As a frequent yoga-goer and a hopeful future yoga-instructor, I brushed off a glow-in-the-dark Zumba class as another easy, minimal-cardio workout. The sensations in my body the next day suggested otherwise. I had gone to Zumba a few times before, and entered the dark room over-confident. At home, I Zumba at my gym with my mother and an elderly crowd; my non-dancer self thought I’d again be the best one on the dance floor.
Wrong. With the lights dim, and everybody donning their glow sticks, the DJ (yes, there was a hired DJ in the corner whom I faintly remembered from my Princeton High School homecomings) started the pounding music. Somewhere stuck between the middle and the back of the mass of girls, I strained to look for the Zumba leader in front of the crowd. She immediately began the routine exclaiming that it was time to “Salsa!” Apparently, I was the only person in the room (except maybe Hadley and Olivia) who had no idea how to do Salsa, much less how to Salsa first to the right, then the left, before pirouetting around to belly dance and repeat the steps.
Following the feet of the girl in front of me, who was practically a professional Salsa and tango dancer compared to me, I worked up a sweat and waved my Salsa arms furiously (apologies to the girl directly behind me who I lightly slapped). In the dark, I pretended my hip-hop and exotic dance moves were perfect. Who says you can’t look good while working out? Not me—especially not the Zumba-dancing version of me. Zumba class allowed me to release something that I can’t on the Street or at a diSiac audition—the exotic and sweaty dancer that I need to be sometimes. After all, not all of us can look so good while producing our moves.
The ladies who do Zumba should never be underestimated. Going to a black light Zumba “party” thrown by USG seemed a little trite and silly. I had dressed up in a bright pair of American Apparel spandex and donned my glow sticks jokingly – I mean, why wouldn’t I go to a Zumba party and dress like an ‘80s aerobics instructor? Then what would be the point? Well, the point was to get my butt kicked. Not knowing any of the moves was embarrassing – attending the class was not. The salsa and hip-hop routines had kicked my butt; Body Combat had punched me right in the stomach; my lack of coordination left me feeling dizzy. Despite the lack of coordination and stamina of the row I danced in, the five rows in front of me led those of us in the back. Though I do love being in the front row, leading the elderly men and women of my class at home, dancing with other University girls was more invigorating than dancing front row to a strange, elderly crowd. I will always be envious of every coordinated dancer in diSiac, Body Hype, Bangra, and P.U.B., but at Zumba I could let some of that hidden, flailing talent out, as the trained dancers in the front row led me through every step.