I’ve always thought of Zumba as a bit of a fad and not much more – definitely not something I’d ever try. But over the last couple of weeks as I’ve been writing about Zumba (in not a very flattering light, unfortunately), I realised it was something new I could give a go.
And after a single session, I’m a convert.
Before the class tonight, I expected to be intimidated. The Thursday lesson, hosted by Z Club NY, is held at Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet in Tribeca – and I envisioned reams of spandex, neon tank tops and me huffing and puffing alone in a corner.
As it turned out, the minute I walked through the door, the teacher of the class, Danielle, grinned at me and I immediately felt welcome. I warned her I’d never done it before and she gave me invaluable advice: If in doubt, just shake your butt.
At first, as I focused on the moves, I was so stiff. I felt like I was always ten steps behind and after about 20 minutes I realised I’d not moved my arms once.
But throughout it all, Danielle smiled – and so did I. I realised that the less I concentrated on what I was doing, the better it felt. And as soon as I realised that, my hiney was shaking all over the shop. There was shimmying, thrusting and even body rolling.
And it was some work out. It reminded me a little of the Bootcamp class I took a few weeks ago – we were constantly moving, and the routines changed so often that I never actually focused on the fact that I was working out. The hour flew by. And at the end I was a pink-faced mess.
Apart from the great workout, one of the best parts of the class was how welcome I felt. (I learned that bizarrely Danielle is a high school maths teacher by day – one of her seniors was even in the class for credit. I shudder thinking about any of my former maths teachers shimmying in spandex.)
It was a bit of a surprise that the class wasn’t more popular (there were only six of us), but she said her Monday session in the Upper West Side is much busier. People dancing right in each others’ faces supposedly – which sounds even more fun, although I wonder if this smaller one is better for beginners to find their dancing feet.
Either way, I learned this is definitely not a fad – and it’s definitely something I’ll be doing again.