I’m terrible at Zumba

While my tolerance for participation has been dwindling the older I get, my husband’s sister, Michelle, is incredibly participatory, often involved in many amazing activities and causes that I can’t keep track of. Like performing in large-scale theater productions and organizing charity runs for the Brain Injury Society [You can register for this run at: http://www.events.runningroom.com/site/?raceId=6639]. Not only does she get things done, but she truly does said things out of genuine enthusiasm and the goodness of her very big heart.

Right now she is a member of Hadassah, a Jewish women’s philanthropic organization, whose chapter held a charity Zumba class to raise money for healthcare projects for women and children. I love my sister-in-law and fully support women and children so I agreed to attend the class first, and look up zumba, second. I had heard of everyone doing it but I didn’t know exactly what it was they were doing. I’m more of a ‘walk the dog at a somewhat brisk pace’ kind of girl, rather than an ‘organized, legitimate fitness class at a gym’ kind of girl.

I was a little worried when wikipedia described it as an intense fitness program targeting every major muscle group in the body. I typically back away from intensity and my major muscle groups are all pretty minor. I was also nervous that it incorporated so many different dance styles: cumbia, salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, cha-cha-cha, Reggaeton, samba, belly dancing, Bhangra, hip-hop and tango. Were there any left? I have very little rhythm but Michelle promised that I, my leg warmers and two left feet could stand at the far back corner of the class.

Except, when the hot instructor, Jeremy, came in with his perfectly toned major muscle groups, it was hard not to want a front row seat. He first apologized for starting the class late. “Take your shirt off,” I wanted to yell, “And we’ll call it even.” Unfortunately, he left his shirt on. Fortunately though, he turned around and started to dance.

For thirty years now I have had a strict policy of not shaking my hips or chest in public, and definitely not both at the same time-something I didn’t even know was physically possible until Zumba. But I drove a ways to get to the class and with the music going and everyone around me having fun, I decided it might be time to do away with my long enforced AGP-Anti-Gyration Policy. I mean, this was for the children after all. Watching myself swivel though, I am certain that if I had not voluntarily adopted this rule, others would have enforced it for me.

As the class went on, however, I became less concerned with my awkward prudeness and more concerned with not passing out-something else I try to avoid doing in public. I wanted to stop and take a break, really watch Jeremy to “study” his “technique” but Michelle’s friend, who was dancing beside me, was five months pregnant and she was not showing any signs of slowing down. Without even breaking a sweat she was not only zumbaing perfectly on her own two feet, but she was growing another pair! I couldn’t tap out before the pregnant woman, that’s just too embarrassing. I could do no more than hope that she eventually got tired and needed someone to bring her a chair. I crossed my fingers as I grapevined.

Even with my failure though to ever find the beat, dancing to loud music with friends is so much fun. It’s fun to let go and it’s fun to watch other people having a good time. It’s fun to be a part of something and know it is for a good cause. After all that laughing and dancing and shaking, walking my dog the next day felt a little flat. At least though, I can start training for my sister-in-law’s brain injury run. I am determined to finish only slightly behind the pregnant woman.

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