Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Q: When is Zumba not Zumba?

A: When it is taught by someone who isn't a Zumba instructor...

Went to my second Zumba class today... or tried do. Got there to find a different teacher than last week. Okay, no big deal. She was cute and perky and very sweet.

Two other women arrived, including one who had been in class last week as well. It seemed a little weird that the music the teacher was playing before class started was so different to last week -- but I figured that instructors make their own mix of music.

She started off by telling us that she was going to do more of a hip-hop feel.... with some isolations to really feel the movements. I thought, well, okay, maybe this is normal.

After 10 minutes of feeling like an idiot, it was with some relief that one of the women walked out. I mean, the moves were sort-of interesting, but they were super slow and yet weirdly complicated. The second woman kept stopping, getting a drink of water, and then trying to get back into it. I just tried to move my feet when the instructor did, missing most of the actual upper-body movement. And let's just say that I was only using my arms for balance...

The instructor stopped after 15 minutes and the other woman said that she really wasn't getting it -- that she doesn't have any dance training, so she gets really frustrated by trying to do the moves... that she likes Zumba because it's a lot more free and loose and she can just keep moving. She looked somewhere between upset and angry, but was trying to stay friendly. The instructor said, "Oh, yeah. That's really great feedback" in that voice that calm, connected, right-on people use. :) I piped up that it's only my second ever Zumba class, so I was just trying to get my feet in the right place.

The instructor said, "Okay, then, let's just move a bit more." Then for a few songs she did simpler -- albeit weirdly slow at times -- moves, and I got a bit of cardio in. Then she went off on another idea -- what we should "disconnect from the mirror" and "focus on percussive movements" and "imagine we're in tubes, where we keep bouncing off all the surfaces". The other woman and I gamely tried to move around, but she and I made eye contact and it was all we could do not to laugh.

I fear the instructor noticed our desultory "percussion" and said, "Ummm, okay, let's get back to these movements." And from then on, she kept things simple and we were moving around again. Every time we got through a song she would clap her hands and say, "Yay!"

I was surprised to have her shift to what felt like a cool-down with 15 minutes to go. We did spinal stretches, then a series of yoga moves, planks, and then even some floor work. Umm, how did this happen? With 10 minutes to go people started coming in for the 6:30 class and stared at us as if they, too, knew something had gone very wrong.

I was super relieved at 6:30 when she announced class was over and thanked us for all of our work. I smiled, said, thanks, and then tried to get out of there as quickly as possible -- though the other woman was faster. I walked up to her outside -- where she was chatting with a friend -- and said, "Umm, sorry to interrupt, but... was that normal?"

She laughed and assured me that it was not -- that tonight's instructor was a substitute who usually teaches hip-hop or NIA. Her friend said, "I got the time messed up and walked in at 6:20 and couldn't figure out why you were all on the floor...."

Apparently all of the other Zumba instructors are great -- that sometimes you just get unlucky. After all, as Wil pointed out, what would have been more frustrating for me: that I had a weird instructor, or that class was cancelled?

Anyway, I did get a bit of a workout (though not the killer workout from last week). But I'll be back next week!

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