Monday, November 23, 2009

Tonight I Joined the Zumba World

I've been hearing about Zumba classes from friends for months already, but my gym doesn't offer them, so I figured I would never have a chance to see what it is all about. Well, I am home for the Thanksgiving holiday, and a new fitness studio has opened up in my town. To promote their classes, they are offering a three free classes trial where you can try any three classes before you decide to join. One of my friends is considering becoming a member, and she invited me along to try out a zumba class. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity, since I have been curious about it for quite some time.
I went to the class, and was a little nervous. I'm generally a little slow to catch on to new dance steps and have been known to be a little clumsy in aerobics classes. I blame it on being left handed, I always tend to want to go the opposite direction of everyone else. The music started pumping, and I knew I would like it, even if I did look totally off rhythm while enjoying it. It reminded me of spinning class, with the hip hop and techno tunes to keep you amped up through what is bound to be a tiring experience. The instructor was definitely a former back up dancer. She was totally jacked, and she was wearing baggy orange pants with a tight tiny tank top. The outfit really gave her away, and the fact that for a middle aged woman, she could really gyrate those hips. Also, she did not stop bouncing up and down for the entire hour class. This made her dance moves slightly difficult to follow, since the mambo is a little difficult to pick up in one class anyways, add a bounce step and I'm totally lost. At least it gave me something to blame my missteps on.
The song would change every 5 minutes or so, and ranged from Mambo #5, to Get Low by Lil' John (we really did get low), to My Hips don't Lie by Shakira. The moves went from the grapevine to salsa to merengue steps, to tango moves, to the plain old booty drop and shoulder shimmy. I do not recommend going with anyone who you are not comfortable literally shaking what your mama gave you in front of. We did the Beyonce shake your booty while popping our your chest move--this was one I was actually OK at, and I learned that twirling your hips is really all about the core rather than just the butt. It also brought in some traditional aerobics moves in between dance segments like the lunge-bounce-clap, and squats. It felt more like fun than working out, though I really broke a sweat, and we'll see how sore my legs are tomorrow.
Bottom line is that you get over the embarrassment of dancing in a brightly lighted room with mirrors everywhere within the first few minutes, and everyone is more into figuring out their moves than watching yours. While some of the moves feel like rubbing your tummy while patting your head, I am confident that if you went weekly it would become much easier. At the very least you will definitely learn some new dance moves, or improve the ones you've got! Hey, it's way more fun than running on a treadmill and staring at a wall for 40 minutes.

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