Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Class #70 Zumba Wednesday 4:15 p.m. (Bonnie)

Once upon a time, about 30 years ago, my father and I were watching my little sister Anne ride a horse around a rink. We were in Germany on a family vacation and Anne was on a skittish horse she’d never ridden who wasn’t used to hearing commands in English. Anne was only 14 at the time but she was an accomplished rider. Nonetheless, the horse managed to throw her and to add insult to injury – kick her right in the face leaving a huge black eye. Naturally she was pretty shaken up and came over to my dad to be held and consoled. After a few minutes, when her tears had dried my father softly asked if she was ready to get back on that beast. Without hesitation Anne said “yes”. He said, that’s the answer he was looking for but no way was he letting her ride that horse again.

What does this have to do with a Zumba class at the Athletic Club? Not much, I admit but metaphorically I got kicked in the head at Zumba yesterday and today – I’m returning to the scene of the crime (mixing metaphors as I go).

Bonnie looks at me sympathetically as I come in the door and says how she might need to change what she was planning for class. In my best John Kerry I refuse the need of any help and tell her to ‘bring it on’. She shrugs and says “okay”.

Sweet Sweet Bonnie

Despite my macho posturing I think she still felt sorry for me and dumbed it down the best she could. She would graciously show the steps before each song, which gave me a fighting chance. Besides, these steps were mostly fairly simple (just faster than my big clod hoppers could handle). Of course, even when I’m doing the steps right I still don’t look anything like the real dancers. I’m just too stiff – I need a shot of cortisone (or tequila).

Anyway, I’m begging the inner brat to show up and ‘get down’ but the little sucker is playing hard to get. So, I stumble along the best I can and while far from perfect, I’m doing better than yesterday and I’m actually having fun.

The inner brat
(now this kid can dance!)

Bonnie incorporates a lot of fitness moves into her dances – we do squats, jumping jacks and lots of quick turns and dipsy doodles. The music is loud and pulsating and the room is full of women who are all whoopin’ and hollerin’ and having a great time. I’m pouring sweat and getting a great workout and the time’s going by quickly.

Lost in the big crowd and nearing the end of class I smile to myself thinking that I’ve “gotten back on that horse” and that Anne would be proud of me. Just then Bonnie signals for me to come see her – I feel certain that she’s got a question about the stereo or maybe she wants me to leave so they can really let loose. But no – she whispers that whenever any men come to her class she always brings them up front to do the last dance. Huh? “Have you ever had a man in this class before”, I ask incredulously. “Not really” she says with a smile.

There’s really no turning back. Ever the silver lining seeker, I think – at least this will make good copy for the blog. The steps are easy enough but the chorus has the words, shimmy, shake and dip – or something like that – where we stand in place and embody those commands. I will my body to somehow shimmy or shake and who knows what actually happens. Mercifully, I’m right in front of the stereo so at least I don’t have to see it. None too soon my dance in the front row ends. The women in the room give an approving roar (bless their hearts) and I slink back off to my corner. Another blackmail tape for God, I think – as if She needs one.

There must have been over 30 in this class. The $25 gift certificate winner is Samiya Razzaq.

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