Whut?
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What kind of dancing is this?
A. It's loosely Zumba® Fitness, with perhaps a little more chart and cheese. I face the participants, I cue the moves a little early and you mirror me in predictable patterns. It's fine to get it 'wrong', we just have a laugh and get sweaty. It's interval training and the cardio gets intense, but I can show you how to dial it down if your fitness isn't great.
Q. Will I be able to do it?
A. Probably! Here's the acid test: watch some of my old videos and try to dance along.

How did you do? The people on film had done each routine a few times and it gets easier with repetition. But if you're still picking up broken household goods, then it's probably not for you.
Q. Am I too old or out of shape to do it? Can I do it seated, for example in a wheelchair?
A. Classes attract a broad spectrum of ages, abilities and fitness levels. Check with your doctor that there's no medical reason why you can't do medium to high-impact cardio exercise and then give it a try.

Most routines involve steps that you can modify to go at a higher or lower pace, or to suit your mobility. That means you can build up your work-rate as you get used to the choreography over the weeks, or keep the moves small and low-impact if it suits you.

Most of the moves have both upper and lower body movement, so it's possible to join in while seated. There are some movements that focus on isolated parts of the body that some people may not be able to achieve, but these only last for a few bars of music and you're encouraged to freestyle or modify these to any safe movement that you prefer. We can talk more about this before your first class, please come early for a chat!
Q. Is the room accessible by wheelchair?
A. There's a small raised grate in the outer doorway to get over and then lifts up to the dance studio (checking in at reception on your way for fire register purposes).
Q. Is there a beginner's class?
A. All classes are aimed at every level. If you've checked out the videos and aren't TOO alarmed, then you're ready to come along to any classes.
Q. Can I just turn up?
A. To be sure of a space, reserve a spot. This class is at a weird time so I'm not expecting it to get busy, but I'll limit numbers if it starts filling up.
Q. Does the class involve floor-work?
A. No. Not even a little, not ever.
Q. Are there mirrors in class?
A. The studio has one side mirrored. My plan based on common past feedback is to face the class away from them. If it's a very small class I might ask if everyone prefers to face them, but we'll only do that if there's a strong yes from everyone there. Note: there are occasional moves that face all four sides of the room. You're welcome to ditch the turns if you wish to avoid mirrors altogether.
Q. What's the deal with parking?
A. There is a little on-street parking outside the Centre, and nearby car parks include: NCP on New York Street; NCP on The Headrow; West Yorkshire Playhouse Car park; Quarry Hill Car park and George Street Car park (near the Open Market). Parkopedia has some prices along with a map of some suggested parking options.
Q. Is there somewhere to get changed?
A. Yes, there are binary gendered toilets/showers and a non-gendered accessible toilet.
Q. Is this class effective for losing weight?
A. This is a medium-to-high level cardio class, but we operate as a fat positive space and there's a policy not to discuss bodies and weight.

There are loads of resources available in the wider world focused on losing weight and you're welcome to come to the class as part of that kind of regime, but please don't assume we're all there for that reason and please don't expect us to endorse the notion that weight loss has any moral value! Some of us are working hard enough already trying to accept our bodies just as they are.
Q. I'm pregnant / I've just had a baby. Can I take a class?
A. Maybe, but you must get your doctor's OK before you do.

Some people can exercise as usual during or straight after pregnancy, but it entirely depends on your previous form and your particular medical circumstances.
Q. Am I too young to come to a class?
A. For insurance reasons, you must be at least 12 and accompanied by an adult to come to a dance class with Helen. You can leave the guardian out of it once you reach 16.
Q. Will you release a DVD?
A. No, I don't own the rights to the music or the Zumba® format. You can check out my old YouTube channel to practice some routines at home.
Q. What do I wear and bring to a class?
A. You'll find some recommendations here.
Q. Where do you get your shoes?
A. Any trainers or plimsoles with smooth, worn soles are OK. For regulars, split-sole dance trainers are the real deal and they're usually pretty reasonable on eBay.

Check the sizing carefully, they're usually much smaller US shoe sizes.
Q. Where do you get your amazing/ridiculous neon outfits?
A. I mostly wear official gear from Zumba® HQ. Check the sale section for the most affordable!