Zumba and the Aftermath of Las Vegas

I backed into a car this morning on the way to Zumba. At 8:30 am. In the drivethru. At Starbucks. “Why did you back up”, you ask? That’s what she said, when she got out of her car, but in quite a more hostile tone.

Some answers which immediately raced through my mind were:
1 “I was in a hurry, and thought I could get my coffee faster if I went though the line in reverse.”
2. “You looked a little testy to me and I wanted to poke the bear”
3. “I just put a deposit down on a new lexus and I wanted to see if those low speed crashworthiness ratings were REALLY accurate”
4. “I thought if you STARTED your day with a little fender bender, your husband was much more likely to get lucky tonight, and he’d thank me

I picked silence. See, I just got off a plane from 4 days in Las Vegas Wenesday night at midnight and I am still officially in “Las Vegas Recovery Mode”. Ok, so here’s what really happened (not that I’m gonna sound ANY less stupid by being honest, but hey, I have to admit, my own idiocy amazes even me sometimes,

So I was running a little late this morning due to the Las Vegas jet lag, hang over, time change, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” thing when I got to stsrbucks for my Zumba coffee. Was sitting in line when I looked at the clock and saw it was 8:45 and realized the line was long enough, if I waited for coffee, I’d be late for class. At this drive through, which is connected to a “tire King” (I know, don’t ask, I’ve wondered myself if a hazardous chemical factory wasn’t available for them to connect to) there is room for the drive through line, and one “pass thru line” between the cars waiting, and a few diagonal parking spaces for folks to go inside to get coffee or lubed. I was thinking about backing out and leaving when a women pulled up next to me and decided she couldn’t squeeze thru because the 4 feet on either side of her car and the one in front of me and the parked car next to her was not an adequate target zone to squeeze her car. I looked in the rear view mirror and there was no one behind me. Miss “I can’t drive a car down the idle of an airport runway” was still parked next to me. Still no one behind me. I’m mentally writing my blog on southern driving tips for immigrant drivers from elsewhere (those blinker things are like holiday lights, the left lane is for tourism and turning left at your ultimate designation anywhere within 200 miles, etc) when she FINALLY moves. My Italian road rage is in full hung over bloom when I take one more look in the rear view mirror, slam it in reverse and KABLAM!!!!

……So, I get back in the car wondering just how DID I miss that big ASS LUXUS sitting behind me in line when I looked THREE TIMES. so I look again and see my rear window is completely and totally fogged over. Like by brain. So, I actually couldn’t see AVYTHING. OMG. This is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. Well, ok, portably not. There was Gilbert’s golf clubs and fishing poles. (Please, Gilbert, don’t tell those stories). In fact, I rely on my GOOD friends NOT to tell those stories.

There is an upside to all of this. At 8:45. You have enough time to have a wreck, exchange insurance informations, drivers licenses, take car pictures, and STILL get to Zumba Class on time. (so, I could have gotten my coffee after all) 2. I had her laughing by the time we left. (Pretty good for 10 minutes considering she was a little testy when she got out of the car). 3. After a 4 day bender in Vegas, the detox from yoga class the FIRST day back AND from ZUMBA class the THIRD day back gives you a rebuzz. Dale says this is called “tequila sweat” in the industry. I have not seen this benefit of exercising while hungover anywhere, and I can confirm it is a unique and mellow high that the exercise community should promote with more enthusiasm. So, if you’re finding your motivation for your exercise regimen waning, try your next class, run, gym workout hungover.

“We all live in a Yellow Submarine”.

Zumba Dale’s Birthday, A Scientific Explanation of BMI and the Further Adventures of Sheniqua

Buckle your seat belts loyal readers because I’m a little behind and we have a lot to do in our regular 600 words or so. It was Dale’s birthday today AND the end of my second trimester of Zumba. Actually, I told Dale on the actual day, the 24th, where she applauded my 6months attendance with appropriate motivational glee, until I pointed out my Zumba would come to full term on December 24. “I’m delivering a virgin Zumba, I said”. All the blood drained from her face.

