Last October, I stumbled into my first zumba class.
It’s okay, just do what you can. The cheerful lady at the desk told me when I asked if Zumba would kill me. I was not optimistic. In fact, the lady’s healthy cheerfulness made me a little grumpy.
Zumba is the latest dance aerobic fitness thing. It combines Salsa, Hip Hop, Afro-Caribbean into an hour long dance workout. For one hour, you do not stop moving.
Now, I have no muscle memory. It takes twice as long for my body to process what it has to do. Gym class sucked. I just don’t pick up on sports as quickly as the other kids---and I duck away from spherical objects flying toward me.
I stood in the back of the zumba class and wondered why I was there. Oh yeah, I was trying something new. The class began. The instructor, Wil, began to move and everyone did exactly what he did.
He started stepping side to side. Okay, I can step from side to side. Okay, I can do that. I focused on his silver sneakers and tried to stay on the beat. Okay, okay, okay, I can do that. I noticed Wil smiling in the mirror and focused on the positives.
Suddenly, he changed it up to step pivot step pivot. Uh-oh. Panic! Okay. It took a few beats, but I got it.
We’d dance to the left and dance to the right. I had always been bad with my left and right, so I almost collided with a girl next to me. Oops. Sorry. Sometimes, everyone waved their hands in the air, and I’d wave my hands in the air a beat later. Hi, yes, I’m Jen, the last one picked in gym class.
But it kind of didn’t matter. I noticed some ladies sat out a song to catch their breath. Some ladies also got behind and had to catch up. Everyone was sweating, and Wil just kept smiling. At the end of the first class, I felt pretty good.
The next day, I found myself doing zumba from the waist up in the car when a hip hop song came on the radio. The next week, I went back to zumba class. I felt a little more confident, and we had done some songs from the previous week. It was fun, it was positive. I started to get the hang of it. I could stay on the beat as long as I didn’t think deep thoughts or look at myself in the mirror.
I really liked the hip hop songs. A lot of hip hop was based on boxing, so I got that. I also liked the attitude. The salsa songs allowed me to be a show girl with dance steps and big arm gestures.
I was no dancer, but I noticed that those with dance training were capable of messing up, so I felt better. As I continued to take zumba, I noticed there were a lot of different body types in the room. There were the super fit. Then there were a lot of women with a bit around the hips, but wow, could they shake those hips. There were older women who could dance and never miss a step.
I just kept going. I got use to seeing myself in the mirror. I started to clap to the music at the right time. I could relax and move and shake it like Polaroid picture.
Then in a recent zumba class, for a brief few minutes, I didn’t worry about steps or left or right. For a brief few minutes, I wasn’t just moving, I was dancing. I caught myself in the mirror. Damn, I looked hot.