Zumba–in the Community of a Whole

GMR and I go to the gym twice a week—Waynesville Recreational Center. Those two days are our “long workout” days. Most times, we’ll walk the dogs first, and that could be anywhere up to forty minutes of walking. Then we head off to the gym where I’ll jump on the treadmill for a jog of 2 – 3 miles, then some light weights, and then some yoga. GMR does this thing in the weight room, treadmill, or whatever.

Then, we head off to Zumba class. It’s this low-impact class—the one we take is anyway. From a Zumba site they explain it as: “Is a fusion of Latin and International music that creates a dynamic, exciting, and effective fitness system.”

While zumba-ing, I sometimes watch the others. In this class, most of us are women, but there are a few men. And except for occasions, most of us are at least over forty, and I know one woman there is over eighty, as she’s said her age (and she looks in her sixties!). Another may be older than that.

The way we move says a lot about us. If we are shy and reserved, or bigger than life, or somewhere in between. Some women, when we are to shake our hips or do a sort of belly dance, will just get to going, hips swaying and wriggling all over the place; while others are more awkward and stiff. The men make me laugh sometimes, as they try to do the hip movements—women, especially those who’ve had child(ren) are looser in the hips, more fluid than the men’s stiffer hips. But, seeing those men with their concentrated faces as they try so hard, well, it just makes me grin, but as well, I’m proud of them for at least trying and not doing the “I’m too manly for this;” gotta love em! We have one woman who had to have been a dancer–every move she makes is grace personified. I love watching her–it’s beautiful.

I watch rhythm too. Some of us have natural rhythm, swaying or kicking or stepping or Hava-nagila-ing with flair, moving in tune to the beat. And some, well, some are always off-beat, one note off, or two, their arms and legs flailing at times, and whether they care or not says a lot about them. Stand tall and find your own rhythm and beauty! And sometimes there is a guest who comes and just can’t get into the beat, can’t get the steps, can’t seem to fit in at all, and instead of coming back and trying again, we never see them again. Too bad.

There is a “very old woman” who Zumbas at the front of the class. I watch her from time to time. She can’t do the steps as exaggerated and energetic as most of us can, but she makes these very tiny little moves and I want to say “You go!” When she wasn’t in the class a few days, I asked after her—that’s the thing, you grow these attachments to people and worry when they aren’t there (she’s on vacation, I found out). For example, there is one woman who was always so funny and lively and cracking jokes about when her husband came home from the oil rig (or wherever he was) she was going to be skinnier for him. Last I heard, her husband was going to be home in a few days and I haven’t seen her since. What happened? Did he come home and tell her to stop taking the class? Are they just spending the time he has home together? Did something happen to her?

One day the instructor said, “Everyone, keep your thoughts on so and so, she has just lost her father.” And everyone in the class, in whatever their way is, thought of this woman, and all those thoughts carried on the wind to her, at least I like to think so.

I like the idea of us wondering about each other. As we do here on the blogs. Someone disappears or is ill or is having a hard time, and everyone asks, “Where/how is so and so? Are they okay?” We are thought after with care and concern.

This comforts me—this sense of community. This Whole.

This Zumba class has brought me out of my cocoon, where I tend to hide and huddle as I write my books and stories. And, where we live isn’t a neighborhood in the sense of regular neighborhoods–living in a mountain cove isn’t like living in the burbs. And, even the act of running on the treadmill is solitary, as are my weights and yoga. But with Zumba, I laugh, I kick up my heels, I act silly, I jump around the room, I roll my hips. People say, “Good morning Kat!” and I say, “Morning!” “How are you?” “Great! You?” and connections are formed. One side of the room closer than the other side, as we have our little community neighborhood huddles.

It’s a good thing. Good for me. Good for my body, my bones and muscles and heart. Good for my insides, too.

And what about you? Do you have a “community” like this?

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