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Shake Your Groove Thing with Zumba

The Unhip Chick learns dancing like a superstar is harder than it looks.

When I was a pre-teen, I fancied myself becoming a runway model when I grew up. I even asked my mom to subscribe to a modeling trade magazine for me so that I could learn all the insider information about the glamorous and exciting life of a model.

Take one look at me now, or then, and it is glaringly apparent that this career choice is not, nor has it ever been, a viable option for me. Short drumstick legs, pillowy abs, and too much maximus in the gluteus just aren’t in demand on the runway, unfortunately.

The way we see ourselves is not always rooted in reality.

But old habits die hard. This, surely, is why I believe I can dance like one of those uber-coordinated, rhythmically-gifted dancers in a music video. I love to dance, and in my mind I can hip and hop like Usher and put a ring on it with Beyoncé.

I endeavor to prove my abilities several times a week at the Zumba dance class I take.

Since pretty much the only opportunity I get to dance anymore is at wedding receptions, Zumba gives me a chance to groove it and move it on a regular basis. I started taking this Latin dance class several years ago when it became all the rage in fitness.

Like the rest of the ladies in class, at first I was a bit intimidated (OK, a LOT intimidated) about shaking body parts I spend most of my time trying to keep from shaking.

By the number of nervous laughs, I don’t think I was the only one feeling this way.

But, our instructor told us to check our inhibitions at the door and, to varying degrees, that’s what we did.

It didn’t take long for the delusions of grandeur to begin.

Since there were no mirrors in the room, I was fairly confident that I was dancing like a superstar. This fantasy continued until my favorite instructor opened her own fitness studio in Zelienople last year—No Excuses Fitness by Kelly—and installed mirrors on every wall.

Reality check.

Turns out I’ve got a long way to go before I’ll be auditioning for any music videos.

The nice thing is that it doesn’t really matter. Zumba is fun! The class is filled with women (and occasionally a guy or two) of all ages and sizes, and no one cares how well you can dance. Everyone is too busy trying to master the moves herself to worry about how anyone else is doing.

It’s a great workout, and one of those kinds of activities where you can put as much or as little into it as you want. I prefer to go all out because then I can really feel like I'm working toward my fantasy goal of becoming a music video dancer.

I’m beginning to realize that it’s quite likely I’ll never be offered a scholarship to Juilliard’s dance school or be asked to choreograph Janet Jackson’s next video. I don’t care. I’m going to keep on dancing till my groove thing stops shaking when the rest of me stops.

And then, maybe I’ll dance some more.

Amber February 22, 2011 at 05:12 PM
I LOVE IT! Great article Leslie! Zumba is awesome, and everyone should give it a try- especially with Kelly!
alliepsobczak@yahoo.com February 22, 2011 at 09:07 PM
Mirrors would scare me. Nice article.
Alyson February 23, 2011 at 08:56 PM
This was a great article and as a willing participant in ZUMBA at NO EXCUSES FITNESS BY KELLY, I would recommend anyone to give it a try. Whether you become a top notch dancer or not it is a lot of fun and a great way to incorporate fitness into your routine.

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