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Zumba – Swing those Hips Mama!

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I never really got caught up in the whole, “So You Think You Can Dance”, or “Dancing with the Stars” craze. Having been the subject of my mother’s vicarious wish to be Shirley Temple, I had performed a few too many “Good Ship Lollipop” renditions and attended too many cotillions to ever want to dance in public again. I also didn’t fancy making my boyfriend into one of the hundreds of men across the world who have been mercilessly dragged to a dance studio in the name of helping me achieve a “dancer’s body” and for the fun of wearing tap shoes.

Thankfully for those of us who are newly obsessed with all things twirly, Zumba has taken the skyrocketing popularity of ballroom dance and brought it into the gym. Now you can ChaChaCha in your trainers, partner-free!

I must admit I was skeptical – having run marathons and twisted myself into pretzel shapes for yoga gurus I thought ZUMBA would surely be fun, but probably not a “real” workout. I was sorely mistaken (make that very sorely). Alyona, a Russian Zumba instructor had me and my fellow classmates moving from one side of the room to the other, with the Samba, the Mambo and even a bit of the Hustle throw in.

Alyona reassured the first timers in the room that we would not forever be a mess of limbs, tripping over ourselves like footballers in a ballet class. So as good students do, we got focused and watched her feet. Thirty minutes in, we were all getting into the groove with Alyona’s encouragement and patience. We were using just about every muscle in our bodies, even in the ones in our faces. Smiles emerged as the furrowed brows and pursed lips of concentration morphed into the joy of real DANCING! Not the late night, cocktail boogie of Dragon-i fame, but the kind your grandmother always reminisced about. Jitterbugging and sashaying, the hour went by in a blink.

At the end, I felt so giddy and young that I nearly expected my mother to greet me at the door with a hug and snack (wish she had!). Zumba will probably not become my everyday regime, but it is a fun challenge and a great way for friends to motivate each other to stay fit. It forced me to learn some new tricks and to engage in the playfulness of dance (and I still got to check off the cardio box.). Since I am pretty sure destiny does not hold the next reality dance crown for me, I think I will just shake myself over to Zumba once in a while for pumping tunes and some hip-swinging (my boyfriend seems ok on the couch anyway).

Individual Zumba classes are HK250 at Flex. Packages available.

Flex Studio, 1/F Regency Centre (Phase II), 43 Wong Chuk Hang Rd, Wong Chuk Hang, Aberdeen, 2813-2212

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