Zumba time is the most diverse hour of the day.
The dance moves attract women of every color, teens and seniors, beginners and fitness geeks, stay-at-home moms and executives, slim and curvy. I’ve had fun with women I wouldn’t have otherwise met or bumped into in every day life.
You don’t have to know the language, or how to dance, or any of that other stuff that comes with almost everything else. All you have to do is watch, feel the beat, and move. It’s a come-as-you-are kind of class. You don’t have to know all the moves but must keep moving. In other words, fake it until you make it.
For that one hour, we check our differences at the door. We have two goals: to smile and to sweat. Smiling burns calories, and sweating is fat crying. I have never, ever sweated like I do in Zumba, and I’ve been known to crack a smile or two during class.
Even rhythm-challenged folks like me can learn how to Zumba. I’ve toned up my arms, reduced some jiggle, and increased my stamina. The class I go to is so popular that folks get there early to find a space. We fill every inch of the gym. Someone joked recently that we may need a football field for class.
Zumba keeps my mind off every other thing in life because I’m too busy counting steps — “one, two, three, four” — or repeating dance step reminders — “single-single, double-double” — to myself. When I am not doing that I am yelling at the top of my lungs because, well, our teacher is always telling us that she can’t hear us. She says all of this hooting and hollering tricks our brains and bodies into thinking we can do more of what we are doing. I think she’s right, but I was skeptical at first.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love Zumba. I also love my instructor, who just happens to be the woman in the front on the video. Say hello if you see me in class but don’t dare say a word about my rhythm or lack thereof.