Sheniqua is doing great, and is in line to be nominated for the “best new Zumberanian of the year” competition, held in Orlando Florida on April 1, 2014. I knew she was hooked a week or so ago when Dale played a Huey Lewis and the News song a SECOND time in the rotation. Shenqiqua went straight up in the air about 4 feet, and literally unfurled like an American flag in a beautiful breeze on late night Tv before there was cable and the local tv station was signing off for the night…. anyhow, I thought just for a second some first aid would be required then realized NO, Sheniqua has a favorite song and this is it. She’s definitely hooked now. If you happen to be out and about and run into Sheniqua and Huey Lewis and the News comes on…..back up and prepare to be amazed.

One of my readers found my layman’s explanation of “basal matabolism” from the last blog most helpful and put in a request for a similar explanation of BMI. Glad to oblige. First some historical context. Prior to the popularity of the BMI OR Body Mass Index or Bullshit Meaningless Incredularity, most doctors relied on the Metropolitan Life Insurance standard Height Weight Chart for Men/Women. Complied in 1943, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company’s actuary carefully studied people who ALMOST starved to death during the Great Depression, WWII, concentration camps and Siberian prison camps, and using a complicated algorithm, calculated how could they get you to pay off a policy, then collect the interest for the longest time without having to pay a death benefit so they would get the richest. This resulted in their definition of ideal weights, which bore no actual reality to what people really weighed. (A good basic description of this process and the actual charts can be found here. http://www.halls.md/ideal-weight/met.htm). For example, according to this chart, I should weight 135 pounds. I got down to 147 once in high school, but I could only eat twice a week, every third day. This didn’t seem normal to me.

As the country recovered from war, and in the 1950’s actually began completing grades beyond the 6th grade, most people learned to hate insurance companies and hence, their charts. Also, around the 80’s this chart was co-opted by the AAA. (The Anorexic Association of America, not the automobile association) so docs started looking around for another chart to point to to chide people into loosing weight. For a short period of time, they used the YAFA scale, or, You’re A Fat Ass chart but this was not well received by the rich people who spent a gazillion dollars in weight loss centers AND, ran head on to the beginning of political correctness so they went back to the drawing board.

“The body mass index (BMI), or Quetelet index, is a measure for human body shape based on an individual’s mass and height.
Devised between 1830 and 1850 by the Belgian polymath Adolphe Quetelet during the course of developing “social physics”,[2] it is defined as the individual’s body mass divided by the square of their height – with the value universally being given in units of kg/m2.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_mass_index. And is represented by the formula:


You can immediately see the appeal of this new approach: 1. it was invented by someone with no qualifications. 2. It was invented almost two hundred years ago, also when people were starving; and 3. It was based on a mathematical formula which we all agree is why we all hated math in school. Here is one last reason if you’re not convinced: “BMI can be calculated quickly and without expensive equipment. However, BMI categories do not take into account many factors such as frame size and muscularity.[22] The categories also fail to account for varying proportions of fat, bone, cartilage, water weight, and more.” Id, Wikipedia. Translation: even though the scale is meaningless, we like to use it anyway.

Here’s a better method: if you’re headed to walmart or Costco for some shopping, and you need to ride around in a scooter because your ankles can no longer support your weight, which you don’t know what that is, because your bathroom scale stops at 350 and your clothes have more than 4 xxxxs in the size AND your doctor has begged you, in tears, to lose weight – you might want to take that to heart and consider some reasonable exercise and more fresh food and vegetables. If, you’re looking at some chart to figure out if you need to lose weight to drop from your size 4 dress to a size 2,: you need a psychiatrist and you need to buy the new DSM-V book on psychiatric disorders. And a milkshake.

“I am the walrus. Goo goo gachoob”.

