I walked into the hall after paying my admission fee and signing a waiver which basically said that if I was crazy enough to volunteer for what was to come it was nobody’s fault but mine. I was unconcerned, having already overcome my biggest health risk in putting on my gym pants with the cruel holding-power of a pair of Spanx, guaranteed not to spark in the event of inner thigh friction.
The murmur of female voices echoed off the gymnasium walls as I found myself a space near the front, staking my claim with carefully placed water bottle and towel. Being a novice, I felt a little nervous and hoped that I wasn’t accidentally usurping a regular’s place but I knew I would need to see the instructor’s feet if I was to have any hope in following along.
Swigging from my water bottle to stem my excitement (I was about to join the world of Zumba® after all) I surveyed the crowd for friendly faces but I seemed to be the only person unaccompanied. Never mind. I was confident that bonding would take place once the class got underway and everyone was sweating and samba-ing.
Thank goodness, most of my fellow participants looked nothing like the Zumba® enthusiasts I had seen on the internet: gorgeous, with a carefree sense of cool, wearing tiny tops that exposed their toned midriffs and of course, young. I was relieved to see that at fifty, I was not the oldest person in the room. All my classmates, mostly 35 plus, weren’t bronzed and beautiful, and were too modest or lacked the muscle tone for a cropped top. We smiled at each other, sharing camaraderie, aspiration, and a moment of female solidarity, solid being the appropriate word.
And that was it—with a blast of Shakira, we were off. The hour that followed was fast-paced cardiovascular fun to a Latin beat, punctuated by the peripheral view of our petite instructor, a pink-clad blur with super-human abs who danced the rest of us out of the room. Mercifully, the gym had no mirrors, but I think I understand why she had a big smile on her face throughout.
What we looked like, I don’t know, and I don’t think any of us cared. Once we settled into the routines, we felt we were shimmying like pros and when she called for the move known as “The Beyonce,” the entire room shook with our enthusiasm. (My enthusiasm was a little sore the next day.) By the end of the class we were all convinced that we had found our inner hot Latina selves.
So tonight I’m going back for another Zumba® class in a different sports hall. I’ll be going for a place at the front again—even if they’ve got mirrors!