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Zumba: The Great Equalizer

I’ve been itching to write this post since my first Zumba class two weeks ago.

Now that I’ve been going twice a week for two weeks now, I feel like I have the right to speak on this now.

I’m still a newbie, however, I didn’t give up, and now it is a part of my scheduled week, so I can say something with authority. Yesterday, I didn’t feel like going, but I did anyway and when you do that, you can officially say you are doing something and can make comments.

I get the Zumba craze. I really do.

People can go at their own pace and still sweat as long as they keep moving.

If you don’t get a step just right you can modify it and make up your own (or insert a gratuitous Beyoncé uh oh dance) and no one thinks you look crazy.

But the number one reason Zumba is great besides all of that is because anyone can do it. Elderly women, small women, large women, some men, some large men, children.

The main and only person guaranteed to do everything right and look hot doing it is the instructor, who does this multiple times a day, every day.

The rest of us are winging it.

Zumba is an equalizer.

Some of the rail thin chicks with great bodies have no rhythm.

Some of the thickest mammas in the joint can go step for step.

The old women can keep moving, when people who went too hard are winded.

There’s always a move in the course of the class that is “your move” where you know you are doing it right and you look good doing it, and that’s the one you do the hardest.

Everybody from the youngest to the eldest, the smallest to the thickest has their move. You can look around the room at any point in the class and see that moment happening. It varies from step to step and song to song. It’s a fun thing to watch. I smile at the people doing “their move,” and they smile back.

Madame Sexy Abs, you can't dance. photostock/freedigitalphotos.net

I was a bit angry when a really toned woman decided to ceremoniously take off her tee-shirt to reveal her color-coordinated sports bra and toned abs.

However, justice was served when during a few of the songs I was going step for step and she was stumbling and bumbling along.

Ah, Zumba is the great equalizer. Take that Madame Sexy Abs!

I was telling my friend my theory about Zumba being an equalizer and she was saying how uncomfortable she was with the gym and group classes because they seem competitive.

I’ve done it all, and I think Zumba is not competitive at all unless you try to compare yourself to Madame Sexy Abs, but we’ve already learned. She can’t dance!! Whoo hoo! Zap. Equalized!!!

My friend explained that she was never really athletically inclined and hated gym class all through out her education and that rope-climbing and push ups and situps were embarrassing and confidence-crushing experiences.

In today’s schools it seems physical education is getting cut from the budget anyway, but I do think it’s a good idea to incorporate Zumba to get the kids moving (they’ll think they are dancing). I would have done Zumba over square dancing any day (although it was an opportunity to touch cute boys who never talked to you under normal circumstances).

There’s no equipment to buy, and the kids who can’t ring the bell at the top of the rope (or even get past the second knot) can participate with some confidence because they can see that the big football player could use a little help with his samba too.


Music Video Choreography: A No-No in Public

I’m going to have to do a three-part series on “going out when you are almost 30.”

Because things change. Even in how you party.

What you wear, how much you are drinking, what you are drinking, how long you are willing to stay, how (seductively)you dance, whether you are willing to pay and how much you are willing to pay to be in the place are things you give serious thought to as you get older. Furthermore, there’s just stuff you’ve decided that you just won’t do anymore.

Speaking of which, I recently learned that had I stopped doing one particular thing when I saw a girl in her early 20’s doing it.

I was recently at a party where it was a mixed crowd of upstart college journalists all the way to battle-tested, seasoned veterans. If you have ever seen Beyonce’s video for Girls Run the World, you know it’s quite complicated. I admit I’ve tried to do that shoulder bounce she does in the beginning in my bathroom mirror a couple of times. This is acceptable. It’s cute within the confines of my home when I’m alone.

But lo and behold, one of the youngins, a slim, good-looking girl is right on que busting the difficult moves in the middle of the party. I figured she’d stop at the opening shoulder bounce, but she handily made it into the second verse before stopping after realizing she had an audience besides her friends. It also didn’t help that I was yelling, “Look yall, she knows the whole routine!”

I can’t hate on her. I thought she did an excellent job. I wish I had that I still had that much time on my hands. When I did have that much time on my hands, I won’t lie. I too had a couple of routines that I learned and was happily proud to show off when I went out. Feel free to laugh.

Dru Hill’s sleeping in my bed remix.

Aaliyah’s Rock the Boat (my personal fav).

Brandy’s hand/arm thing in the I want to be down video.

The last time I tried to learn choreography to a music video was when the uber infectious “Single Ladies” (yet another Beyonce anthem) came out. That ended in me and a dear girlfriend out of breath and passed out on the floor laughing hysterically at how ridiculous we both looked.

These days, the most work I’ve put into learning a dance is probably the wobble wobble. I still don’t completely have it.

So yeah. If you are turning 30 like me, and you aren’t a professional dancer or a dance teacher, you may want to keep the complicated routines in the privacy of your own home or else you will be that “old head” you used to make fun of when you were in your early 20s.

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