I don’t have the moves of Gumby, forget Jagger.

I am all for new experiences… to an extent. I prefer them to be planned, I like feeling in control, and I shan’t–SHAN’T!–willingly step into a situation that almost certainly guarantees personal humiliation.

Barring that one time with Michael Buble, of course.

So why on earth I voluntarily signed up for a Zumba class is completely beyond me. Zumba, a “latin-inspired dance-fitness program” (sic) where participants are routinely expected to “booty shake,” involves dance skills that I simply do not have. My booty, as it were, is unshakeable. I know this to be true because anyone who has seen me dance before usually winds up looking something like the following:

It's normal to test your dance moves on small children, right?

Yet there I was on Monday night, fear-sweating at the back of the Zumba classroom, dignity be damned. The kind friend I had harassed into coming with me (bless her heart) assured me we’d get through this together, but that I should probably stop referring to the instructor as a “tanned Goddess” (…oh but she was).  The room was packed, which I decided was a good thing–more people to hide behind. But I still couldn’t shake (heh) the feeling that what I was about to do went against everything in the “Sarah Survival Guide,” and that I should run away screaming NOW, and the fact that this scene kept looping in my head probably meant something signficant.

But you know what? I stayed, and it. Was. AWESOME. Seriously so much fun. After the frustrating first five minutes of trying to make my hip move vertically whilst dodging the flailing fist of the young woman next to me, I suddenly realized that I was grinning like an idiot and bouncing around with the best of them. Plus no one was paying attention to my awkward gyrations anyway because everyone was too busy trying to keep up with the tanned Goddess’ our instructor’s energetic demands that we “FIESTA! SALSA! GET LOW! MOVE THAT PELVIS! SQUAT! HANDS UP! SMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILE!”


For those of you who have been to Zumba before, I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir. But for those of you who haven’t, gosh darn it you gotta go. Like ASAP. I went into that room with zero dance skills, and I left not caring that I still had zero dance skills. I had fun, I felt great, and I’m definitely going to bust out my “fiesta” moves the next time I’m on a real dance floor.  Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go practice my booty shakin’ for next week.

Watch out, Beyonce.

For those of you interested in becoming a Zumba-phile, check out Trent’s fitness class schedule here.

About dontpanictrent

DON'T PANIC: A Trent Graduate Student Blog

5 Responses to “I don’t have the moves of Gumby, forget Jagger.”

  1. good on you…

  2. You have to try it to believe it…truly no one cares if you mess up 🙂 I’m lucky enough to have a ‘real person’ as my instructor though – she even messes up once in a while, makes it even better! Also, desperately want to know the rest of the Buble story…

  3. Christine Babikian Reply January 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Zumba was an unbelievably fun experience with you, Sarah! We proudly abandoned our repeated, comforting phrase — “we’re just here for ‘research'” — after the first five minutes. As a grad student, entertaining the idea of pushing aside “all the” theory/textbooks/writing assignments for a couple hours can be a distant fantasy at best. Yet, however tempting the logical justifications of multitasking might be when convincing yourself that you can get away with exercising at Zumba while simultaneously holding and reading Textual Scholarship, I encourage all grad students to put down the books for a brief moment and try a fitness class. At the very least, a few laughs helps elevate the stress.

  4. I do recall some sweet dance moves at camp… relevant thing #4 that camp counselling taught you for graduate studies? lol

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