Friday, 24 November 2017

Dancing Like I Type

I've been going to a Zumba Gold (as in for old ladies) class for a couple of months now. It meets at noon on a Monday and even better than exercise, it makes me smile. The ladies there are quite friendly, always smiling and they often come over to chat. I've even run into people I already knew: a consultant microbiologist I used to work with and, once, Meriel's sister in law.

The class is run by a mother and daughter, Irene and Catherine. As much as dance leaders they are almost a comedy act. Irene expresses horror at some of Catherine's burlesque-type moves, then again, Irene shakes her booty pretty well too. The idea is that if you want a gentle workout, follow the Mom, if you want to work harder, Catherine is your leader. I tend to follow Catherine mainly because she wears very bright workout clothes that make her easy to see against the black background.

When Nutbush City Limits comes on, my heart sings along, but other than that I'm not really into most of the music, pop songs I don't know, strange Bollywood type stuff, or - I don't even know what it's called - I think of it as 'gangsta' music (and the choreography matches). I'm not sure what makes me smile more: the comedy act on stage, getting to shimmy and Charleston, or being a room full of women mostly over 60 doing gangsta moves or gyrating their hips.

There is a wide range of fitness and of dance abilities of course. Not everyone understands the way dance generally works (if we do it for 8 counts on the right I'll bet money we're going to repeat that move on the left). Some of the old dears end up just shuffling around and waving their arms, which is perfectly fine; better exercise than sitting in a chair all day. It's taken me several months to get several of the routines and there are still parts I haven't figured out since I can't always see Catherine's feet to follow. 

That's the part I was explaining to Bill about dancing and typing. When I learned to type I read every word but after several years of office work I discovered that sense of 'flow' where the letters enter your eyes and come out your fingers, without reading them at all. That's how people answer the phone and type at the same time. 

After 13 years (aged 3 to 16) of dance training, I've learned to watch someone's feet and to just follow, without much thought. I figure getting the feet right is the first priority, if only not to get stepped on when Catherine says 'travel'. The arms can come later. I can imagine that if you have to think about each step as it's done on the right and then figure out how to do that again on the other side, it can be frustrating. You can tell the ones who have dance experience, they just pick things up faster, and if I can't see the leader I try to follow them instead. 

If you haven't tried Zumba but you like to dance, I recommend you give it a go. I don't think of it as exercise at all, but playtime!


Jenny Woolf said...

I'm one of those people with two left feet, but perhaps I should give Zumba a go. I try to keep fit by cycling and walking which has the advantage of getting me to interesting places, so long as I choose a good destination :)

James said...

Hi Shelly its James ( man of the 50s). I just want to let you know I'm still here and enjoying your blog. Its as you say "a cup and a chat" Thank you!

Pauline Wiles said...

I love Zumba; I think part of the appeal is it keeps my brain busy, just as much as my feet. I've never had any dance training and am amazed how a change of music, plus waggling a limb in a different way, can evoke such different places and cultures in the world.