Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sooo NOT me.
Waka Waka 
Today I took a Zumba class at the Happy Gym Palestra. It was 45 minutes straight of Shakira's Waka Waka, including: butt slapping, that simultaneous rapid forward thrust of shoulders and pelvis that always looks kinda wrong to me, and unexplained football/Flashdance rapid runs on the toes that make all of my jiggly spots sing the Jello gelatin song. I thought it would be easier than signing up for a dance class, many of which have an end of the year show, heaven help me.  Enrolling in a real dance class is a big commitment. Plus, in Lucca, hip hop seems to really mean breakdancing, which in my case is a very literal translation in that it would break me into very small sharp pieces, some of which would jiggle in the remaining pools of jello like substance that inevitably surround them.

So F walked me the 17 minutes to the Happy Gym which doubles as a kiddie dance school during the day.  He left me at the door and into the capable hands of the nice desk people, which is always a good start.  Then I got a quick tour of the ladies changing room which was in bad shape, though it was cute to see the nice desk lady shove the towel paper on the floor into the basket behind her back while smiling grandly and making big distracting gestures with her free hand.  I was early so I sat on the bench outside one of two decent sized classrooms and witnessed the most boring, mechanical, military exercise class you would ever want to see. I had to get this nice girl Elena, who was also a newbie and more interested in Zumba than boring old counting and mat work, to validate my disdain for the earlier class and we soon became fast friends..

I can't say I was the oldest person in the class. And I really, really wanted to tell you that I was. That would have made me feel so much better. But I was like the second oldest woman and there was a very serious man around my age who seemed to take no joy in the Shakira-does-the-Macarena warm up or the butt slapping good time in the middle or even the constant jumping up and down coupled with pelvic thrusts at the end.  I grinned like a goon the whole time and winked at the teacher and tried to have as good a time as somebody with a charley horse cramp in their foot and a weird escalating ache through the left side of her groin can have.  And then at about minute forty I wealized that my waka had weft the building.

I will be sad if the choreography and the music are always the same, but if I can walk in two days from now I may come back.  At one point the teacher asked me to cavalcare the tappetino which I thought meant to straddle my mat, but I would be wrong. It meant to step over it, but I tried several other interesting things with the mat before I hit on that particular manouevre. I had to say I couldn't speak Italian that well and so she asked me where I was from.  When I said New York she started laughing until tears came out from the sheer shock of it.  Then when she figured out I really could speak Italian she gave me a squinty look like maybe all New Yorkers were big fat liars to boot. But I liked her a lot. And also I handed out the mats to my classmates at mat time so that they could see I am just a down-to-earth, maniacally grinning Shakira impersonator and not just some weirdo.

The stretching part is usually the part of the class where I wish I was the teacher again because all of these flexible instructor types inadvertently lull me into doing something impossibly stupid just because they are talking all soft and sexy like and playing slow music and buying me dinner.  Well maybe not dinner, but you know, dimming the lights and other such tricks. At the end of class, Elena and I high-fived and the one lady older than me folded my mat for me since by then I couldn't really get up so good . . . ain't I brave, though?

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