…. Zumba for the first time, was a revelation! Not being a sporty person, my leisure time is filled with scribbling stories, watching history documentaries and plenty of eating out, so the old weighing scales were taking a bashing, and the body beautiful was becoming less so… I was medically advised to diet and take up cardio exercise, which to me is a foreign language. “…Que… ?”
However, to show willing,I decided I would do something, as long as it didn’t entail venturing outdoors. It was a cold wet Autumn after all. Gyms are far too advanced a therapy for my gentle constitution, but I saw a sign for Zumba (Gold ) classes at the local church hall… That was my answer – I would dance myself fit!
In my often misspent youth, dancing was what I did at every opportunity, and loved it. Not for exercise but sheer pleasure, bopping to music in a disco, to the Tamla Motown or Soul tunes of the 70’s. It was where I met my husband to be, tunefully synchronising our rhythms, singing aloud, swaying to the beat and drenched in coloured lights as they played over the crowds… I would rejuvenate myself!
The classes are on a Monday, so one day in passing, I called in to see if I was ready to commit… The loud music hooked me straight away ! I had thought Zumba was done to the moronic ‘thud,thud,thud’, of the electric ‘house’ beat, which didn’t really appeal. It seems tuneless… I do enjoy a good tune. Instead, this was more a Latin beat – quick but not manic – it was after all Zumba Gold – for my generation!
So, not as energetic but by no means easy to follow – the footwork made me dizzy! Looking into the hall full of ladies not unlike myself, I could immediately identify as one of the crowd. The lycra clad dance teacher had the body of a twenty year old, although I could see she was maturing nicely. Even one of my neighbours was showing her moves, and singing along… so I could do this too.
The following week, dressed in old trainers and loose attire, I was ready to wow… Placed at the back of the hall, I could see the stage and everyone else before me… There were three of us on the back row and it soon turned into the ‘naughty corner’ for all the giggles, missteps and rolling eyes we shared. The session was tortuous really, as the grapevines to the right, turned into the six-step to the left, or whatever – but I counted beats and repetitions, jiggled my hips and did the mambo or cha cha cha steps as required, performing movements that my bewildered muscles had not attempted in years ! For the first time in a long time, I was soon glowing with sweat and breathing hard in a fashion that wasn’t often seen in a roomful of other people!
I lapped up the cheesy sentiments of Latino love songs, moved to the tunes of the Gangsta crooners from the Caribbean and then occasionally, enjoyed one of the classic showstopper tunes, just to ring the changes. We covered everything from Elvis, to the Charleston, to Julio Iglesias… and there is nothing funnier than standing behind a group of lardy ladies, giving their all, jiggling and wobbling to a dance beat… with gusto!
Thank goodness, no one was standing behind me!