Just another rambling fool at WordPress.com

Let’s Dance



A bit of an exercise fanatic, I’ve tried every new fad that’s come down the pike since the late 70’s. If asked, I’d say Zumba ranks pretty high up on my goof-ball list. I think I’d file it right after Crossfit, which beats Zumba (but not by much) for sheer stupidity and risk of injury.  I don’t know what it is that makes women want to gather in a large (either much too hot or far too cold) ugly room and dance to music that most of them would never be caught listening to, little own dancing to unless alcohol was heavily involved. But since every female my age has been raving about Zumba for several years, I decided to check it out for myself. I mean, how wrong could they be?


When I was in fifth grade my entire gym class had to take square dancing. I’ve been highly suspicious of any activity that has you line up on a gym or a dance floor ever since. As I searched for an out-of-the-way spot on the hardwood floor I had the good sense to try to carve out as much personal space as humanly possible, but that didn’t last long. As more and more women joined the class I found myself practically standing on top of the women on both sides of me. I knew that wouldn’t bode well.


It seemed like everyone was pretty familular with one another and there was plenty of camradarie, which is code for: newbies stuck out like a sore thumb. A couple of ladies asked if this was my first time. When I assured them it was, amused looks passed between them. Then one lady said, “Dont’ worry. Nobody knows what they’re doing at first.” I’m sure that was meant to reassure me, but I found it a trifle annoying. Like, I was about to become the token entertainment for the evening. When they said the best place for a newbie was right up front, I knew they had to be kidding. About then a pretty, willowy, 30-something woman walked to the front of the class. She wore a huge smile and far less clothing than the chilly winter air seemed to dictate. She welcomed everyone, gave a few announcements, then addressed the newbies joining the group. (Me) “Just do what you can and have fun!”


Bottom line, you’re left to decipher the moves yourself. Some steps repeat enough that by the time the song ends you might have one or two steps figured out, but as I soon found out, that’s rare. Each song is accompanied by an intricately choreographed dance that borrows heavily from hip hop, jazz, tap, Latin, rap, ballet, and salsa. In all honestly, I’d never heard any of the music before in my life and some of the lyrics had me wondering just what the heck I was “dancing” to? I felt beyond silly and I’m sure I looked even worse. Every now and then I’d glance around. Lo and behold if we didn’t ALL look like idiots! Only the instructor looked great. She really nailed it.


Most people think Zumba is a great way to burn calories and have fun. Maybe it is, but it’s also keeping the orthopedists busy. Many participants say it’s addictive, which means lots of middle age women are taking way too many Zumba classes every week. And that adds up to over-use injuries. For those who shouldn’t be jumping around five (or more) hours a week, some Zumba instructors will teach ways to modify their routines. But not all of them do. So it’s up to the participants to figure out if they should make changes, and most don’t until it’s too late.


I dunno. I happen to think the photo in the header is pretty accurate and it makes me wonder if life won’t offer enough opportunities to make an ass out of myself without signing up and paying to be publicly humiliated.

10 responses

  1. Tried Salsa years ago and that’s definitely me on the right – even though I love to dance, gotta keep it to the barn when I’m mucking out with the radio on!

    September 13, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    • There you go! There’s something to be said for privacy, eh?

      September 16, 2013 at 3:24 PM

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  4. My question with Zumba is…with soooo many people doing it, why are none of them in shape? Or is that just my experience?

    September 14, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    • Many of them are in great cardiovascular shape. However, that doesn’t mean the ones doing it for fat loss are meeting their goals. For that to happen you have to modify your dietary habits, which few people ever do with any lasting success.

      September 14, 2013 at 10:49 AM

  5. I really like the slants you take on life. Great post–original and fun!

    September 14, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    • Thanks! I’ve probably offended Zumba lovers everywhere, but it was satire. Over-use injuries aside, Zumba is a pretty fun way to exercise … if you’re into the group class thing!

      September 14, 2013 at 10:46 AM

  6. I tried it once. The instructor was a 20-something professional ballerina. The rest of us were not. When she moved, it was gorgeous. When the rest of us moved, it was not. Struck me as paying to hop energetically around a room. I can do that at home for free.

    September 16, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    • Starting at age 4 or so, I took tap, ballet, jazz, ballroom and the infamous square dancing gig in school. While some of it was fun, group dancing for exercise really isn’t my thing. Ballroom was really cool though, and it didn’t hurt that the instructor was very, very good and easy on the eyes. Oh, baby! OK, so why did I give that up? Oh yeah. Cost. It’s also really expensive.

      September 16, 2013 at 3:30 PM

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