Thursday, July 7, 2011

About My Zumba Love

Lately I've been teaching a lot of Zumba.  I mean a lot. I have two of my own weekly classes, and in addition to those, I am taking the opportunity this month to do lots of subbing for other instructors.  Next week, I am teaching seven classes!  I'm still loving every minute of getting paid to do something I love (and would be doing anyway even if I weren't getting paid for it).  Last August, I posted a story about how Zumba and I met.  Here it is again for those who didn't see it the first time:

When I was eight, I had a little group of neighborhood friends—Tracy, Stacey and Christa, a.k.a. the Windhill Terrace gang. We were a fearsome posse of thugs, decked out in neon t-shirts, jelly shoes and packing scratch-n-sniff stickers. As little girls do, we spent long, leisurely summer days swimming in Christa’s pool and playing with our Barbie dolls. One day I found my puppy in the midst of chewing up my Barbie’s left leg (BAAAD dog!), and she was heretofore dubbed Shark Bite Barbie. Tracey, Stacey and Christa may have had ambulatory Barbies, but I wasn’t jealous. I loved Shark Bite Barbie because she was different. (Plus, it was easier to get the clothes and shoes on her on account of her one leg.)

But I digress...this story isn’t about Barbie. Something wonderful showed up in my home around the same time that made me drop Shark Bite Barbie like a hot potato…MTV. It was the summer of 1983 when the cable company came around offering an illustrious new world of entertainment for any Anderson Township suburbanite that was willing to shell out the monthly fee. My parents were first in line.

I was never the same.

The lure of MTV for me, really, was the dancing. I had already discovered that I loved the music…I spent a good deal of time taping my favorite songs off of Q102 on my little pink cassette player and listening to them over and over again. But I was absolutely floored when I saw music videos for the first time on MTV. Here were my favorite artists and they were dancing in perfect rhythm to my favorite songs! I studied their moves and learned how to copy them. I spent hour upon hour up in my bedroom learning how to dance like Madonna, Janet Jackson and the Bangles. I actually wore a hole in the carpet in front of my mirror. (My mom still reminds me of this fact.) 

My little friends caught the MTV bug too, and soon enough we were choreographing routines and charging $0.25 admission to our parents to see our “shows” that we would put on for them. Luckily, our parents didn’t see any sort of marketable talent in any of us; otherwise we might have had very different lives today.

My love for dancing continued as I got older, where I enjoyed participating in cheerleading in middle school and gymnastics in high school. In my early 20s, I stumbled upon the new swing dancing fad while out drinking with friends at a bar and the bug bit me. Two days later I was enrolled in my first swing class and two years later I was performing, competing and teaching swing dance. I started dabbling in Latin dance from time to time as well. My love affair with partnered dancing has been a tumultuous one, and though I still enjoy occasionally going out dancing, it’s just not what it used to be.

In January 2010, I went to my first Zumba class and the dancing bug bit me again. Zumba was a mixed bag of everything I love about dancing: the familiar latin and hip-hop rhythms I knew from partnered dancing, upbeat music, and an amazing aerobic workout. By the end of my first class, I thought to myself, "I ought to be teaching this." Once my marathon training was over in May, I decided to go ahead and do it.  I got my certification in July 2010 and started teaching classes shortly thereafter.

I think it’s difficult the older you get to find passion in life. For me, I found it when I looked back at the one thing that brought me joy at age eight. At eight, I certainly wasn’t dreaming of crunching numbers on an Excel spreadsheet. Not me—I was busy wearing a hole in my bedroom floor learning dancing steps. And here I am, 25 years later, spending at least a few nights a week studying Zumba dance moves from DVDs and wearing a hole in the carpet of my floor learning the moves. Some things never change... 


Check out my Zumba page for details about my current and upcoming classes.

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