Best of FauxFringe: The day I tried to conquer Zumba – and a video

Originally posted Sept. 5, 2013

Have you been following Bryan and Mike’s blog, A Few Thousand? Each day of their adventure has been so inspirational. Seeing the things they’ve overcome so early in this journey makes me realize that I can do anything I put my mind to, too. So today I decided to do something I’ve always been too intimidated to try:

Zumba.

Please understand me when I say: I am the worst at dancing. The worst! I am not coordinated. I have no rhythm. But when Mallory invited me to Zumba with a group of girls, I, high on Bryan’s encouraging stories, decided to go along. How hard could it be? Surely not hard at all.

For most.

Oh, gentle reader. Sweet, naive, kind reader. I was a mess.

I walked into the gym, which was at a high school in Broad Ripple. I quickly learned that the high school gym, much like a high school cafeteria, has a hierarchy. Well, at least during the Women’s All-Age Thursday Evening Zumba class. Observe:

gym

Three girls, who I came to realize were the instructor’s #1 fans, positioned themselves as close as possible to the instructor. These ladies were always a second ahead with each move (they didn’t need to crane their necks to see the instructor, like I did) and they were really good at the sharp! and punchy! dance moves.

Next to the fan club was a small group of Indian girls, one of whom was wearing jeans, who were also pretty good at the dance moves. I was happy that my little group of friends positioned ourselves behind these girls, because they really seemed like they knew what they were doing.

The middle-aged women seemed to be most comfortable in the back corner of the gym, and I coveted their hidden spot. And next to them, wayyyy in the back, was the sole male in the class.

The instructor walked to her position at the front of the room, the Fan Club stretching ferociously to prepare for their time to shine. Suddenly, the music started, and immediately, the instructor – and everyone else – started into some fast-paced dance moves. This took me by surprise, as I was assuming that there would be some sort of verbal instruction or introduction or something. How is an unsure Zumba virgin supposed to know what to do when there’s no instruction or introduction?

I’ll spare you the long, drawn out details: I was terrible. I was always doing things backwards, swinging my left arm when everyone else was swinging their rights. By the time I figured out how to do the moves, the rest of the group was already onto the next move. Sometimes, the instructor would use some secret language to let the group know they should spin around. I never did catch onto this signal, so I was always shocked when I looked up to find the entire class staring at me as they spun to face the back of the room. And there was booty shaking! And so much hip moving! And some sort of shake-your-booty-and-hips-while-marching-forward move. WHO CAN DO THAT, I ask you?

Mallory. Mallory can. So can all of the other ladies in the class. The Fan Club, in particular, really shined.

Still foolishly thinking I could conquer Zumba the way Bryan is conquering the Cascades, I tried to stay positive and keep up with the moves. I was in a pretty good mood – until the high school volleyball team entered the gym. Apparently, they had been practicing in a gym down the hall, and it was time for them to return the volleyballs to the storage room in our gym.

High school volleyball players haven’t changed since I was in high school, but I have. And, unfortunately, the storage room they needed was located next to me. So, while these tall, thin, blonde, Spandex-wearing, perky-bootied 17-year-olds took 45 minutes to put their volleyballs away, they also stared at me. I swear, they were looking right at me. All of them!

I wanted so badly to sidle over to them, explain that I was in high school not too long ago, that I’m not some sad nearly-thirty-year-old woman desperately trying to cling to my youth like they thought I was. “I’m cool, you guys!” I tried to communicate with my eyes and sarcastic glances. Sadly, by the time I looked back at the Zumba group after my telepathic pleading, the Zumba ladies had turned around again and everyone was facing me. Oh crap.

Eventually, the volleyball team left, prancing and flitting through the gym like mythical fairy goddesses, and I was left with my sweaty body and my wounded pride. The dancing continued for many, many more 2012 Top 40 Hits, and then it was over. I did it!

I wish you could have seen me. I was so bad. But I tried hard! I think you would have been impressed by my stick-to-itivness.

So, I compiled all the Zumba moves I could remember into this reenactment for your viewing pleasure:

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