Yes, I know that the word “love” is over-used and often mis-attributed, however in this case, it is true. I LOVE Zumba. Why? Because it offers me the present day soundtrack of my life and culture in a package that precludes the old need to go to the club to “get my groove on”. The music is current with reggaeton, calypso, bachata, salsa, merengue, cumbia and more! A zumba class allows me to dance and have fun with people who have a similar interest in dance and fitness, but instead of the club, we go to the gym. Nothing says clean, mature, generative fun like dance as exercise, then a detoxifying tour through the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. No need to suffer the club where the focus is alcohol and other type of social interactions.
Zumba clothes are “tropi-colorful” (have you ever seen a pink home with a blue fence, green plants and colorful flowers in the Caribbean…you can’t help but feel happy!). It is heartening to learn from so many instructors who are people of color, and many participants already love to dance or learn to dance because of Zumba. Culturally, I think Zumba is doing amazing work: it gets people to loosen up, to move their body, to have fun, to appreciate Latin and Caribbean music, and it teaches the formerly “rhythmless” that dancing is for everybody!
I find all this to be soooo very appealing. It makes sense, my parents hail from Guyana, South America which means I inherited a soca, calypso and reggae musical heritage. I grew up in Spanish Harlem with Dominican and Boricua / Puerto Rican neighbors and friends, so Bachata and Salsa is part of my New York cultural landscape right through to adulthood. I’ve even studied Portuguese and Spanish, taken Capoeira from a master teacher, and rocked out in Salsa, Samba, (waltz, swing, Foxtrot etc) ballroom dance lessons. And hey, I grew up in the inner-city, Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn, so urban chic is alright with me!
I’ve lived in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, and Colima, Mexico where I was introduced to Cumbia and Mexican “polka”, and I have always been an avid and talented dancer by training and by culture, though I always disliked the club scene but wanted to DANCE! Lastly, I am a teacher, and by necessity have lived my life as an ambassador, always representing “the other” everywhere I go, because, well, I am usually the only one like me wherever I go. Zumba IS an ambassadorial project and it really resonates with my experience. I think it is amazing how many people have lost weight and learned how to dance with Zumba, including a friend of mine who shed 100 pounds this past year Zumba-ing her way to svelte-ness (Congratulations KW, you inspire me!)
So, I include Zumba in Heritage Dance Day because I claim it as my own. I spent $90 on the Zumba set and I am going to Zumba my hind-parts until the DVDs wear out. I love it, i enjoy it, and I wanted to share a fun Zumba video with you that captures the excitement and enjoyment of just dancing to music close to my heart!
Lastly, the video is to inspire you to move. Try the moves, that’s the whole point. This video can bring you 4 minutes and 4 seconds closer to the body you desire and the fun you crave! And if you make it all the way through, I won’t tell anyone if you go have a Caipirinha despues que bailas conmiga!
ZUMBA. Brazil. Caipirinha. Baila!!!