Deb: I started taking Zumba lessons in September. For those of you who don’t know, Zumba is a major cardio workout with a Latin twist. We samba and mambo and generally shake our money-makers ... which after fifty is defined as "loose-change-maker".
But something happened to me in Zumba class. I decided that I didn’t care if I was the worst one in the class and the reward for that is ... I’m not. Not by a long shot. I am the oldest by a mile and I am bending the deepest and breathing the lightest. My arms and tummy are not rock tight, it’s true. They are not even sand tight, but I’m moving it, mama, and LOVING IT!
I spend one quarter of my time in Zumba trying to get the moves just right and trying to work it to the max. I spend the other three-quarters thinking, “Look at me, Ma, I’m doing it!!!” Honest to Pete, I am tickled to death with myself.
I don’t even think it’s just the fact that I am not awful at it. The real joy comes in the “don’t care” package. Finally after all these years of caring what people will think of me in any and all classes, auditions, and public appearances, I DON’T. And the freedom is worth more than all the calories I am burning. When the gal who owns The Joy of Dance cautioned me that another class I was looking at––lyrical jazz––is tough, I said that I did not at all mind being the worst one. She was surprised and thrilled.
Now full disclosure––will tell you that I do dance and have always been athletic, but I do NOT excel at dance at all. In the living room, I am Pavlova and Gwen Vernon (edited to say: Gwen VerDon. Blaming it on middle-age) wrapped up into one. But my issue is the steps you see. The dreaded memory. So as I am moving, I applaud myself when I remember the step and I shake my small-change-maker till I get the next step that I just forgot. But mostly I smile. Big shit-eating grin on my face, I tell ya! After the first class I went up to the teacher to say, “Thank you, I love this class!” And she said, “I know, I could tell”. My heart swelled and I walked away like the Cheshire cat, proudly wearing my Zanadu headband, saying softly to myself, “Atta girl. Well done.”
Barbara: Oh, Deb! Love how I’m picturing you Zumba-ing in the streets, gathering us all behind you like the Pied Piper of free-spirited, don’t give a fig, need a good shimmy and shake, middle-aged (or whatever aged) converts.
I loooooove to dance. Always have. But I am completely lame as a performer of dance. Can’t follow a routine to save my life. But put me on a dance floor with no expectations, no matter how many people around or how bare the floor, I will let loose. As if to save my life.
Trouble is, I don’t have too many invites to shake the ol’ money-maker. The hubby isn’t game. At all. And all the best intentions my gal-pals and I have to cut loose at some club kinda go by the wayside, stymied by distance, work, or pressing responsibilities. Deb, you may have inspired me to join your club. Lead me on, oh Cheshire Cat. Lead me to your dance floor.
And here’s a little something to maybe inspire you.