Zumba and diet tips; basal metabolism

In a tribute to BOTH modern journalism and diet books/articles this piece will be generally unrelated to the title, have a tangential relationship to the truth and be generally unhelpful. I do however, want to say that I am proud that several of my friends have told me that my blogs have motivated them to start “working on their fitness”. Bill, in Tennessee tried to join a Zumba class at a church but was turned away because it was for “only” women. Bill, you might try somewhere BESIDES Westboro Baptist. Amyway, I don’t know how much fun it would be dancing to the 10 best hate songs. http://www.mademan.com/mm/10-best-hate-songs.html Another said he actually took up a SPINNING CLASS!!!. (Wow, that seemed particularly suicidal to me, but OK) A third e mailed me and said she had taken a hour and read all my blogs and wanted to come to class. I admitted I was kind of proud, in a Kevorkian kind of way, but at the same time was a little happy to think I could watch someone else suffer like I did. Nah. She came to her first class, and half way through, WHILE SHE WAS STILL DANCING, lit up a cigarette, whipped out “50 Shades of Gray” and started reading. Nobody said a word. Nobody.

Anyway, She came to her third class Saturday morning. One of the alphas I really liked showed up after missing a couple of classes. I missed her and asked “where she’d been, Acapulco?” She said, “No, paddle boarding”. So, Sheniqua (not Pam’s real name) says, in an Olympic Athlete kinda way, ‘oh, I love paddle boarding.” So she and Sheniqua get all chatty about paddleboarding. Uh Huh. So I listened for awhile and said, “I like being paddled but you have to be wearing the right outfit”.

So, Sheniqua and I ended up in a discussion the other day before Zumba class of the effects of aging on the basal metabolic rate and its effect on weight loss. Thinking that this may have contributed somewhat to my frustrations in losing weight (I was wrong) I shared with her my recent, in depth scientific research, but explained it in my liberal arts, lawyer to juror fashion. She suggested inquiring blog minds would want to know. So, here you go.

Basal is an old Cyrillic word for ‘hamster’ and metabolism comes from the “French métabolisme, from Greek metabole “a change,” from metaballein “to change,” from meta- “over” (see meta-) + ballein “hamster wheel” (see ballistics). http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=Metabolism&searchmode=none. Meaning- “hamster over the hamster wheel”. So, our metabolisms are basically thousands of little hamsters in hamster wheels through out our bodies.

In our teens and twenties, they are young too, and they are running like hell. All the sugar, caffeine, fats, chemicals and actual speed (and other assorted drugs) are all treated as speed and they run even faster. While they tire out now and then like a little kid who despite the most placating grandparent just runs out of sugar once in awhile based on the laws of probability and child abuse. Until they reach 50. Since they “govern”the body, they’re union. So, at 50, they retire on a defined benefit, monthly stipend to drink umbrella drinks, never intending to run a lick in the wheel again.

Our job is to scare them into it. Asparagus will do it. Kale will do. They see Kale or asparagus coming by, they get back on the wheel. Tree Bark. Kimchi. Whole Foods. Earth Fare. Anything Organic. Zumba does it. It’s like the body declaring bankruptcy and they’re scared they could lose their pension AND lifetime health benefits that the liver, pancreas, heart and lungs can’t afford. (It’s hard to have a body that feels like Detroit). I wanna feel like Miami. Or maybe San Francisco. Ease into a Chicago in my old age. Gotta get them hamsters to get with it. And that my friends, is a very technical scientific explanation of basal metabolism in layman’s terms.

Next time, Zumba Back Row Etiquette and other Random Rants

Zumba on Flexeril and Karma for the Electric Slide Part II

In case you missed Part I, and to save you from having to scroll down, the short version is almost three weeks ago, I was struck with some lower back spasms on the left side I’ve experienced every two years for the last 35 only to finally find out from my massage therapist it’s called piriformis syndrome. This is a fancy name for the muscle involved, which in my case, has nothing to do with the back, of course, but… wait for it… my fat ass. Of course. This will save you lots of reading on the last blog.

