I love my Zumba class and instructors. Somehow I doubt they are fantasizing about group dynamics and having epiphanies about related complex adaptive systems while dancing like I tend too, but that’s ok! Zumba® exercise classes are ” fitness-parties ” that blend upbeat world rhythms with easy-to-follow choreography, for a total-body workout that feels like a celebration. I typically go to a class 3-5 times a week at Jubilation Studio in Portsmouth, NH where the popular Interruption Awareness youtube was filmed! Here’s a quick glimpse video! (I’m secretly jealous I couldn’t participate in this video because of a work-related ligament injury-patient falling and me trying to minimize his injury- but very grateful to my physical therapist, Pamela Neff Montembeau, DPT of Health Matters PT, for helping me get back on the dance floor! I will be forever grateful)
What Is So Fascinating and What Can Zumba Teach Us about Complex Adaptive Systems?
- Many people with varied ages, abilities, heights, weights, and skill come together and for an hour are together dancing. We’re connected through the music and rhythm and a commitment to follow the leader. We dance together in a very cooperative and joyful way that transcends politics, religion, money, and all the other variable mentioned. Some of us know each other and many don’t. Some have lots of experience and some have little. Some have a great sense of rhythm while it seems mysterious to others. Some jump high while others don’t jump at all. But still we are all dancing the dance and dancing the dance together.
- Like complex adaptive systems, there is a simple vision and a few simple rules. The vision is the dance itself with choreography by the instructor and the rules are basically to know a few simple steps and to go in the same direction as everyone else! Like a flock of birds heading south in a fluid motion responding to the environment and each other. We are individuals and we are a group!
- I generally stand in the back with dancers who may be newer to Zumba, or older in age, or more limited in physical capacity. It is fascinating to watch how a new move is translated from the instructor and quickly picked up by those who are familiar with the moves, and how it quickly catches on throughout the group while individuals modify to their own preferences and abilities. Again, like complex adaptive systems there is leadership and followership going on all the time. (When we are all facing the back just for a few beats, the back takes on a leadership role. This is fun and challenging for the back section, but we do our best and take it in stride!)
Do you dance or do something like Zumba? Do you have related thoughts? If you are ever in the Portsmouth, NH areaand want to Zumba, check out Jubilation Studio and join us for some fun fabulous dancing and maybe some exciting philosophical insights!