Friday, June 6, 2014


That's Me! Learning to Zumba


     I recall the first time I watched the Zumba class at the Plaza del Sol in San Pancho, Mexico , and wondered if I had the nerve to join in. Then, I thought, "I can't dance!"  By the way I look in some photos, maybe I can't dance, but who cares! Is Zumba really about dancing? No. Zumba is about feeling the music, moving your body to the music, and feeling good. A side benefit is that it provides exercise without feeling like a workout!
     Here is how my fear about dancing progressed since my first experience with Zumba over a year ago in San Pancho:

     Zumba Day 1: About 9:00 AM, I heard the lively Latin music coming in through the condo windows and wondered who was having a party at this time of day. I watched the Zumba class on the basketball court from the safe distance of my condo across the street and thought, "that looks fun, but I Can't Dance!"

Zumba with Nicole  in La Penita
     Zumba Day 2: When the music began, I thought, "I can just stand in the back row and watch." Before long, I noticed that my feet were moving to the beat of the music, though not exactly like the Zumba Instructor's feet. My feet were moving in a shuffling two-step, but at least I was moving in time with the beat. Then I noticed that my arms were involuntarily trying to imitate what the Instructor was doing, too! It felt good!

Zumba with Esther in San Pancho
    Zumba Day 3: When the Zumba class started, I decided to move from the back row up into the middle of the group of participants so that I could see the Instructor more easily. Soon I found that my feet were imitating the "one-two-three" steps of the Instructor's, in time to the spicy Salsa music. The rest of my body seemed to be keeping up with the Instructor pretty well, also. This was actually fun!

The Plaza del Sol Basketball Court
Zumba Day 7: I thought I should try to do that thing with my hips that the Instructor was doing. It looked so natural when she did it, but my hips didn't want to move like that at first. Little by little, I could feel that my feet, arms, and hips were becoming coordinated--and moving to the music! I was hooked on Zumba! 

Zumba Day 20: As one saucy song ended and I finished learning the Mambo steps, I stopped and smiled at the Mexican woman next to me. We had been doing Zumba near each other for a couple of months now, smiling at each other occasionally but never really talking since I don't speak much Spanish. She suddenly smiled at me in return and said in English, "Good Dancing!". I said "Thank You!" and thought, "maybe I can dance!" Then I thought, "If I can learn to Zumba, anyone can!" It's just feeling the music and moving with it."

Sunset in San Pancho, Nayarit
One thing I learned is that I may not speak much Spanish and my new Zumba friend probably doesn't speak much English, but we had a common language of Zumba! The sound and rhythm of the Latin music was so contagious, that each of us, Mexican Nationals and Gringos alike, found ourselves dancing together. While I was falling in love with Zumba, I also fell in love with Mexico, San Pancho, and the Mexican people.

For more information on Zumba in San Pancho, Nayarit, see my blog article dated January 12, 2014.

                                                                      COPYRIGHT ©2014 by Terry L Turrell
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