The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hips Don't Lie: The Zumba Story

Belly dancing, booty shakin' Latino singer Shakira came onto the music scene a few years ago just as fast as her hips could take her. I remember watching her on television in complete awe that her body could even do such movements. It's like her hips and shoulders were completely disconnected from her body, with some director in the sky somewhere puppeteering their flawless, easy movements. I say all this to say that, until now, my fascination and deep envy for spicy Latino dancing had been pretty much kept on the down low. Then entered Zumba.

Putting exercise infomercials on television in the very late hours of the evening is a genius business move because all rationale is gone by that time of day and people sit there and think, "Wow, I really do need scissors that can cut a penny in half." Likewise, I sit there and become instantly enthralled by exercise equipment. Though I have never gone so far as to order the waist strap that magically gives you a six-pack through vibrations, I have decided to order bizarre exercise videos like Yoga Booty Ballet and Zumba.

Zumba is the upbeat, spicy dancing I have longed to learn. It comes with maracas that serve as toning sticks and features dance moves from various countries. I saw older women dancing on television, looking fairly decent, and I thought to myself, "I am young. I am hip. I have energy. I am going to be so smooth doing this."

... Insert DVD.

The worst thing you can do for yourself when you are trying to be a saucy Latino for the first time is to look in a mirror for the first month or so. I made that error on Day 1. In my head, I felt as though my hips were circling as fast as theirs; it's like sweat was pouring down my face and I just knew that it was because my booty circles were going 100 miles per hour.

I glance at myself in the living room mirror and it dawns on me that I look like someone who has just had a hip and knee replacement. My hips were slowly hitting each dial on the imaginary clock circling my body and each jutted movement made it look like I was hula-hooping on the playground instead of dancing it up with Roberto in Brazil. In other words, my hips were lying, Shakira.

Next comes the shimmy. This should be easy enough, right? I mean, how hard is it to shake your shoulders and nothing else? Once again, I did the mirror glance. Instead of the Jennifer Lopez-type figure I had in my imagination was a girl who was rocking her torso side to side, flinching her shoulders like she was in the middle of a hearty laugh. I also failed to have the face of ease and piercing eyes that the girls on the video have. It's like they could be doing this in their sleep. My face marks an expression of sheer determination and competitiveness rather than a look of effortless sexiness. Like some Latino hottie is going to come and dance with the girl who looks like she just saw the finish line during a half-marathon.

I realize that it probably took Shakira some time to get the hang of the whole dancing thing; while it may have taken a healthy breakfast of Gerber and a diaper change to get her on her way to such natural talent, it may take a little more to get me where I need to be. I just know that it will get easier, I will get better and I will love doing it in the process. Laughing at yourself is the medicine of life and every day that I slide that DVD into the player, I know I've got an hour of it coming up.

I may not ever get to visit Brazil or Mexico or countries where Reggae music is played; but I will never forget the travels and dancing clubs I visited on my living room carpet.


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August 2, 2010 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger Cole said...

hahaha I loved this one! I have been hearing lots about Zumba lately... I might have to borrow your DVD sometime to try out this craziness. And I will be sure to avoid mirrors while doing it :P

October 8, 2010 at 3:24 PM  

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