Tuesday and Thursday, late afternoon, I go to a Zumba class. It takes place on one of the gym's three basketball courts, glassed-in, but I think soundproof, since the folks passing by look in, perhaps surprised by all the jumping bodies, but I have the feeling they can't hear the music which is, well, loud and latin.
We're a mixed bag of participants. Last quarter there were a couple of game men, but this term we're all women, backgrounds Latina, African-American, a large Asian contingent and the Caucasians. In general the Latin-Americans are really good at the Twerk, the rest of us, it depends, partly on age, ethnic background, possibly also marital status... And the instructor, male, Latino, is amazing: he can move every part of his body separately, starting, say, at the shoulders and working down. It's fluid, it's like waves moving down his body. Me, I just try to get the footwork and occasionally, if I can, add in some arms. A woman who's new this term, from Guatamala, who is an interpreter at the Children's Hospital, says I should come with her to another zumba class, where the instructor pays a lot more attention to detail which, she says, is good for the form of it, but perhaps less aerobic. "Do you like dancing?" she asks. "Oh yes," I say, "but I'm no good." I don't add that once I could do a mean Twist.
I could editorialize: about how the Latinas are so much better at this than most of the rest of us. There's one younger woman from Latin America somewhere, originally, who hardly seems to move at all, but still manages to be incredibly sexy, from her Nikes to the aloofness of her head in a turn. It's definitely not a Anglo thing (nor, based on the evidence of a few participants in one class, Chinese) and it makes me really envious. I Imagine households where everyone is dancing all the time, noisy, joyful--and then I remember how I like quiet corners, stillness and books.