Want to try Zumba in Dubai? Here’s where I go!

Note: I will update this list as I keep trying Zumba classes around town!

A few years ago, I discovered Zumba, and oddly enough, through work. My company regularly hosts “Wellness Weeks” every few months, and during one of these weeks, a Zumba dance studio (now unfortunately defunct) was offering classes. Since then I’ve been hooked.

After that dance studio shut down, I have been more experimental, trying different classes across Dubai. Right now, I’m exploring exercise classes in Dubai via GuavaPass (click here to get AED 100 off your first month through my referral link btw), and I figured I might as well share my favourite Zumba classes across the city – and to tell you it’s not necessarily about the studio, but it’s definitely ALL about the teacher. So even if the studio isn’t your favourite, if the teacher is, then you *will* return.

I’ve grouped these into the studios I have frequented, and mentioned who the instructors are. Happy dancing!!!

Iconic Fitness (previously known as CoreFit)

One of the earliest places I tried was CoreFit (now called Iconic Fitness), and while the instructors have changed from years ago, I’ve never been happier. One of the instructors is Jed (or @masterjedai as he is on social media) and the other regular is Leonardo (@zumbaleonardo on Instagram). Every now and then, the venue hosts Zumba parties, with not just Jed and Leo, but also Enzo Maglaque (see GFX, below) and Joseph DeLeon – I’d highly recommend these parties. High energy, full of fun, and great music and dancing.

CoreFit has Zumba classes every day, so take your pick! It’s located in Dubai Marina, right next to the tram station in front of Horizon Tower, and there’s usually quite a bit of parking – especially for the weekend classes! The studio is very large, so it’s great to spread out and dance without worrying about walking on someone else’s foot!

Couple of videos… One from Jed’s YouTube!

Another one from Leonardo’s YouTube:

Tempo Dance Center

So, Jed really is one of my favourite instructors and when I discovered he also taught at Tempo Dance Center in JLT’s Red Diamond building, I had to try it out. As I said, it’s in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, but not within the clusters. It’s towards the back on the road between JLT and Emirates Hills. Google Maps will definitely show you the exact way! Tempo Dance Center is on the first floor of the building and has three rooms for dance classes. I’d say about 10-15 people can fit comfortably, so do book in advance. There is parking below, but on some evenings it can get crowded, so bear that in mind before heading out there.

Dream Master Studio, Al Quoz

The first time I did Zumba was with Monica Pulgarin, and it’s really down to her that I’ve stuck it out so long. She now has her classes at the Dream Master Studio in Al Quoz, and these are a mix of Zumba Fitness and Zumba Toning. Often, she and another amazing instructor, Maira Lorena, team up for the “14 Day Zumba Challenge” which they share on their Facebook pages, so keep an eye out for these events, and don’t hesitate to sign up if you can commit to all 14 days. So, the challenge is two hours every night for 14 days, except for Friday. And it’s one of my most favourite things to do when it comes around!

GFX

There are two GFX branches in Dubai, one in Business Bay and the other in Mirdiff. I haven’t been to the latter, but have to the former. Every class I’ve done at this studio has had Enzo, and I will guarantee that he’s always going to put you through an intense workout. The studio is located on the first floor of the Bay Avenue Mall, and is compact, but can fit in a good number of dancers. He offers a regular Fitness class, and a Toning version, so you have a few options. I haven’t tried Mirdiff’s studio, but if anyone tries it out, do let me know!

So, which Zumba classes have you tried out? Let me know if there’s something I have missed and should try out.

Stationery I love: Surat Journals, your little blank book

Stationery I love: Surat Journals, your little blank book

On December 13, 2014, I stumbled across a little pop-up market at DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates. I’d just gone there to return books to my library (it’s called The Old Library, if anyone’s interested, and it’s fabulous). While I browsed the stands, this one caught my eye. Books – an easy way to get my attention.

It turned out to be blank books (‘little blank books’, even) created with leather from the Philippines, and recycled paper. Shut with a strip of leather, I thought the books were stylish, eye-catching, and an attractive companion for people who take notes, and enjoy stationery. Very affordable too, as you can see from the pictures. The one I picked up was AED 80, and it was to be a Christmas present – and the recipient seemed to love it, so that’s a job well done! I now regret not getting one for myself, so that’s on my to-do list.

The founder is a man named Ken Surat (hence the name Surat Journals) and here’s the Surat Journals Facebook page if you’re interested in getting a book for yourself.

Lush’s 12 Days of Christmas

Lush’s 12 Days of Christmas

I’ve loved Lush for a while now. I can’t remember when I first discovered the gorgeous smells the company produces, but I was instantly hooked. Recently, I wandered over to the Lush Christmas event in Dubai, and boy, was that literally a feast for the senses! New products, new colours and beautiful gift boxes everywhere.

