Gold stars and elephant stamps

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 Permalink

I may have mentioned once or twice (or a gazillion times) how much I love my gym’s Zumba classes. I finally asked the instructor this week, if they are typical of Zumba classes elsewhere as, having never tried one, I wouldn’t quite know what to expect. “They can vary a lot,” she said…. which makes me wonder if I really like Zumba, or whether I just like my gym’s Zumba. As I’ve said before, prior to commencing classes at my gym, I’d had this perception of endless sambas (a bit like Latin Dancing) and thought that would be as boring as batshit as surely there are only so many ‘shimies’ one can do. But – the class I go to is just fabulous: jam-packed with recognisable songs and a mixture of steps and styles. A veritable ‘fusion’ of dance.

time to dance
The tiny gym classroom can only fit 12 of us and, as one of the more popular classes, Zumba is usually pretty full. And, cantankerous as I am, I’m usually shirty at those who come in late and invade my personal space after I’ve made a little pocket of room for myself. But… I usually try to find my way to the back of the very-small room – not because I know I’ll be befuddled with the steps (as I’m usually not), and not because I feel self-conscious in front of others (though that’s a tiny part of it); more than anything it’s so I don’t have to look at myself in the mirror. It’s far easier to keep my eyes fixed on the instructor if there are a few bodies between myself the mirrored wall at the front of the room.

On Monday I made my way to the back of the room and our instructor laughed as she saw me skirt towards the back. “I’ll still be watching you Schmiet,” she said (well, not really cos she used my real name), “my eyes are always drawn to you… because you move well.”  WTF! SHUT THE FRONT DOOR (etc etc)?!

I may be useless at spreadsheets but you should see me on the dancefloor...My surprise must have been obvious and she was probably conscious of the others in the room, so she said, “I probably shouldn’t say that, but you do move really well, so I do tend to watch you, and I hope that doesn’t make you self-conscious.” I laughed it off and commented on my wobbly bits but must confess, rather than making me self-conscious, I felt just a little bit lighter and brighter (kinda ‘chuffed’) throughout the class.

As I was leaving the gym, we had the discussion about other Zumba classes. “You should try some,” she said. “You’re  a good dancer and you move really well.”

Now… I’m not prone to blowing my own trumpet (or is it horn?!) so I feel a bit self-congratulatory sharing this commentary from my (now much-beloved!) instructor… BUT it’s such a change to be judged in an non-judgemental way. If that makes sense (which obviously it doesn’t).

Some time ago I mentioned having attended regular boxing sessions at a gym several years ago. In that post I said that – even though I was one of the more coordinated there – because I was ‘judged’ to be less-fit and less-able because of my size, the instructor CONSTANTLY put me with newcomers who didn’t know a ‘jab’ from an ‘uppercut’. At the time I was a lot fitter than I looked (although not as fit as most there), but his reaction to me (and lack of openness to see me in any other way) disappointed me and had an impact on how I felt about myself.

My Zumba instructor, on the other hand, is an empowering woman. She’s constantly telling her class of women that ‘we’re sexy and we know it’ (in the words of one of our tracks by LMFAO). Over half of the class are in their 40s, yet we love us a bit of Lady Gaga, Beyonce and – of course – LMFAO. We move like Jagger AND we go crazy when some Salt ‘n Pepa (circa 1980s) reverberates from the speakers.

Despite the instructor’s very-lovely compliments… I know I’m not a ‘good dancer’. In a relative sense (in the class I am in) I’m okay. But I’m coordinated and I love to get my groove on (yes, I’m showing my age cos I’m sure there’s a ‘cooler’ way of saying that!). Dancing is one of my favourite forms of exercise, though I suspect if I went to it too often I’d get a bit bored.

As it is, I love the music and I find it freeing. I’m a bit too old to go out clubbing nowadays, so don’t get much of an opportunity to dance – but I’m more than happy to receive a gold star or elephant stamp or the like* from our instructor for my Monday lunchtime efforts.

* I’m not sure how much cross-cultural relevance the title has…
16 Comments
  • sydneygen
    November 30, 2011

    I’ve never been to a Zumba class, but I have Berto (the infamous founder of Zumba) gracing my screen with some vids!! It’s fun, but I bet a class would be funner!!!!! (not a word, but it is in my vocab!)

    I want to leave you a little pic message, but it won’t work here, so I’m going to Tweet it to you!

    now… let’s Zuuuuumba!!!!!!

    P.S It’s lovely to read that you were uplifted…everyone should be uplifted, no matter what x

    • rockafellaskank
      November 30, 2011

      Love Berto!!!! Worried I sounded a bit smug, rather than uplifted… though I was uplifted!

      Deb

  • lizzyaimee
    November 30, 2011

    No smugness here whatsoever! You are celebrating a beautiful compliment that was well deserved and I am so happy you found an instructor who supports, nutures and encourages your efforts. The boxing instructor sounds like a jerk! Keep moving like Jagger – because you are sexy and you know it! 😉
    Lizzy xx

    • rockafellaskank
      November 30, 2011

      Thank you. I was so touched by her comments that I wrote about it that night but didn’t get around to posting until today and then read back and thought: EEK! I sound so self-congratulatory!

  • m3lly78
    November 30, 2011

    Im so happy that you’ve found exercise that you love & are passionate about because it makes working out so much easier when its not a chore!

    And dont worry, you dont sound full of yourself at all – what a great compliment to receive! You should be proud of yourself!

    • rockafellaskank
      November 30, 2011

      Think it’s more a rhythm thing an an ability, but was nice to be singled out (in a good way) for a change!

  • Liz@LastChanceTraining
    November 30, 2011

    Good on you Deb! I would bet my bottom dollar you can “feel” the music and move well to the beat. I have a few in my classes that are just meant for the beat!

    • rockafellaskank
      November 30, 2011

      I’m all about the music in those sort of classes Liz! Although… there are a few songs I don’t know… but love the moves!

  • Vicki
    November 30, 2011

    Nice work Deb!! Keep getting your groove on girl .. Clearly you are loving what you do! Congrats x

    • rockafellaskank
      November 30, 2011

      Thanks. I definitely love my Zumba. But really should try it elsewhere so I know if it’s the teacher / the class / Zumba itself!

  • Karen
    November 30, 2011

    I think the instructor makes or breaks the class. Lucky you to be enjoying it so much! I’ll probably do some zumba and other dance classes at the spa next week. I do NOT move well. Not in the least. And can’t remember the choreography!

    • rockafellaskank
      November 30, 2011

      I hope you enjoy it… our instructor is fabulous. Discovered this past week (she was talking to some of us before the class) she’s in her early 40s. Wow! She looks amazing! I think she’s a nurse or something and does classes on the side. She’s got a great attitude – that it’s OUR dance, OUR movements so they can NEVER be wrong.

  • Marion
    November 30, 2011

    Take a complement and really absorb it! That’s a super one!

    Each person who knows us reflect an image of us that is different–facets of us. That’s why it is good to know people’s opinions and to not be obsessed with our own (narrow-minded) opinion of ourselves. I’ve learned so much from others about what I’d like (weightlifting, yoga, movies, books, music) than what I imagined.

    Love your Zumba songs, btw! Many of my favorite workout songs.

    🙂 Marion

    • rockafellaskank
      November 30, 2011

      Marion, our instructor’s been letting us choose the dances / songs each week, so we keep picking the same things…. You’re right about the different perspective. Cos I think rather than ‘sprouting’ about her kind words, in the post, I was also trying to say that I liked that she just blurted out the compliment with no… ‘for a big girl – you move well’ qualifiers… if that makes sense. It was like she just sees me as me!

  • Sasha
    November 30, 2011

    WOOT!

    Great. Big. Gold. Star.

    (because you’re right, I have no idea what you’re talking about with elephant stamps 🙂

    • rockafellaskank
      November 30, 2011

      From memory (don’t have kids, but have a niece) kids at school, ballet, swimming etc… get a little inked stamp on their hand if they do a good job (or in a book etc)…. usually an animal. And I like the WOOT! In my response to Marion I was saying I liked that she just blurted out the compliment with no added judgement about the fact I was big – no surprise that I am vaguely coordinated (FOR A BIG PERSON!!!)

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