I have never felt more white and nerdy than the time I attended a family member’s wedding with my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time. This family member was marrying a man of Cuban descent, who had a big family full of beautiful women in it. As I stood there in my pale, shapeless sundress, I looked at their tan skin, shapely bodies in low-cut dresses and their moves on the dance floor and sighed. I was angular and awkward to their sultry and confident.
I haven’t felt that way too often in the years since then. Maybe having three little kids around me hasn’t given me the time to obsess over how goofy I may be, at least in my mind’s eye.
I recently joined a gym, and with the kids in day camp, I have been able to try out some classes. This morning, I decided to try out a Zumba class, having heard all about this new workout craze from friends.
I knew I was in trouble approximately .00002 seconds into it, when the instructor stuck her hip out in a way that my hip does not move. And, for the next hour, I tried in vain to imitate the gyrations, shimmies and booty shakes I saw in front of me.
(I’m feeling a bit guilty about borrowing a video clip that isn’t mine, so if you want to see Zumba in action, check out one of these vids on You Tube)
At first, it was all I could do not to laugh. The class went left–I went right. They shook their booty and my booty said, “no”. I felt like a newborn fawn—all new, stumbling legs. I rolled my eyes and soldiered on, giggling at the absurdity of it all.
But, after 15 minutes of this, I felt embarrassed and ashamed of my lack of coordination. It stopped being funny when not one person caught my eye during the quick water break. Not one person said, “oh, don’t worry, it took my months to get the hang of it”. By the time the music started up again, I had to bite my lip to hold back tears.
Somehow I made it through the hour by basically making up my own steps. If I saw her do “cha, cha, ball change, cha”, I did “step, step, step, step”. And forget about the arms.
Sure, if I went another 20 or 30 times, I might get good enough to keep up with the class. But, when I have one hour to do a workout, I don’t want to have to learn an entire choreographed dance routine in order to work up a sweat.
This is probably why I still love Jillian’s 30-Day Shred: no coordination necessary. Perfect.