Usually these bouts only last a few days, maximum a week, but this one has lasted over two weeks. Normally a couple of trips to the chiropractor and a little old fashioned stoicism nips it in the bud but this time it took the full Monty, including some Flexerils. Generally, I’m against taking medication except for recreational purposes, but I will take it for medicinal purposes if absolutely necessary. There is something about having to have a note to get medication that’s annoying to me. It was like having to have a note in school to go take a piss. Like if you didn’t get the note, you weren’t going to pee. I always kind of wondered why, as obnoxious as middle school students were, that they didn’t just revolt against the whole note thing and just pee all over those classrooms. No sense of revolution I guess.

Anyway, I had to back off the yoga classes for a little while, partially because it was suggested and partially because, when I tried to attempt a yoga pose, I found myself screaming loudly like Al Pacino at the end of Godfather III when his daughter gets shot and I thought that might be disturbing to the other yoga students. I did however, continue to go to Zumba class, because Dale plays the music so loud no one would notice I was screaming. I was right. I did however notice that the combination of Zumba and Flexural created an altered state which may NOT have been a good idea. For example: here was my thought pattern in Zumba class on flexeril:

Dale is playing yet ANOTHER song which I do NOT know the routine to but everybody else seems to. OMG. How many of these songs can there possibly be in her f#%*ing repertoire that I am going to have to learn? “The number π is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and is approximately equal to 3.14159. It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century, though it is also sometimes written as “pi” (/paɪ/).

Being an irrational number, π cannot be expressed exactly as a ratio of any two integers (fractions such as 22/7 are commonly used to approximate π but no fraction can be its exact value). Consequently, its decimal representation never ends………” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi meaning her collection of these is probably infinite. (and kids in math class say, “when am I ever going to use this stuff”. (Wow, I think, I need another 5 milligrams of this flexeril when I get HOME!!!)

So, I confess, I prayed, “Lord, why am I subjected to this NEVER ENDING parade of songs I have to learn new routines too” when to my surprise, the booming Charlton Heston Ten Commandments Voice said, “Remember all those Hospital Conventions where you made fun, in your head, of those folks dancing the Electric Slide and Other group line dances?” “Ruh Roh”, I thought. “This is some bad karma mojo. But, it was all silent mockery”, I prayed. Silence. “How long will this last”, I asked “How many conventions was it”, she said. OMG (sorry for the ‘your name’ in vain, I thought). That’s 1-4 conventions a year for 30 years. That’s like 90 classes. Good times. I definitely need another 5 miligrams when I get home.

You know, come to think of it, maybe a back spasm every two years and a note for some drugs is not a bad thing after all.

“We all live in a yellow submarine”.

Yoga Zumba and the Paroxysmal Back Spasm Part I

I know, I know, in a previous blog I wrote if you don’t want to sound old, don’t complain about your aches pains and ailments. But, you know, the exception that proves the rule and all. Anyway, since law school, thirty years ago, I’ve had these crippling back spasms periodically on just my lower left side. For a long time, I thought, rationally, that they MUST be caused by picking something up the wrong way, or over exertion (me? HA!), or twisting or turning wrong. It took years to figure out that stress, anxiety and mental illness had to play a factor. And being a fat ass. That had to play a factor too. Anyway, after getting them every year or two, and having to be almost lifted into the car to get to the chiropractor so I could get fixed enough so I could crawl to the bathroom on my own, I figured out if I would see the guy every few months on my own, I could mostly avoid these unpleasant spasms, which, for the most part, has been an effective plan.

So, Friday, I get one of these crippling paroxysmal back spasms. I love that word “paroxysmal”. Mainly because its so hard to spell and also because I can’t pronounce it. Now, I’d like to tell you that I did this in some intense twist in yoga class, or by really pushing myself in a forward fold in pyramid pose, or by really pushing myself in Zumba class, but noooooo, I did it driving. Yes, driving. On my fat ass. In my comfy Volvo.

