Sophomore experiences Zumba, is terrible at it

Emily Sheffield

The purpose of mankind is simple: to survive. Not just our own survival, but the survival of our genes — thus we see the importance of reproduction. And what better way is there of attracting a mate than savvy dancing?

I first attended Zumba at my mother’s suggestion. It was a dark Thursday night in January. I had managed to drag along a friend (it is notable that we both had minimal dance experience at the time) to experience the wonders of a Latin American workout regime.

If you are familiar with the ways of the gym, you know that it’s packed to maximum occupation after New Year’s, so when I first went to Zumba, the room where classes were held was stuffed. I had barely enough room to move, let alone dance. Either way, I had promised my mother I would try to make the most of it, so I told myself to endure this 60-minute horror and then I could go home and never come back. My friend and I shoved our way to the back of the room and chatted skeptically about what was coming (to her credit, she seemed more excited than I did).

When the music started, it was so loud I was sure everyone within a mile radius could hear it —  this I liked. For the first 30 minutes or so, I struggled to keep up. I couldn’t samba. I couldn’t salsa. I couldn’t shake my hips fast enough. I wasn’t half as flexible as I ought to have been. There is no doubt in my mind I looked like an uncoordinated, drowning chimp. Alas, I trudged on.

In spite of myself, I found I was actually enjoying the ridiculousness of the dance enough to overshadow the embarrassment of how terribly I was doing. Suffice it to say I was surprised. By the time the class ended, I was equally amused and exhausted. The best part of it all: no one looked at me funny. All of us (save for a few naturals) were struggling together. It was almost a bonding experience —  with complete strangers, no less.

Now I attend Zumba every Thursday (when I have the time). I haven’t gotten any better but I have learned to fake it by moving my feet too fast for anyone to notice I’m doing it wrong and that makes all the difference.