It was from my friend Vinnie in Toronto that I first heard about Zumba. She was quite addicted a year or two ago and I only half listened because her gym is GoodLife and they are inexplicably absent from Vancouver proper and I didn’t belong to any gym. But now I have a Fitness World membership gathering dust for a week at a time between uses and staid as it is, it offers Zumba classes a few times a week. Hooray, I can climb on the bandwagon about four years late.
My first class was, very fortunately, free and I was floored by how medium-high impact it was from the first minute. The beats really boost you along, the number of dance styles that I could recognize (and some more I didn’t) boggled my mind in a good way–this wasn’t the cheesy “cardiofunk” aerobics class of days gone by. I was so bad at it and the instructor is so freakin’ adorable and has such enviable control of her pelvis. There was a Christmas special offer of 10 classes for $50 (compared to the regular rate of $15/class) so I convinced NPY to give me the gift of fitness!
I feel pretty lucky that the instructor I would start with is really energetic and awe-inspiring to watch. My two years of ballroom dancing, years of watching So You Think You Can Dance, and going to soca parties with Vinnie have collectively enabled me to identify the different flavours appearing in the class: salsa, meringue, cumbia, African (thanks to Jacky Essombe segments on local TV), dancehall and reggaeton; most surprisingly, the instructor also brings in bellydancing, crump, and some moves I can only label “boyband” moves. The instructor reminds me of an earthier Penelope Cruz and it’s funny and motivating when we’re doing a string of pelvic thrusts or stutter steps and in her high-pitched, accented voice, she cries out, “More more more more!”
When I go to these “fun” classes like modern dance, that “sensual movement” and pole dancing teaser class I took from Aradia Fitness, and now Zumba, I laugh to myself at how we’re a bunch of straight-laced/old/white women who are trying out the wild side in the safe environment under the guise of “fitness”. I’m glad I’m not usually the most stiff person–from dancing training and years of clubbing?–but I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and realize just how really average I am at this new activity I’m tackling. While I didn’t encounter it in ballroom dancing, in ballet and Zumba, I am so abashed to find I completely lack coordination with my arms if my feet are busy. All the more incentive to master this dance/aerobics style!
I still have the back-five of my set of 10 classes to go and find, like a proper dance class, I should practice during the week to create muscle memory. After that, I’m still torn about getting the Kinect version of Zumba Fitness–that is, I have the XBOX 360 but having the Kinect solely for the game seems just a bit silly. What will I do??