Monday, 7 February 2011

Let's Dance

Like most women, I try to exercise once in a while. Yoga, swimming, jogging, working out in the gym; you name it, I’ve probably done it. I’ve even tried dancing with various levels of success. Argentine Tango did not suit the Feminist in me (What? Follow a man’s lead? Never!), or at least that is what I try to tell my two rather bruised left feet. Belly Dancing was my second attempt at trying to keep trim in a relatively co-ordinated way. This venture was much more successful. Until my gym stopped doing classes at a time that slotted into my busy schedule.
Then, last year, I heard about Zumba. My friend from Glasgow told me about it first - apparently it is big business up there. Her description of Latin moves in the form of an aerobics class caught my attention. The fact that you didn’t have to dance with a partner was particularly appetising – one thing Tango taught me is that being a taller than average woman has the disadvantage that most men’s eye level usually hovers around your chest. Not a good way to meet people. Then I found out that my gym had a Zumba class on a Thursday at 8pm.
So when I attended my last local More To Life Than Shoes (well, apparently there is) meeting, I made trotting along to a Zumba class my goal for the next month. Two colds, Christmas and several more excuses later (8pm does not see me at my most motivated to go out and get sweaty), last week I finally made it.
I tried not to be intimidated by our instructor AJ as he strapped on his hands-free mike and selected a particularly energetic tune to get us started. But as I watched him lead the warm-up, my anxiety of falling flat on my face melted away. That’s not to say that Zumba isn’t fast, because, well it is. I tried my best to keep up with AJ’s cunningly choreographed routine, and I like to think I did okay. But as I tried to mirror his carefully crafted moves, I couldn’t help but smile. As I attempted my own version of his wondrous wiggles, I caught the eye of another newcomer. We giggled. Occasionally I got lost in the routine and nearly fell into the realms of interpretive dance. But I didn’t care. I was exercising, and having a lot of fun whilst I was burning off several mince pies too many.
The fact that AJ did not seem too concerned that we weren’t all quite ready to appear on Strictly Come Dancing added to my enjoyment. Okay, so it’s good to know that you are getting your steps right, but it was refreshing not to have your every move scrutinised and corrected, which I for one can find a little disheartening and detracting from the fun. Trust me, I know I’m no Latino Lovely, and I certainly don’t need some washboard-stomached graduate from Pineapple Studios to remind me. But what I do need is to burn off the occasional bag of Kettle Chips, forget about my workplace worries and have a laugh once in a while. And Zumba ticked all my boxes.

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