Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Adventures in Zumbaland

One of my resolutions for the year is to try some new things and go new places. A lot of the time this will entail doing some really fun things and seeing some great places.

Other times, it's going to be very confronting and rather scary.

Tonight's new thing to try was Zumba. The latest dance and exercise craze.

Joy. This falls firmly in the confronting and scary basket.

I should fill you in on a few facts about myself.

Firstly, I got to a lovely, normal people's gym. There are the grunty, sweaty boys at the front, the cardio section with the tellies and the treadies near on the other side of the aisle from the grunty boys and a smaller back gym where the normal people go where you can get on with your workout and be around normal people who don't need to make orgasmic noises when they bench press their lives away smelling badly of ketones. There are few posers (other than the grunty, sweaty boys and they only have eyes for themselves) but most people just go in and then get out with little fuss. Lycra unitards are a no-no. Daggy is the norm. I like it there. I feel confortable. I rather like chatting up the hot, Gen-Why slacker dude who is just a bit too cute for his own good on the desk. I'm there four or five times a week. It's a part of me.

Secondly. I am built like a refrigerator. I could easily throw shot put or discus for the Romanian Olympic team. I'm not little or delicate. My shoulders scare most men away. Trinny and Suzannah, those English doyennes of style refer to my body shape as a goblet or ice cream cone - wide shoulders, big breasts, no hips or bum and long legs. Not a dancer's build. I'm more comfortable boxing and cycling and kicking things. Set me off running and I'm happy. Dancing. Hmph.
Third factoid. I have a pathological fear of dancing in public. After being humiliated at a school social in grade six I've shunned the dance floor I've shied away from dancing. It takes a lot of alcohol or other strange substances to get me dancing in public. This does go deeper. As a child I was never allowed to do dance classes because my "ankles were too weak and I might mess up the surgeries." Now, at forty two, it's just something I don't do. I went to two belly dancing classes about five years ago - and gave up in despair. And we won't even go near partner dancing.... It's all scary.

So tonight, after a day of massaging and writing and talking to recruitment agents, I get my kit on - leggings, knee strapping, two bras and my favorite Che Guevara t-shirt. Normal gym gear. I'd bitten the bullet. Tonight, after Pump class, I'd go to Zumba - give it a try.

I think I'd rather fact a panel interview or a firing squad.

Knowing I was going to be taking part in this sponsored epileptic fit of a class, I made sure I dropped my weights down in pump.Okay - I only took off 2.5kgs from what I normally use - but it was a bit of respite. Body Pump is my favorite class. I can do Pump. It's in my realm of things to. The class went well.

Then it was time for Zumba. I introduced myself to the instructor - a lithe young thing with a stripper name (Tiffany / Amber / Holly). I explained that it was my first class and that my right knee wasn't up to jumping. She was very nice. I also explained that I have no rhythm  or coordination. She said that was fine. It takes practice. Hmm.

I then looked at my class mates. So this is where the lycra hangs out. Skinny, pretty little things. I wanted to run and hide - or at least go out and do a few rounds with the grunty boys - Che stared out from my belly with no amusement. Hmm. I felt rather out of place, but I was here to face a fear and there was no backing out.

An hour later, I left, pleased with myself, but still a bit disturbed.

I know now what the flying howler monkeys from the Wizard of Oz now do for a career. The instructor had a bevvy of whoops, grunts and "Marimba!"s. Lots of the moves resembled jungle creatures. Doing the elephant and the monkey was a bit interesting. I know I'm better with upper cuts, jabs and roundhouse kicks.

The other strange thing - my body doesn't do what it's told. I don't do left and right that well as I'm ambidextrous and I accept this with grace, but I found it rather confronting that when my shoulders were supposed to be shimmying, by arse wobbled. When I was supposed to be doing that bum wiggle, my shoulders shimmied. And don't ask me about my non-existent hips. They just go nowhere. They're rigid.

And what the hell is a jete? Or a plie? Or a grapevine? They talk another language!

In its defence, the music was fun. Lots of South American and African beats - reminiscent of Shakira and Johnny Clegg. As I'm not up to jumping, other than the  co-ordination factors, it wasn't stupidly hard class. It was also easy to modify for my knee.

Most confronting was watching myself dance in a mirror for an hour. The Zumba-ing Fridge. Great.

The instructor called me out after the class. She commented that there was nothing wrong with my co-ordination and that I did really well for a first timer. She hoped to see me next week.


On returning home, my heart rate monitor clocking over 1000 calories for the two and a half hour session, I reflect on just how big a thing this is for me.

Dancing and having my photo taken are two of my greatest fears.

Maybe I'll be back there next week for another session. Maybe getting my hips moving might open me up a bit - good for the Kundalini.

Maybe this is a fear I can kick in the next few months.

Zumba. Fun, hmm. Scary - for me, definitely. Life changing - maybe.

Right, to bed - knackered now.


Kath Lockett said...

"The Zumba-ing Fridge." I'm still laughing!

Good on you! I too have a fear of dancing when sober - let alone in front of Lycra lovelies in Zumba class. There's a reason why I have a treadmill in our dingy garden shed.....

River said...

Zumba does look like tremendous fun, but I'm sure if I moved like that after years of slothing, I'd be in traction for months.

JK said...

Oh I have had a secret wish to try Zumba! looks fun. Should I order the 12 CD set they sell over the tv late at night for about $400...?

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pandora,

I had to look up Zumba and spotted a YouTube entry for it with a young shapely woman cavorting around the room.

I must admit that it looks fun and energetic, which may result in me ending up in traction, alongside River.

I'll try to keep it secret from Mrs PM though because she might drag me to a Zumba class.