I start this new year by telling myself I want to learn something new every year, try something unfamiliar, or do something I have never done before. I want my life to be filled before I get too old to try. Let’s see, I have run two marathons, climbed a mountain, went on a hot-air balloon, learned painting, wrote a novel, and done other more mundane things not worth mentioning. Some things I am not so proud of: I have yet to complete a carpet runner I am knotting (5 years since), I won’t do bungee jumping, diving or fly a plane. I would like to try sky diving and pole dancing probably in the future.
Friends always tell me how fun Zumba class is. I wanted to try but didn’t fancy committing another class to my twice weekly yoga class. I needed a push and it came in the form of Bee’s Groupon deal. Bee shares the same thinking as me. Her weekend mornings are spent in yoga and Pilate and she didn’t really have time for any other classes during the weekdays. But a chance offer on Groupon proved irresistible – 4 classes of Zumba for $22. The timing was flexible. We could start and end any time with prior notice, and go for evening weekday classes or afternoon classes on weekends. The dance studio offering it was near my house (a big consideration for me, not for Bee who has to drive from Aljunied to Bukit Timah).
On Saturday, we started our first lesson. Our teacher, a male in his early twenties, resembled my eldest son, Andreas. The first thing when Bee came in was to tell me the same thing, ‘Hey, he looks like Andreas! From his looks to his built.’ In the full class of close to twenty plus mostly middle-aged women of all races, he could be any of our sons.
Promptly at 4pm, he gathered the class to face the full-length mirror in front, introduced himself and told us that Zumba originated from Latin dances. He would not be teaching us any steps. ‘Just follow me,’ he said. Easier said than done!
The music started. A fast Latin beat song came on and he started moving his arms and legs together. Huh? How to follow? It was so fast! That’s when I realized I have very poor body coordination. I tried to move my legs in tandem with his, leaving my arms hanging limply by my sides. After a while, I could follow the repetitive moves and tried to incorporate my arms. Luckily, the steps were rather repetitive and I could follow after repeating it three times. The problem was the whole sequence changed after about four rounds. Just when I could do one round to my satisfaction, the whole sequence changed. Thus most time, I was just moving in the general direction as the instructor and not keeping to beat.
The Zumba steps incorporate dance moves pilfered from Latin dances, Bollywood, and even belly dancing. There were much hip thrusting and shoulders (or breasts) jiggling. After every song, we clapped to signal the end, had a slight pause before continuing to the next song immediately. Despite not knowing the steps, I had worked out a sweat and panting slightly by just moving my arms and legs. There was a five-minute break at the half hour mark before we continued again.
At the last five minute, a slow song came on and he took us through a series of stretches standing up, some poses very similar to my yoga moves. And then, the hour was up.
Despite my clumsy moves, I enjoyed the class. It would of course be more fun if I knew what to do and could dance to the beat. Still, it felt good to have worked out a sweat at that hour when I would ordinarily have been napping.
Three more classes to go before I decide my commitment.