Monday, March 1, 2010

Class #22 Zumba Sunday 1:00 p.m. (Karen)

It had to happen sooner or later so I chose what I thought would be a slow day and time to begin my Zumba career. Sunday at 1 pm seemed to fit the bill. I was sort of right although there were still 15 or so women jamming in class.

For dedicated blog readers you already know that this is actually my second Zumba class. The first one though was only 30 minutes long in a class intended for kids only. That class was something of a trial run for me, a trip down the bunny slope of Zumba Mountain. While it was a logical tactic, it didn’t exactly build my confidence to head for any black diamond runs.

For those who don’t know, Zumba is a fitness class in the guise of Latin dancing. A fellow named “Beto” Perez from Cali, Colombia created it in the mid ‘90’s. It seems that Beto was a traditional aerobics teacher who got to class one day without any music. In a panic he rummaged through his backpack finding some tapes with traditional salsa and merengue music that he had grown up listening to. For class he spent the hour improvising moves to this fast paced, rhythmic music. Next thing you know, a new style of fitness class was born.

Like most ‘overnight’ sensations it took a few years to start spreading in a serious way. In fact, more than 15 years would pass before Beto’s creation would travel all the way from Cali to Little Rock. But it’s definitely here now.

Including Zumba for Kids we offer nine Zumba classes per week at the Club. As you might imagine, all of the Zumba instructors are beautiful dancers. But, take it from me, that doesn’t mean one needs to be a good dancer to attend a class.

Today’s instructor was Karen Tonti. Since Karen teaches Kid’s Zumba too, I was seeing her for the second time. And, since she did a few of the same songs with the same steps (e.g. cho-ko-latte) I had that going for me and I’d like to tell you that it helped but….

Karen moves beautifully and leads a fun, high energy class. I gathered that the other participants were regulars, as they seemed to know the moves pretty well from the get-go. Or maybe women just figure this stuff out a lot faster than guys. Or both.

As with the other dance classes I’ve gone to (i.e. two Nia classes) it seems I can attempt the foot or the arm movements but not both. (I’m leaving out the hips for the time being which is an entirely different story). I typically focus on the foot movements – if/when I get comfortable with those then I take a stab at using my arms.

Okay back to the hips for a second. With Latin dancing the hips are pretty much always moving. The connection between my brain and hips is iffy at best - mine don’t gyrate sufficiently or for that matter, hardly at all but the longer the class goes the more I begin to feel the middle of my body. Surely it’s a good thing to wake up parts of our body that are soundly asleep!

The main thing to know about Zumba is that it’s fun, especially when I can let go of trying to do it “right”. Fortunately this isn’t American Idol and Simon isn’t around to ridicule me and kick me off the show. All the girls in class show me how to do it, dancing their hearts out and having a blast the whole time.

The $25 gift certificate goes to Barbara Means.

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