Sep 29, 2011

"I sent you to Vegas with a pocket full of paper..."

Those are the lyrics that were first spout from the mouth of our instructor. It was a tough crowd to say the least. I had sped from The Thompson in Beverly Hills after working David Beckham's cologne launch (he's even better looking in person, ladies) to my beloved Zumba class, a class I once loathed, yet was determined to try something "new," so stuck with it.

An acquiantance on Twitter, Whitney, puts Zumba into perspective: "I feel like an outcast at a Quinceanera." And how, Whit. Because that's exactly how I felt this first time. A majority of my class was at least a bit Latin or if anything, Mexican, and understood the moves without having to be shown even once. The Caucasians in the house (myself excluded) had apparently been dancing for Ricky Martin the past 13 years -- or at least that's how it seemed -- and I was the stereotypical white chick without any Latin groove at all.

Most people know me as the girl who will dance like she's drunk, sober. Or, the girl who will bust out full-on choreography while beligerantly drunk. Doesn't matter where (the bar, the street, the office) or to who (Beyonce, *NSYNC, Katy Perry, Britney Spears), but I love to dance. It is my passion (Italian accent), however I'm pretty much a scaredy cat when it comes to joining a legit dance crew or anything, because I don't take instruction very well. I have to just do things over and over before I get it.

This was my initial fear with Zumba. But once you stop being fearful and start enjoying the class for its aerobic benefits, you actually pick up on the moves and become decent. I would go as far as to say  I am now "good," if not "great" at Zumba, and I attribute this to my endless days of learning Britney & *NSYNC choreography from my VHS player. The instructor even moved me up to the front of the class. So having this new so-called confidence to hang on to, I enthusiastically haul ass to the gym on Monday nights in order to partake in some salsa, rumba and even some conga.

Except this Monday. It's 7:05 and the full class of (mostly) women are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our instuctor, Elony, who always shows up early, with flat feet (perfect for any Latin dance) and full-on Zumba garb. Then walks in a tall blonde guy, in skinny jeans, Creative Recs and hair that rivals Zac Morris.

"Hey guys. Sorry, your instructor is not coming today... but I am here!"
(Cheers ensue)
"Except today... we're doing something different. I'm teaching you all hip hop."

Cheers cease. Anxious smiles turn into frowns. The terror in the room is thick enough to cut with a knife. Based on the ghastly reactions, you would have thought that he told us we were all about to be massacred, our puppy died, we were going to be sold into sexual slavery... any of those options could have been the case, given the absolute dread and anguish being projected in the room.

Myself and a few other girls, who probably were on drill team or were cheerleaders, seemed more enthusiatic than most. I mean, what the hell. Why not? I had always wanted to try the Hip Hop class but was too nervous to partake for fear all the other participants would be legitimate, professional dancers just looking to break a quick sweat for 50 minutes; I can't stand losing at anything, and I was not about to be the loser of the bunch. So this would be a painless way to dust off the old dancing shoes and see if I could remember choreography as well as I once had.

He went slow in the beginning and we figured out quickly we were learning a Britney dance. Score. Most of the class tried it out at first, but slowly a couple handfuls started to trickle away. Some people were pissed, shaking their heads in disappointment. Otherwise would laugh it off and retreat to the Stairmaster. But we forged ahead and learned a solid 40 count of choreography before performing it for half the class in groups, and needless to say even the older Latina women got into it. We were booty poppin' like we needed the money and sweating like Casey Anthony in court. By the way, I don't know how strippers don't sweat bullets. Not like I've witnessed a stripper for myself, but if you are popping you booty that long and that fast... one would be inclined to believe that sweating would occur. My entire derriere area still feels numb.

Moral of this story? Try something that scares you. Every person in the room benefited last night -- we all worked up a sweat, we learned a new dance, and some women even conquered their fear of dancing in front of other human beings. It was a win-win. Maybe I'll try the advanced class next time and really try to be en fuego. And maybe I won't be as butt-hurt by then.

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