Tuesday, August 4, 2009


My friend Holly and I have been exercising every morning with a method called Zumba. I have included a few pictures, which really don't do the whole thing justice. Zumba is a dance exercise based on Latin dancing - mostly salsa. Click here to see an example of the class.

If you want a dose in humility, take a Zumba class! Especially a Zumba class in Mexico. Holly and I are two of the maybe five gringas in the room (out of about 80 women). We have noticed that the average Latina in the class seems to have a pivot in her body that Holly and I don't have. We can move our torsos and hips separately, but the women in the class can move their legs completely independently of their hips, also! Plus, they can do some fancy shoulder and arm movements.

Our instructor, Cesar, is a lithe and talented dancer. He is, shall we say, fit and handsome and uses a lot of hair gel. He puts lots of flourishes into the steps. These flourishes are completely beyond Holly and me, so we have to look to someone in the class to figure out the steps. Here's a tip. That stout older woman in front of you is NOT going to be the one to watch. She will be able to wiggle her body like a 19 year old senorita. We have found our best bet is to find someone currently injured - we look for an ace bandage around the knee. That woman will be eliminating the extra foot twists and little hops that everyone else is doing. Once we get the basic steps down we can watch (and admire) the rhythm and style of the able-bodied women.

One of the other challenges I find is that some of the suggestive wiggles, bumps and grinds are gestures I was not permitted to make during my youth. I have been trying to get into the swing of them. Take a moment and imagine how ridiculous a middle-aged gringa looks trying to figure out how to do a whole series of rapid pelvic thrusts to music!

Oh, and one other thing. This workout costs us 20 pesos - about $1.50! By the end of the hour class, everyone is literally dripping sweat. It is a lot of fun, and we feel quite virtuous.


  1. Well, I'd rather see a photo of Cesar.....I watched the video - my sister Amy dances like that,usually on the dining room table, right after her third glass of wine.

  2. I've tried Zumba right here at our NY Sports Club, and as the only male in the group, it is borderline humiliating; but definitely good aerobic exercise, and I feel great after finishing an hour (although the last 15 minutes are particularly daunting). I'm only amazed that my lack of sync with the rest of the class doesn't throw everybody off pace. I'm hoping that's because they're not watching me..... :)