Tonight I tried Zumba for the first time. I was not very good. The answer to the question “so you think you can dance” was a resounding no. But I don’t care one bit. In an effort to reconnect with my 14 year old daughter, who has been going through a “mum sucks” phase, I signed us both up for the local Zumba class. She is quite the mover when it comes to dancing.. me, not so much. But I’ve always fancied myself a hot blooded Latin type (even though I’m not Latin) and I thought this would be just the thing.
Our first little hurdle was turning up at the wrong church hall. There was a big sign saying “SHHH! YOGA IN SESSION” but no hint of thumping music. I saw a woman emerge from the building in exercise type gear and I asked her. She said “oh, the Active Expecting class is just on the left”. My 11 year old piped up “that’s a pregnancy class, you have to be pregnant to go there” and the woman pretended she hadn’t taken in my post holiday belly and made the assumption I was about 6 months along. I doubt she missed the slightly crestfallen look on my face. On the bright side, I guess some people think I’m still young enough to be having babies. Was a bit of a mood killer though.
Anyway, we realised our error, jumped in the car and headed to the other church hall, where things were in full swing. My daughter, full of teenage angst was worried about the number of “skinny girls” who might be in attendance, adding to her feelings of inadequacy. For the one millionth time I assured her she looked just fine and when we entered the class there were about 12 women of all shapes and sizes. Hurrah! All of them were dressed in regular exercise gear, except the instructor of course, and the instructor’s mum who welcomed us in and then jumped right back into routine in her rather funky “zumba” pants.
I had expected an innate talent to spring forth as I gyrated and stomped however, it seems that even working out my left from my right was going to be a challenge. But it didn’t matter. Apart from the instructor there was only one woman who had the routines down pat. Otherwise the women there varied in the ages, sizes and ability. Perfect.
My daughter took to it as quickly as I knew she would and we laughed and danced and jumped together. There were some very funny moments involving some hip wiggling, shoulder shimmying and what can only be described as pelvic thrusting. But we embraced it all with enthusiasm and it was well worth it.
A couple of times when I wasn’t furiously concentrating on our young and athletic instructor I caught sight of myself in the mirror and I almost let myself succumb to the negativity I felt when I could see fully the result of turning to food for comfort. But then I shook it off. It’s awful the ways we put ourselves down and I wanted to be a role model for my daughter. So I didn’t comment on the daggy t-shirt I wore or how many times I got the steps wrong or how enormous I felt. I simply laughed with her, shared her water bottle and vowed to the instructor that yes, we would definitely be back next week!