Sunday, February 10, 2013

Kale Tries Zumba

I was six years old when I first expressed an interest in dance. Knowing it was deviant – but not quite knowing why – I told my parents that I wanted to try ballet. Ma, likely bothered by the thought of wee Kelsey in a tutu, forbade this, which could explain why I am about as limber as firewood today. Who knows what would have happened if I enjoyed ballet and became a dancer? Maybe I would have become a world-class ballerino, in that stunning physical shape which always accompanies dance talent. Damned heterosexism.

Throughout High School, I assumed it was cool to dance like Ian Curtis:

And throughout College, I thought Thom Yorke had all the right moves:

In truth, I probably resembled Mark Corrigan:


Very recently, when given the option to either try dance or exercise at a local studio, I chose both, in the form of Zumba. I looked-up some clips on YouTube before going. The various dances looked complicated, but I believed that the instructor would teach us the basic moves as we went along. This was not the case. As our instructor explained, she would bellow out the occasional instruction, grunt or sound effect while dancing, but we were mostly advised simply to copy her moves. After assuring my fellow tyros that any movement at all was valid, she cranked-up the volume on her yellow boombox and suddenly started dancing. Everyone joined in. I gave it my best shot.

There were wall-length mirrors directly in front of me, reflecting the moving Zumba instructor; behind her danced the class, slightly delayed, like a string of incompetent back-up performers. I was the worst. While the instructor’s arms appeared to be wooing a potential lover with martial arts, violently declaring amoré, my own flailing arm gesticulations must have resembled one of my old, Israeli uncles trying to haggle-down the price of a used car. My lower body, attempting to imitate the instructor's sexual, feminine struts, instead jerkily frolicked about, a bit like a bunny winning the lettuce lottery, or a young child who really, really needs the bathroom. Hence my attempt at Zumba'ing.

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