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“If theater is ritual, then dance is too… It’s as if the threads connecting us to the rest of the world were washed clean of preconceptions and fears. When you dance, you can enjoy the luxury of being you.”

Paulo Coelho

This week I’m headed to Renfrew Community Centre to do some ZumbaIt will actually be my second attempt at doing Zumba. It was only a week earlier that Jaimie and I tried to attend a free class at Canada Place but it was just too hot (in the full sun with no shade), crowded and the instructor’s voice was really (no, REALLY) annoying. So yeah, we went and had a drink at Steamworks instead. Best exercise date ever!

The time we almost did Zumba but then had a drink instead.

The time we almost did Zumba but then had a drink instead.

But there’s no excuse this time. We’re off to Renfrew Community Centre for the 7pm Zumba class. If you’ve never heard of it, Zumba is a form of dance aerobics that incorporates hip hop, soca, samba, salsa, meringue, mambo and martial arts. It looks pretty hilarious (I mean awesome) and is apparently quite addictive.

We arrive early and see the 6pm beginners Zumba class is just finishing up. (Apparently I’ll be attending an advanced class for my first Zumba experience; thanks Jaimie). Once the 6pm class clears out we head in to the class. Jaimie hands me a water bottle and a little towel and bee lines it to the far corner by the open door, where a breeze is drifting in. It’s hot today – a record breaking heat wave has hit the city – and we’re about to do Zumba in an un-airconditioned community gym. It’s just me, Jaimie and 20 or so elderly asian women. Fantastic!

Luckily, our teacher Alicia is both enthusiastic and talented. The music is fun and she transitions between different dance styles with ease, whooping every minute or so. The wild whooping is kind of disconcerting at first but I come to accept it when I realize she’s using the whoops to indicate transitions between moves. Well mostly; other times she’s just REALLY enjoying herself.

We go hard for 5 or 10 minutes at a time and then break for a minute or so; just long enough to towel off the sweat dripping down our faces and suck back some water. With the exception of undulations and grapevines, I’m terribly lost throughout the class but manage to keep moving. We’re jumping, squatting, twisting, thrusting, and jazz handing it up, which is all fun; however, my personal highlight comes half way through, when we start booty popping while jumping backwards. I’ll never forget Jaimie’s ass coming at me like that. Never.

At the end of class Alicia comes over to tell us we did really well and we thank her before heading outside. Jaimie decides it would be cruel to put me on the sky train in my current state and offers me a ride home, which I accept. “It’s too bad we didn’t get a picture of us” she says; but I think I’m ok without photographic evidence. As I climb into Jaimie’s car I catch my reflection in the mirror: bright pink, sweating profusely and smiling like a maniac.

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