On Friday, my usual day off, I got a massage, saw the chiro boy and was on the way to Yoga class, when the Volvo, flashes in red, “Power System Failure; URGENT” with a red triangle, with an exclamation point, and a voice exclaims; “Danger Danger Mr. Robinson!” The route to Yoga class is also the route to the Volvo dealer and it’s only 3:30 so no problem, detour to the dealer, but then I have this vision of being stuck on the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, the main bridge between Downtown Charleston and Mount Pleasant SC, and being on the 5 pm news, as THAT FAT GUY in the red Volvo who snarled traffic on a FRIDAY happy hour because he couldn’t keep his fancy ass car running.

I get to the dealer and Amy asks what I’m doing there. I’m completely drenched in sweat as the air conditioner stopped working when the red danger danger message stopped flashing so I explained all the messages which flashed, IN RED and said, “Either the alternator/AC belt has broken. or its the apocalypse, or aliens or coming” but my messages are usually yellow, this is the only time in 14 years a Volvo has given me a red message so I was sure the Volvo was going to explode. She got me a loaner car, told me she’d call me Monday and sends me on my way. As I went to get in the loaner car, I realized I couldn’t move. I realized in the midst of all that error message, I must have gripped the steering wheel,and tensed up, like a little girl who was going to have her first car wreck. How embarrassing. But wait, it gets worse.

So, I go home figuring it will be gone by morning. I wake up Saturday morning in time for Zumba class , and it is not pretty. Generally speaking, if you have to crawl off a couch by rolling over to plant one knee on the floor then the other knee on the floor then gradually pushing yourself up while writhing in pain, Zumba class is probably not a good idea, no matter what your brain is telling you otherwise. But, I went anyway. Macho, Macho Man. I want to be, a macho man. (You automatically know something is bad judgment when Village People lyrics are playing in your head. Automatically) I did however, practice some creative profanity during the class that I had not before experienced which I would not have believed possible. Trust me. Pain will enable you to combine curse words in ways you had never thought possible.

I went home and found my stash of flexeril muscle relaxers which I had wished for years ago and which had been left on my front porch by the pharmacopeia fairy in an plain pill bottle with a simple dymo label which said “flexeril”. (and you guys thought practicing the law of attraction didn’t work) Oh, here’s hint number two which I picked up in tonight’s Zumba Class – do NOT go to Zumba on Flexerils…. More of that in Part II of this piece.

In desperation, I emailed my massage goddess and pleaded my case, (I also told her the whole car/little girl story on the theory that she’d be laughing so hard and peeing herself that she’d have to see me Monday, which apparently worked, and I got an appointment). Much to my surprise, and further embarrassment, I learned, after all these thirty years, that my problem is NOT in my lower back, but my pirformis muscle, which, I had never heard of before.

However, to save you some google time, I will just tell you, that from where she was touching my ass, I said, “so when they say ‘that was so scary it made my asshole pucker – this is the muscle that does it’ I guessed from her hysterical laughter that was an affirmative”. She then said something about it wrapping around the sciatic nerve and causing all the pain, blah blah blah. To be continued…… Zumba on Flexeril and Karma for the Electric Slide Part II

Saturday Morning Zumba Class, Blues Brothers Style


Some of the best epiphanies often come about almost by accident. Some Saturdays, getting to Zumba at NINE am is just ridiculously early, so I’ve learned to get my Starbucks caffeine on the way THERE. Once I saw one of the other Zumberanians drink Starbucks DURING class instead of water, and I thought, how smart. (I’m still thinking about taking a smoke break during class)

So, I staggered into class this morning, listening to Flo Rida’s new hit, “Can’t believe it” (THAT’S a whole ‘another blog- hey Dale, can we have that as a cortina at tango?) and I still had my sunglasses on when I realized, “Wow, my eyes feel so much better in here”. This dance class room has two walls of windows to let in “natural light”. Who the hell thought that was a good idea in buildings? There is a good reason we lived in caves for 40,000 years. No one wants to wake up to “natural light”. Hell, that’s why we spend a fortune on blinds, curtains, drapes, mini blinds, shades, window coverings, window tint. No one likes to see that shit. Except architects and painters. Not the drunk ones who paint your walls one color. The drunk crazy Van Gogh ones. So, I did the ENTIRE Zumba Class in my prescription Ray ban shades. Awesome.

