Thursday 26 May 2016

Task 4: Attend a Zumba class

Ay caramba - it's Zumba-time!! Zumba was developed in the 1990s by a celebrity fitness trainer called Beto Perez in Colombia. The story goes that Beto forgot to take his aerobics music to a fitness class one day. However he happened to have some of his favourite Latin salsa and merengue music tapes in his kitbag, and decided to improvise the fitness exercises around those tracks.  Zumba (it's Colombian slang for 'fast-moving') emerged from that impromptu class.

I've been planning to attend a zumba class for a long time (I know I know.....) The idea of doing a high-intensity dance-based exercise routine was certainly an appealing one. I just needed to knuckle down and do it. The good news for the purposes of the sixtyat60 list was that I only had to try out a single class. After weeks of lindy hop lessons, months of cycling training and almost a year of saxophone practice, not to mention an aeon of jigsaw struggles, that was a bit of a relief.

My friend Kara's dancer daughter Cristina had previously recommended the brilliant Matt Blacklock to us for lindy hop lessons. It turns out that Matt also runs Zumba classes in the Brighton area. Kara was keen to attend one of his classes with me and all we had to do was get ourselves along to one.  Matt recommended his Wednesday morning class, which he said was composed of a very friendly group of ladies of all ages up to their 70s.  Perfect!

Several months went by and for various reasons, our arrangements to attend a class kept being deferred. The 30 May deadline was approaching fast. My final opportunity to nail it was last Wednesday morning. Sadly Kara had to cancel at the last moment due to illness. But I knew I had to go, even if I had to crawl over the threshold on my hands and knees. 

I arrived at St Richard's Hall in Hollingdean, took a deep breath and walked into the room, where I found Matt and a group of 25-30 Zumba enthusiasts. I found my place as close to the back of the hall as possible and stood next to a lovely lady who told me she does 4 Zumba classes a week. Wow, definitely an expert. She advised me to watch the feet of the  girl in front of me if I couldn't see what Matt was doing. The music started and we were off as one. Well, as one, apart from me.  Just as I started to copy a move with a degree of accuracy, the class moved onto another one.  Those ladies were amazing!! And they all seemed to be having a great time too. I spotted a few moves from my lindy hop lessons ( a bit of charleston here, a touch of cha-cha there) but most of the steps and moves were hip-gyrating, leg-pumping, hand-clapping, arm-windmilling Latin rhythms. And it was fast. Definitely lived up to its name....

At the end of the hour I was completely exhausted, partly because Zumba is clearly a full-on cardio and muscle conditioning workout, but also because I had to work so hard mentally to follow the moves. Matt said to me afterwards that a key challenge for beginners is how to maintain focus for a full hour. I couldn't agree more Matt! Here's a selfie he took of us at the end of the class (I'm glowing away).

At the time, I couldn't say I was actually enjoying the Zumba class, because of the effort it took to try and keep up. But I know that I will really enjoy it, once I've become more familiar with the routines. I've promised the class I'll return as soon as I can to have another go. They're a great bunch of girls with the best of instructors and I intend to keep my word! 



A total of 56 tasks completed - JUST 4 MORE TO GO - 4 days left.........

So far donations to Shooting Star Chase total £960 (that's in addition to the £1800 already donated to Alzheimer's Research UK), which is fantastic! I've raised the target from £1000 to £1200 as I enter the final furlong..... 


I'm doing the sixtyat60challenge to raise funds for Shooting Star Chase children's hospice care in memory of a special little girl called Thea Redford. 

For further information or to make a donation please visit my JustGiving page at

No comments:

Post a Comment