For my birthday last week, I went to a free Zumba class and dinner with some girlfriends. A new Zumba studio had opened downtown and they wanted to check it out. I had taken a six-week beginners’ class a few years ago through a community education program, so I was game, even though I had some misgivings.
The instructor of the community education class was a belly dancer, and all her Zumba instruction seemed to devolve into belly dancing, with the requisite swaying of hips and jiggling of key feminine body parts.
Introverted me doesn’t feel all that comfortable swaying anything in front of anyone. I figured that was just the way she taught Zumba because of her background. I hoped this new class would be different.
We entered the studio, which was filled with women, blinking lights, and pounding music. It didn’t take long for me to discover that the community education class music and movements had been slow-motion compared to a regular Zumba class. There was also the requisite jiggling of the “girls” and gyrating of the hips.
Now, I have no problem gyrating my hips when required during certain intimate acts performed between two consenting adults, but that’s different than doing it in a room full of people. And it also goes against my genetic make-up. My hips are German, English, Irish, Scottish and some rumored Native American. When is the last time you saw an ethnic Irish dancer gyrate their hips? Try never. How about a German folk dancer? I daresay NO. Those hips remain straight and true with nary a come-hither twitch.
It might be different if I had some Latin, Italian, Spanish or other hot-blooded ethnicity inside me. But I don’t. And it shows. Even from the back row of the Zumba studio.
I also realized I’m too used to endurance sports where the goal is to move as gracefully and efficiently as possible — sports like swimming, x-c skiing, bicycling, and yoga. With Zumba, it seems the whole point is to be as inefficient as possible. There’s lots of jumping and prancing and pointless arm waving.
I’m sorry, Zumba. I suppose with enough time and motivation, I could adapt to you. The music is fun, after all. But I don’t want to. There are too many other forms of fitness better suited to my inhibited hips.