Some Instagram photos from the day here:

Happiness would be a @lushuae buffet – like this! #lushchristmas

A post shared by Devina Divecha (@devinadivecha) on

Christmas penguins! Cute and smells good #lushchristmas @lushuae

A post shared by Devina Divecha (@devinadivecha) on

Very cute hedgehogs and snowmen, and BRIGHT colours! #lushchristmas

A post shared by Devina Divecha (@devinadivecha) on

Gorgeous "12 Days of Christmas" #lushchristmas gift box. Yup, 12 products inside! @lushuae

A post shared by Devina Divecha (@devinadivecha) on

At the end of the media preview, we all walked away with this beauty: the 12 Days of Christmas box.

12 Days of Christmas box

Here’s what I found when I unboxed:

I haven’t started using these yet, but I tried a few of them at the media preview, and I cannot wait to pamper myself. The Christmas range should be available in UAE Lush stores this week – are you tempted?

Do you have a favourite Lush product? Which one is it? Let me know!

These shoes were made for dancing…

Those who know me well know I’ve been indulging in the one form of exercise that doesn’t make me want to gag with boredom: zumba and/or dance-based exercises.

I have grown to love doing this, so much that it’s become a regular activity for me, not a fad. And so I realised once my two regular pairs of sneakers had to be thrown (due to overuse over 9-10 years!) … I needed new shoes.

After those two flat-ish sneakers were thrown away, I had two pairs left. One is an open-back-but-with-elastic-thingybob and a weave pattern, which is great for casual walking, and super comfy. However, I could try dancing in it but because they aren’t completely closed, they will probably detach themselves from my feet and become projectiles aimed at someone else!

Then there’s my pair of running shoes. I tried these in class for a bit but they made me feel like I was slipping on the slick dance floor, and my exercise mostly was about trying to balance myself and not fall flat on my face as opposed to actually getting my booty shaken. As running shoes, wow they’re so awesomely padded and so comfy…running has never been so good. As dance shoes… ummm, maybe not.

Then I researched, and found that most brands have a range of ‘dance shoes’. I even found ones I liked… but all the brand’s stores in Dubai didn’t have my size (I have giantess feet). So I stumbled uncomfortably until last week … they had my size…

I PRESENT TO YOU … THE SKECHERS DANCE WEAR!

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I’m really, really happy with these now for my dance classes in the studio. They’re flat – as they should be – and shaped right. I dance with more confidence now, and don’t have to worry about slipping anywhere. They’re called Jazz Hands in some places, but here they were called “dance wear” and that was it.

Anyway, if you’re looking to indulge in studio stuff like zumba, hip hop, etc, then seriously, get yourself a pair of dance/studio shoes. And you can stay brand loyal … most brands, as I said, have a range of these!

Of Graphic Designers and Fonts

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I love fonts. Not surprising though – I feel most journalists, especially magazine journalists, should have an inherent love for them

I was reading We Love Magazines yesterday and I came across the story of David Carson (whom you can read more about if you click the shared image at the top of this post) who applied the font Zapf Dingbats – which consists of symbols only – to what he thought was not a very interesting story and ran it like that in the magazine Ray Gun in 1994.

That is just bloody brilliant!

As it says in the book I was reading yesterday:

And Carson’s legacy also lives on as a valuable lesson to editors: never, ever supply substandard copy to the art director. Or else.

It makes me wonder though – do we now take our designers for granted? Are they treated as puppets of the editorial staff or can they just Dingbat what they think is terrible copy?

 

Vanity Fair, how I wronged thee!

As a student on the MA Magazine Journalism course, we’re encouraged (obviously) to not only look at newspapers, but also at magazines. My course leader, Ms. Yvonne Illsley, cannot recommend Vanity Fair enough.

I have a confession to make. I always thought it was a magazine full of gloss and fluff and nothing else. That was a pre-conceived judgement without me actually taking a look at what’s inside. Vanity Fair, I am sorry. You are not fluff. You have intelligent features, cool interviews and all this combined with some of the best photographs I’ve seen in magazines lately. The first issue I read was the November issue with Penelope Cruz on the cover. I connected with the feature on 26/11 simply because it was personal to me. I did have a problem with something, a phrase, in that article, but apart from that… time well spent.

I subscribed to Vanity Fair last night, but since I won’t get the December issue in that (as it’s already out)… I went and bought it at W.H. Smith’s today. Here’s the mug-shot. And no, I didn’t buy it only because of who is on the cover. Although that might be part of it… 😀

Vanity Fair - December 2009 issue
Va-va-voom!

Quote of the post: “The secret of successful journalism is to make your readers so angry they will write half your paper for you.”  – C.E.M. Joad