Zumba – probably my new most favorite thing

29 Mar

So despite being a hopeless wannabe hipster I somehow managed to miss the Zumba bus when it was still hipster. I know there was a time Michelle Obama was doing it and skinny Indie Kids everywhere were going to Zumba in their converse before they remembered they didn’t like sweat and that anything that happy probably wasn’t for them in the long term.

After the hapless hipsters had abandoned Zumba to go listen to Belle and Seb the yummy mummys got in on the act. They could pretend to be young and cool by dancing with the celeb endorsement of M’Obama  still there to prove it wasn’t a) a cult or b) not for people their age. In addition afterwards they could all discuss what Apple and Plum had learnt at school whilst sipping on one of those mood ion drinks and discussing how great Zumba was for losing baby weight. Job done.

I first considered going to Zumba when I moved to Newcastle but all the classes seemed to sell out and the thought of going to the uni gym to do Zumba was too much for me. The uni gym is a place inhabited by girls with eyelashes and hair extensions who are all super skinny and seem not to sweat, which I can only assume is because they don’t actually exercise. The thought of Zumba with girls who looked like they might dance in a stylish manner and know about rhythm was not appealing. Nor was the almost certain need to have makeup on to go to the class in the first place. Or having to overhear what had happened in Sinners the night before, whilst the alcohol filled Sinners sweat penetrated the air. This Sinners air is not the air of last night’s fun, it is the air to today’s shame. It has no place in an exercise class where people over 21 are allowed to attend.

And so it was that shortly after the Zumba craze had been and gone I found myself in Chillingham Road School on a Thursday evening with Doc Gamble. Our first key move was that by going to Chilli Rd School there were no hipsters to be seen. When we arrived the other women in the room were all easily over 40 and one was clearly knocking on 60. There was no way that these women could be the paradigms of stylish dance that I can only presume the cast of Geordie Shore would be if they weren’t always so drunk in Riverside. As the class filled up a couple of other young’uns appeared, a few grannies and a host of middle-aged women.

What emerged was a heady mix of school hall, women of all ages and sizes and some banging tunes. I was transported back to the days of Peru instantly. As I shook my ass whilst jumping backwards I had a sense of deja vu that somewhere in Lima at 4am in a salsa club fuelled by cheap cocktails I had danced this move under the instruction of Peruvians (although it involved another person being there to grind my ass upon). As I span around in circles I was back on the dig parties I had raved away at, the salsa moves came flowing back and the music was so unbearably happy that I couldn’t help but  grin and sing along.

The reason that Zumba is so awesome is because of my experience in Peru – when I was in Peru everyone mocked my inability to dance: constantly. I was the butt of all the jokes because no matter how long they spent trying to teach me I could never salsa right, I shook my ass wrong and I constantly got out of time. I loved it though. When I came back to the UK I discovered quickly that dancing as if I were in a dark, smoky Peruvian club caused a lot of trouble, seemingly grinding and wiggling my ass into things was not what was called for. So my Peruvian dance moves come out only when I am very drunk. But when they do come out they are notably a touch better than other people’s salsa moves, so you know I clearly wasn’t that bad after all, not my fault I couldn’t get my ass cheeks to bang on each other eh?!

Zumba was like one of those rare house parties you go to where people start drinking and dancing and just don’t stop until 4am, and everyone just dances like they don’t care and they have a total ball, except that I was sober, I didn’t vomit anywhere, I didn’t pass out, I didn’t drunk dial, I didn’t wake up broken, I didn’t think I might like Skips again to discover I hated them, I didn’t ‘accidentally’ eat toast, no boy offered to walk me home, oh and the other party go-ers included some Grannies.

So I know there are several other PhD-ers out there that are trying Zumba at the minute. I say continue onwards! Nothing that makes me smile that much should be legal. And something that gets rid of that much stress whilst releasing endorphins is exactly the kind of thing HASS should be providing instead of bad coffee and powdered milk.

Time wasted from PhD: 20mins

Time probably gained for PhD from the sanity I think Zumba might bring: 60mins

Desire to do Zumba while drunk: STRONG

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One Response to “Zumba – probably my new most favorite thing”

  1. Oxford Archaeological Pervert March 30, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    If I can wear my orange dress while doing it, I’m in.

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