  The link will be open at 9.45am and you are welcome to join and chat with each other before we start dancing.  Simon and I are tweaking a few things so hopefully it will be a slightly smoother class this week. The link will be sent out on Thursday so keep an eye on your emails.  

What happens going forward from there will depend on the Government! After Thursday’s announcement I will have a clearer idea of how long virtual Zumba may be the norm and we will plan accordingly.

Hi Sarah

Thank you for taking today’s live Zumba session.  The sound was perfect after the first couple of songs and I really enjoyed your choice of tracks/dances.

We reopened:

Wow! Well I opened the booking for Zumba Gold last week, and 3 days and over 60 bookings later I am frankly overwhelmed.

Olney is now fully booked for Tuesday.  There are still 3 SPACES available for Islip,  so if you are thinking about it,  why not give it a go?

Simon and I have had a lovely week away, enjoying walks, exploring and lots of nice food,  but I am so excited to get back to live teaching and I cannot wait to see some of you next week.

I hope that you are all well and are staying safe through this incredibly strange time.  I don’t know about you but I feel like it is Christmas already.  I need to keep reminding myself that it is still November!

We closed:

Firstly I would like to thank everyone who came to class this week.  It was so lovely to see you and to say goodbye again, albeit hopefully for just a short time.

I would also like to thank you all for carrying over your pre-paid classes.  Not only did it help my work load but it also gave me the hope that we would be back together again very soon.

We reopened:

I have decided to reopen for the three weeks that we have in the lead up to Christmas,  however I am aware that things are incredibly up in the air at the moment, so with this in mind I would ask that you read the updated Covid statement that I have attached and if you would like to book on please do so as soon as possible so I can get an idea of whether you would like live classes.  I won’t be offended if you chose not to 😊

We closed

I honestly cannot put in to words how sad I am to announce that I will be closing all my classes outside of Northamptonshire, with immediate effect.  I was really hoping that we were all going to get through to Christmas together, but sadly it was not meant to be.

I don’t know what 2021 is going to bring. I am going to make a plan, and this plan is going to include training, events and charity plans. I don’t know if I am going to be able to do everything, but I am going to try. If I can take anything away from this year is that you wonderful ladies have kept me going and made me feel that I have a purpose so thank you.

After my emotional outburst for the joy of Zumba, this morning, I do want to say very sincerely that your classes do bring fun and enjoyment to our lives.  The pleasure of dance and movement to great music is such a pick up in these very tricky times.  With the vaccine on the horizon I feel we can now celebrate these feelings with so much more optimism, so huge thanks for all the work you put into the routines for us as they are truly appreciated!!

2 thoughts on “The Year that was 2020”

  1. Another lovely blog. Seeing the last year in black and white from your point of view, makes me really stop and realise what a total rollercoaster we have been on – and continue to be on. Yet it also makes me appreciate the resilience of human beings who are determined not to lie down and take it, but to strive to find a way to carry on. Carry on we have – and will continue to do so. When we are told we cannot Zumba in one format, we will look for another format – so thank you, Sarah, for not giving up and for continuing to provide much needed exercise and fun to your band of Zimba ladies. xx

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *