A few weeks ago my pal Ginny asked me if I wanted to take a Zumba class with her. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I've been trying to lose a few pounds for forever; so I decided - why not?
Zumba is a cardio work-out that is based on Latin dances like the rumba, samba, and mambo. You pretty much get to dance for an hour. There's a lot of movement some reminiscent of high school soccer/football practice, some more elegant and lady-like, and a lot of booty shakin'. When done correctly, you look coordinated, confident, and kinda sexy (at least as sexy as you can look as you are pouring sweat). Its cardio dance class at its finest.
So here's the deal. I am not a dancer. I never have been. And I never will be. Uncoordinated and ungraceful, a day is a success if I manage to not trip over my own feet or walk into an inanimate object. When I was three my parents, like so many other parents, decided that it was time for me to take ballet lessons. After signing me up, buying me a leotard, some ballet slippers, and a snazzy bag to carry all of my gear they dropped me off at my first class. My memories of that class are hazy at best, but I remember lots of running around on my tiptoes and pretending to be a prima donna. Even though this totally sounds like the sort of thing I would have LOVED at three, I didn't. I hated it (apparently there was another Andrea in the class who was not as well-behaved as I was, when her mom would yell at her, I would cry because I thought this strange woman was yelling at me). I think I made it 6 weeks. I certainly did NOT make it to the recital.
I decided to give ballet another shot when I got to college. "Short Courses" were offered through the University and covered everything from Beginner's Ballet to Wine and Beer Tasting. I excitedly signed up for Beginner's Ballet - for $40 I got 8 classes that was supposed to cover all of the basics of ballet. Even though I didn't buy a leotard, I did buy ballet slippers. I was so excited. I got to my first class a little early. All of the other girls in my class had on nice dance clothes. I got a little nervous. The first thing we did was go around the circle to introduce ourselves, just the basics: name, year, dance experience. Slowly we make it around the circle. Girl after girl states her name, year, and dance experience - three years, four years, seven years, ten years. Then its my turn. I slowly mutter, "My name is Andrea, I'm a first year, and (rightly believing my short lived experience at 3 didn't count) I've had not dance experience." The teacher assures me that this is fine since we'll all be working on the basics. It wasn't. Did you know you can be really bad at plieing? Which is for all intents and purposes graceful squatting? I stuck it out for a couple of weeks but once we started leaping (and I subsequently started regularly falling on my ass) my embarrassment got the best of me and I dropped out. Again. No recital for me.
I decided that was it for me and dance.
Then I tried Zumba.
The class I've been going to with Ginny is really popular (you have to call the day before to reserve your spot) and held in the gym at the YMCA. Which I like because gym = no mirrors. No mirrors = me not able to see how ridiculous I look while Zumbaing. Ginny's fun and not judgmental, so even if she is laughing at me, I know its never mean. We stand in the back where hardly anyone can see us (which is ideal since I think that I look like a cross between Foghorn Leghorn and a Leprechaun while doing Zumba). So even though I am almost positive that I look like an idiot, there is a little part of me that thinks that I look just as beautiful and graceful as all of the Zumba-aholics.
Last night's class was especially fun. While I really liked the fact that I burned a butt ton of calories, I really really love the fact that we did Beyonce's "Single Ladies" dance. In case you live under a rock (like my dad apparently does, he had absolutely no idea what I was talking about) the little confident part of my brain thinks that I looked like Beyonce in this video:
But I'm pretty sure that I look more like Andy Samberg in this one: