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An uncoordinated, mismatched, energized look into the world of Zumba

As I walked into the dance room for Zumba Tuesday night, it wasn’t hard to guess what the instructor was thinking. It was pretty safe to say this girl in dingy fake converse sneakers and mismatched navy athletic pants and black sweater had probably never seen the inside of this workout room, much less the Markin Center.

It is true that as a student, I fail to use this wonderful facility to its full potential most of the time, using excuses like “Well I can’t go by myself” or “It’s just so inconvenient” or (probably the most valid) “I don’t have a thing to wear.” We have all gone through that mental monologue (and if you haven’t please pretend, for my sake.)

However, a few of my friends had hyped up the group fitness classes offered at Markin and I thought what better way to entertain myself and those around me than willingly making a complete idiot out of myself.   

So I dragged an unassuming friend with me to participate in the calamity that was sure to ensue. The class I attended garnered me a lot of much needed personal attention, especially considering it was me, my friend, the instructor and one other person. While this made it less intimidating for me, it was not the full Zumba experience that had been hyped.

The concept of Zumba is pretty simple, transforming dance moves into exercise routines to make them more enjoyable and easier.

Aside from the cool moves I pull in front of my mirror with a hairbrush and Celine Dion playing, dancing is something I have always left to the more coordinated. As anyone who has witnessed me walk up a flight of stairs knows, I am not among them.

On Tuesday, listening to the sweet sounds of salsa that are meant to induce movement and sensuality, I was the very definition of an awkward turtle.

I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of the moves once I got into them. The moves for each song were highly repetitive, and just like a five year old, this was key to my catching on.

If you ask anyone who has ever hung out with me in a bar, the image of me flailing my arms around seductively and gyrating my hips is anything but sensual. However, as long as I avoided the mirror, these moves actually made for a great workout.

About 20 minutes in, I was, as they say, feeling the burn.

The workout was focused on leg movements, but this is predominantly because Lindsay Gerstad, the instructor, chose to.

“No Zumba class is the same,” she said. “The instructors all teach it differently. Some focus on arms, some on legs.”

This may have contributed to my struggle, as my legs account for less than 25 percent of my body length.

However, arms were included, as well as hips and torso. These areas of the body seemed to work together (at least for everyone but me) to form what looked like a cohesive dance routine.

Cristina Corrigan, junior international business major, attends Gerstad’s class every week.

“I like to dance, even if I am not great at it, and this is a fun way to do that while getting a great workout,” she said.

For those who looking to expand their exercise regime from hanging out with the beefy dudes by the weights to a fun, interactive experience with friends, Zumba is probably for you. These programs are not in place just for the heck of it, they are there so students can utilize them and help take the stress out of a busy week without the use of alcohol (although being intoxicated probably would have amped up the entertainment factor for me.)

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