I also have some pretty exciting news. The scale has finally moved and I’ve lost……..2 pounds. Of course, to make me feel better, I’m counting that as a loss over the last three months, instead of the last 4 years I’ve been working at it. Now, I know that doesn’t sound like much, but if you break it up into ounces, that works out to a loss of 2 oz a week over the last 16 weeks. So, that’s 104 ounces a year or 6.5 pounds. I will reach my goal weight of a loss of 100 pounds in 15.38 years, or on my deathbed. If it were the 4 years I have really been working on it, it would take 24 years, but then I can count on the death decomposition process to really slim me down towards the end of that.

Or….., I’m gonna die the healthiest fat man in America. Woo hoo.

I think I should write a fitness book.

Zumba Good News, Bad News

For the last two Saturdays, even though I have my spot in the VERY back of the class, I’ve had a clear view of the mirror. Good News: I really am getting the hang of both the foot work and the arm work.
Bad News: I look more ridiculous doing it right than I did, not having any idea what I was doing. I look like an old Italian version of the Michelin Man trying to dance Salsa at an Italian Wedding after someone spiked his Prosecco with LSD.

michelin man short arms

Notice the really short arms? Steven, the yoga instructor, calls these tyrannosaurus Rex arms. Combined with the blessing of overly tight shoulders, my arms look like a Republican throwing coins out the window of their car on the NJ jersey turnpike at the toll booth.

Good News: I have had a clear view of Dale, so I can really pay attention to the detail of the choreography.
Bad news: realizing I’m so fat, and that she’s so thin, her image, in front of me in the mirror, only covers my nose, the center of my chest, and the small space between my legs.

Bad/Good News: Like any good teacher, trainer, torturer, sadist, Dale keeps things fresh, interesting, changes the curriculum, and keeps some of the pain new, so you can’t develop a tolerance. Case in point, I like and respect a good low squat as much as anyone, for that good butt development, but (pun intended) Dale likes them while you are walking sideways, first one way and then the other, sometimes with a high kick at one end and then the other, until a nice searing pain, like barbed wire slicing through your glutes and quads is shooting straight to your brain.
Good news: reaching back to my bygone days of high school and college football game attendance, and relying on my recent yoga class attendance and spiritual development I have developed a cheer/mantra which I recite in my own mind which inspires me; motivates me, and gets me through these moments. It goes something like this: “you bitch”.

Bad News: The better shape I get into doing Zumba, the rate at which I can increase my pain and self torture increase at an exponential rate.
Good news: Apparently, unbeknownst to me, there is no limit to the number of times I can say the “f” bomb in my own mind, silently, or the manner in which I so think it, reflecting a wide variety of feelings and emotions and sentiments. There’s always the WTF?!, which has become so popular, closely followed with the loud, (in my own mind) quickly shouted version, which is closely related to the “holy” version, all often used at the end of a song. Then there’s the rapid fire version, like a machine gun. Or the up and down, lilting version. Or the God take me now version. Of the F me version. Or the I can’t breathe version. Or the F it version. or the F this version.

Good News: I wasn’t sure the first time I heard it, but she had it in her playlist again, so I’m POSITIVE now; Dale has stripper music in her Zumba playlist. YESSSSS!!!! (Good editing job though gurl….. )
Bad news – to the parents of the young girl from the other dance class who came RUSHING back there whooping and hollering and who gleefully joined in for this song only – in the immortal words of Chris Rock – you have failed at your only job as a parent and you are NOT gonna be happy at how she pays for college. Just sayin.

hmmmm, maybe after I try Pilates I could try a pole dancing class…..???????

