One practises Zumba, a fitness class masquerading as a dance class, to blasting Latin American music such as salsa or merengue. It’s original in that it marries fitness and dance, both a solid workout and a lot of fun.
I attended a Zumba class at the RAWC where about 25 girls had come to take part in a session that involved tremendous efforts on their part from the get-go—as if if you were a kid in 1983 trying to teach yourself to moonwalk like Michael Jackson (or if you can’t imagine that, then come up with a less dated reference). Going by what I saw, I strongly recommend that more males sign up for a Zumba class. I’m no expert, but I imagine being able to Zumba could be beneficial for a man who needs to fend for himself on the dance floor on pub night.
From a fitness standpoint, Zumba requires a high level of stamina. There’s squatting, clapping, and waving, which sounds simple on paper but is taken to a whole new level when you have to keep in time with the pulsing sounds of Shakira. Zumba does challenge your shyness. You must be prepared to appear ridiculous at first in order to really grasp the moves and make them your own. But after razzling and dazzling my body through the first song, I felt as comfortable as a man in a Zumba class full of women possibly could—that is to say, not very.
The girls were nearly breathless after the third song. Their arms started to dangle like the inflatable plastic figures outside car dealerships, but with less enthusiasm.
The fifth song was the most challenging yet. A physically drained participant dropped to the floor during the song and stayed there for a good minute, something I’ve come close to doing in the past after receiving my midterm marks.
At the end, everyone was moving to a slower, more relaxed tempo. I found the dancer inside me and shimmied until the 50-minute class came to an end, hopeful to return for another spoonful of salsa next week.