Last year I was very fortunate to be introduced to Darcey Bussell to talk to her about her new idea for a fitness class called DDMIX – (Diverse Dance Mix), as always when you meet someone and talk to them about their passion you can’t help but be immediately enthralled and enveloped into their idea; it was because of this I decided to jump into the side of the fitness industry I had never ventured before; however that was ideal as this was exactly the same for DDMIX; whilst they were all over the dance side of things this would be their first enterprise into the fitness industry. What was apparent was how they realise the key to the success of this program was the educational side of things and making sure we got this spot on.

This is great news for the fitness industry and I wish this was the goal of more companies rather than pack them in, get them qualified as quickly as possible and ship them out to the unsuspecting public. Whilst DDMIX pays homeage to Zumba they most definitely did not want to follow their business model of opening up DDMIX to the masses. So after talking to them it was decided we would embark on this journey together to get DDMIX accredited by SkillsActive and REPs.

If you have never heard of DDMIX here is a brief summary – Diverse Dance Mix is a class which utilises different dance genres from around the world. DDMIX have constructed their own music and then using the outstanding talent of Darcey Bussell and Nathan Clarke have created choreography to match the music. So a class will have you doing the Jive one moment before going into the Salsa then into a Line Dance. With high energy and creativity this could be the next class to get the masses moving and shaking and exercising, which as we all know from some of my previous blogs I feel is lacking in the fitness industry.

So first things first, raising the bar. Not anyone off the street can come and deliver DDMIX you most definitely need an Exercise to Music qualification or a Dance Qualification to be able to a) pick up the choreography yourself and b) be able to break it down and then coach it, simplify it and even enhance it. Correct technique and make the class fun and engaging.

Next came the process of structuring the course, writing the manual and the choreography notes, which seemed in a totally different language to anything I had written before. Early this year we ran a couple of trial training courses, this was to see the time-line for the course, how it should be structured and to receive feedback from the attendees.

Whilst I have written training for many companies, here was my one stumbling block I had never written a course for a dance program. So even here it was time to admit I needed help and so approached SkillsActive and we paid for some consultancy. The advice I was given helped me greatly understand how to reinforce learning throughout the course and how to improve the attendees training further. Whenever I write training and deal with SkillsActive I always wonder how other courses get through the process; as yet again I found myself having to raise my own standards to write this new course. The demands on tutors having certain qualifications keeps growing and yet I wonder about big organisations out in the industry whether their instructors meet the same criteria?

Finally we submitted the course and we were approved by SkillsActive and given a 12 REPs point course. Last weekend DDMIX ran their first accredited course, and the first review of the class was published in the Financial Times.

Helping write education for companies helps gives me an insight in the fitness industry like no other and I still recommend to anyone attending training, to find out the experience of the instructor that is leading that course, because most people I speak to can’t believe that Darcey Bussell is leading the training at the moment. Raising the standard? You bet, advice and expert tuition from the very top.

If you want to know more about DDMIX  you can contact giselle@diversedancemix.com or if you want to give feedback on the above then feel free to leave a comment.