Zumba Class No…… Hell, I’ve Lost Count

Last Wednesday, it was time to go to Zumba class and I was actually feeling good about it. I should have known this was my first bad sign. I was thinking I was feeling more comfortable with the music, the choreography, a little less humiliated, a little more confident in my ability to get through 55 minutes without cardiac or respiratory arrest. What was I thinking? My good friend, Gilbert, in Walteboro, taught me years ago, the light at the end of the tunnel is usually a train.

So, I saunter in, feelin all frisky for myself, and all rarin to go, and Dale starts class as she always does, by cranking up the first song, which goes fine. Then, the second song starts and I’ve never heard this song, but I think Ok, she’s really good at managing her playlist weekly, keep things fresh; don’t want folks to get bored. I get it. And of course, new song, new choreography. Except everyone else already knows it. Dammit. So, this must not be new. Good times.

Then the next song is new, too. Ok, I think, she’s screwing with me. I get through that song, then then next song is the last straw. I can’t even tell you what the damn song is or was (even though she’s played it for the last three classes) BECAUSE the choreography is Indian dancing (and that would be from INDIA) from the waist up and Irish River Dancing from the waist down. Uh Huh. Having trouble picturing that? Here’s what that looks like….

indian dance top river dance bottom

Now, if you still don’t get it, just take a break, get up from your comfy chair, do that crazy ass prayer hands thing, (with your arms moving constantly of course) and at the same time hop from foot to foot as if you were being attacked by an army of rats high on pot and the only thing between them and a spilled 55 gallon drum of M & M’s was you.

Oh, yeah, I confronted her after class. She had some mamby pamby excuse about having to change playlist to recycle older songs cause otherwise she got bored, doing 49 classes of the same thing every week. Likely excuse. I know she was screwing with me.

What could possibly be next? Lower half, Russian Cossack dancing?

russian cossack dancing

Upper half belly dancing?


russsian cossack levitating

Zumba and my continued descent into mental illness

I was waiting for Zumba to start this morning, and Alpha no ! walks in with a Black Helmet on. I grab my keys and phone and start heading for the door. “Where you going?”, Dale asked. “I’m leaving,” I said. “If whatever you’re doing today involves helmets, I’m outta here”. Alpha no one, said no, she rode a motorcycle. I was still apprehensive, but I stayed anyway.

Dale is an itinerant Zumba teacher, and the Saturday class is in a small dance studio which shall remain nameless, for obvious reasons momentarily. You can tell from their wall propaganda and photos, that their target market in this upscale high income suburban demographic are young girls who want to compete in both dance competitions and in pageants. They have one dance room. Their motivation slogan in this room is the following:

dance anatomy

Now, I raised daughters, and my daughter will tell you I’m a pretty liberal guy. I enrolled her in both ballet, ( so she could experience grace and beauty – she hated it) and karate ( cause I told her she could date anybody she wanted when she got older as long as she could beat the shit out of anyone she dated) BUT, I never took her anywhere where the slogan was, “Everything we do, we do it BIG, BLACK and YELLOW”.

Maybe its just me, because those who know me, know I’m a quotations junkie. So, here’s just a couple of suggestions for what could have gone up on the wall:

Here’s a few by Martha Graham, maybe one of the most famous choreographers and dancers of the 20th century:
“Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.”
“The body says what words cannot.”
“Theater is a verb before it is a noun, an act before it is a place.”
“The body is a sacred garment.”

instead we have…..
“Everything we do, we do it BIG, BLACK and YELLOW”. Wow, Really? I have some other suggestions if they want to go in the OTHER direction with the motivational wall sayings, but they involve pole dancing and violate pages 3,4,7,8, and 11-14 of Dale’s censorship instructions, but you get the idea.

