I know I have rhythm, I’m a regular Solid Gold dancer with slick Latin dance moves. It’s in my Guat blood and in truth it’s one of my favorite traits. But I’ll admit I was a little nervous. I had never participated in a Zumbathon. In truth I’d never even done Zumba, but as I mentioned before it was for a good cause. So I suited up in my best Costco sweatpants and t-shirt and was on my way.
I didn’t know what to expect, but I can honestly say I didn’t expect to see this type of chick there. However when I walked into the basketball gym, I saw them … Dude. There they were all decked out in their full on Zumba gear, bracelets and hats included. I thought who the hell wears a hat when they workout. I mean if it’s not a baseball cap to hide your messed up Iris Chacon-Amanda Miguel morning hair, who wears that? Who wears hats like that to sweat? Who does that? Zumba groupies I guess. I had been informally introduced to the Zumba groupie. I’m sure you’ve seen her, she’s the kind of chick that wears makeup to workout. After this encounter I wasn’t sure I was going to be enjoying this fitness party adventure.
But after a while, the majority of the Zumbathon people trickled in and most of them were wearing the “normal” sweats, shorts, yoga pants and t-shirt attire. Most of them were people from my old high school, most of whom I hadn’t seen since I graduated, and I was all right with that. There’s really no need to see certain people after high school, and some of them you don’t even want to run into on Facebook. Unfortunately, they find you. But I was willing to cowboy up and have the numerous Oh-my-God!-how-have-you-been conversations for the sake of raising money for my old acquaintance battling cancer.
So after all the hello hugs, I found a spot with my buddies and began the “fitness party” adventure. I had been warned that it might be a serious workout and that I might need to take several breaks within the two-hour frame. But in truth I was all right. I felt like I was on a dance floor at a wedding, only this time I was wearing my New Balance and not some killer high heels that would emotionally and physically damage my feet. Now don’t get me wrong there was a lot of sweat, but it didn’t feel like I was working out, which I guess was a good thing.
I enjoyed my first Zumba encounter, although there were a couple of things I learned through this experience.
I learned that the fake excited dance teacher that you see in DVD/videos really does exists. It’s not a myth. She’s real. She has all these cartoon character facial expressions and cheesy sayings that she really shouldn’t use, but she does because she thinks it’s going to motivate you. It doesn’t. It makes you lose faith in the Zumba philosophy, and it just makes you wish you hadn’t wasted money on that particular exercise DVD. Sadly I couldn’t turn her off. She was live and in progress. I was so grateful to learn that there were five other instructors that day and that fake happy dance teacher would not be returning to the stage. I also learned that the sixty-year old, gray-haired Zumba dance instructor was the most badass of them all. Sweat was pouring out when this lady took the stage.
Lesson Number Two: You Gotta Commit. In both life and Zumba, you gotta commit. I’d never taken a dance class but apparently it’s kind of like monkey see-monkey do. You pick up the dance moves as the routine progresses. Some of the moves were a little bit too involved for me. They were a little bit too much for everyone except for the Zumba groupies down in front. But as I saw the people in front of me half-ass the moves I thought … dude that looks terrible. So non-athletic and non-dancer like. I can’t be looking like that. Either you’re in or you’re out. So I fully committed to all the steps and if I messed up the Flashdance moves … well … then … I went down in flames and I got a couple of laughs in the process.
Lesson Number Three: Be Prepared to Pump It. I had no idea that Zumba had a lot of these chest-pump dance moves. A lot. I felt like I was in a rap video — you know the kind where the chick is wearing Daisy Duke shorts with six-inch heels, and all of sudden takes a wide stance, puts her hands up in the air, and does her best Beyoncé-like chest pop. Apparently it has something to do with the abs, but I wasn’t feeling it and I looked nothing like Beyoncé. More like a chick with back problems, but nevertheless I remembered Lesson Number Two and forged on.
Two hours went by pretty quickly and in the end everyone was pretty sweaty from all that chest pumping. It was such a success that they said they might be planning another one in the fall. And who knows I might go again and learn a couple more lessons. But hopefully by then people will not feel the need to take pictures and post on them on Facebook. Maybe they’ll just take pictures for the sake of taking pictures.
- My RSVP to the Fitness Party (thewishfactor.wordpress.com)