The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Fearless Zumba Septuagenarians

Zumba is like a cruel trick on the elderly ladies in the sparsely populated fitness room: an eight-dollar drop-in fee for overly complicated dance steps and music featuring figures such as Pitbull, who croons words the women can’t-and-likely-shouldn’t comprehend. The twenty-something yoga-pant-wearing teacher encourages them to get into the songs, to shimmy and shake their chests. Our shrewd oldsters put their arms out and merely move their heads. They opt for optical illusions in order to preserve modesty, and not hurt the poor girl’s feelings.

The enthusiastic Zumba leader stops between each song, tells them to drink water, introduces the next routine: grapevine right, tap, step out, kick, forward, back, cha-cha-cha, half step, turn, hip circle. Okay?

One meek student asks that the instructions be repeated. The teacher complies–to the continued bewilderment of the seasoned citizens–then straightens her ponytail. “Got it?”

At the cue of general shrugging, the music begins and the steps are followed with vague caution.  At the end of class the teacher says, “With that last song, the woman who taught me said to walk in all sexy, like you’re going into a nightclub.”

One of the ladies scoffs “I haven’t been in a night club in forty years.” After a pause, she beams even more proudly, “Actually, fifty!”

When asked to circle their hips they just move slightly to each side. When asked to grapevine, they take a few paces.  Yet, the longtime observers of life smile, laugh at their missteps, and wipe their brows–the joke’s on Zumba. They’re happy not to know.


irises, colorado garden

A view from Mom’s garden.

9 comments on “Fearless Zumba Septuagenarians

  1. Steven Wordsmith Lincoln
    December 30, 2011

    Good capture of current American focus on fitness. Zumba is popping up everywhere!

  2. Krista Flanigan
    December 30, 2011

    Love this, it was almost like I was there….. oh yeah I was there. 🙂

  3. Kristine
    July 17, 2012

    You crack me up! Think I will stick to the privacy of my own living room!

  4. Pingback: Saturday-Ja-Vu: Shimmy in the Suburbs | The Nice Thing About Strangers

  5. Jonathan Caswell
    September 23, 2013

    Reminds me of me—in folk dance class!!! 🙂 Sorry I’ve taken so long to visit….My “Following” button is bigger than my ability to keep up with everybody…and the limits of my time on line! HOWEVER…I was recently nominated for an OPPOSITES ATTRACT BLOG AWARD (opposites in gender, I think!)…and I nominate YOU…among several others! My acceptance post is being prepared as we speak, but you may access the blogger who nominated me for details: (if you are one of those who don’t accept awards, please consider and be warmed by the friendly fellow-interesting-blogger of the opposite sex spirit, in which it is presented!!!!!!):

  6. Jonathan Caswell
    September 23, 2013

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

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This entry was posted on December 26, 2011 by in Fitness, Inspiration, Mischief, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , .

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