The entire back wall of this studio are floor to ceiling glass windows, overlooking a … Wait for it… A WAFFLE HOUSE. So, basically, we perform for the Saturday morning, hung over, “I need a cholesterol fix”,rush. Some guys came to the window and tried to dance along this morning. It was both hysterical and very Kafkaesque. (As much time as I have spent eating in waffle houses, the Karma of it all is not lost on my fat ass either- this is some pecan waffle dharma karma here, fer shizzle)

But then, just when I think I should lobby to have Zumba added to the DSM V, these Belly Scarf Divas crack me up. (And alpha no 2 looked red carpet spectacular in her new yves st laurent zebra print belly scarf – who knew designers did those?). I think they should start a club. Red hat ladies ain’t got shit on you girls! Rock on.

“We all live in a yellow submarine”.

4th of July and Bikram Hot Zumba

Rendered speechless by this event and completely flummoxed by where to begin, I’ll start at the beginning. It all began, innocently enough, with Dale’s Facebook post that read:

Z U M B A ……. the 4th of July!
Celebrate Freedom, Choice, and Opportunity!
Work off your holiday before the holiday begins….
Creative Spark, Mt. Pleasant at 10AM on Thursday 7/4
It will be a FUN class! yessssssssssssssss……..

Oh how naive we can be. I heard several in Wednesday’s class remark how hot it was at that facility. Pfffft, I thought. It’s Charleston. It’s hot everywhere. Think 75 people in a corrugated metal room the size of a McDonald’s bathroom on hot asphalt, bearing the full brunt of the morning sun, all dancing as fast as they can. While, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but they did hand out iced wash cloths half way through class.

Props to Dale, it was a beautiful celebration of America for the Fourth of July however. Young, old, children, first timers, regulars, men, women, what a group. And my first ever picture of me actually doing Zumba. Ready…… Here it is.


Can you see me? No? In the very, very, very, back corner, with the red shirt, and green iced washcloth on my head? No? Still not? Thank God.

I had a revelation today though. Dale has this one song where I just can’t keep up with her, them, or the song. I didn’t know how to explain it, so I did some research so I could. It has to do with “musical time signature.” The musicians know exactly what I’m talking about. For regular folk, think of the beat you feel with a song you like or dance to….that 1,2,3-1,2,3-1,2,3 or that 1,2,3,4-1,2,3,4; which are beats per measure or musical signature time. And of course, the movements match those beats. Dale has actually found a song on 64/64 time, or with 64 beats per measure and has actually devised choreography in which she does 64 distinct movements a second. She and the entire class of women look like hummingbirds at that point to me. My eyes can’t even see that fast. I’m so slow, it’s taken me five weeks to even come up with the words to describe moving to music that fast.

But, there was a Gift from the Universe. There was another guy in class Wednesday and two guys there today. They xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. (Dale issued blog censorship instructions last week. Just a couple of things, 14 pages, single spaced. She’s known me for three years so I’d be disappointed if she trusted my judgment or my filter). I think I can safely say however, I feel better about my own Zumba performance and I no longer need to go see Brad Pitt in that new Zombie movie.

I woke up on the couch at 5:30 am the other day to…the Zumba infomercial. Believing in synchronicity, I watched it. A blonds actually said, “it’s so EASY”. I hit rewind on TiVo. Yup. That’s what she said. Hit record. I have your picture. I’m coming to hunt you down.

Lastly, I do periodically want to shamelessly promote Dale’s class. Www.zumbabeat.com. Not everyone will like it of course, but for those that do, it’s a transformational experience. A little girl, maybe about 9, was there today. Both her parents and her granddad, came with her, because she loves Zumba so much. Her Dad told me she tells them she always gets on the front row. I have never seen a child so filled with joy. Her family came to Zumba for the first time, because they wanted to experience that joy with her. Props to you Dale for giving that little girl the gift at such a young age of associating working out with such joy. What a change we could make with obesity in this country with that model. Love, Joy, Dance, Music, Friends, Family. How cool is that!

“I am the Walrus, Goo goo, ga joob”.