The fourth floor of the Denver Athletic Club on March 9 was one of movement. The peppermint and citrus-scented air, courtesy of an essential oils booth in the corner, was buzzing with energy. A Miley Cyrus track was bumping in a vast darkened room that was swirling with disco lights.
My friend Stephanie and I were dressed in our Zumba best as we hydrated and watched the end of the kids’ class before our hour and a half long Fitness Clubbing experience. There would be dancing, sweating, lights and a DJ at this work out party. A guy in a red Dri-FIT shirt stepped off the elevator with his gym bag. I guessed he was looking for the weight room and had taken a very wrong turn.
After we stretched and people-watched for a while, we began to notice some tots wandering around. We realized it was our turn to get down on the dance floor. We booked it on to the floor with Stephanie leading the way–to front and center. She stopped directly in front of the stage where Zumba Fitness instructors were doing their jazz squares like there was no tomorrow. I stood there, a deer in the disco lights for a second. And then the music got to me. People of all shapes, sizes, ages and skill-levels were moving in unison (ish) across the floor, their eyes transfixed to the instructors. For the most part, the combinations were easy enough that you could fake it the first time through, do it the second time and then do it confidently the third time. Incorporated within the routines were squats, overhead presses and ab work. A couple numbers–reggae, really drum-y ones with a lot of stomping, jumping and whooping–were really tricky.
“Moves Like Jagger,” by Maroon 5 (a fave of my beau) came on and we did some body rolls and the sweetest bourree you can do in gym shoes with a shoulder shimmy. I tried to recreate it later to impress my fella, but I’ve gathered that my Zumba dancing is not meant to be shown the light of day. My favorite was one where we did a fast strut to the left, a STOP with a stiff-arm accompaniment. Following that was a drop-it-drop-it-drop-it shoulder pop while sinking into a lunge. I may have been caught practicing that one the next day at work.
I did confirm one fact, which, after twelve years of dance classes I have tried to disprove: I am miserable at Latin dances. I guess after all those ballet classes that teach perfect posture, I need to learn how to undo it a little and get that sensual, fluid quality that is such a huge part of los bailes latinos.
During one such hip-swivel-y song, I swiveled into somebody’s path. It turns out that it was the red Dri-FIT guy, who was salsa-ing circles around me.
And he wasn’t the only guy who was killin’ it. One gent in very printed pants jumped up on the stage to do a booty shake that rattled the teeth in our skulls. Our Denver men were keeping up with us even during the all-my-ladies, snap your hips in a circle then sassy-walk songs.
We all danced until sweat was pouring down our faces and glowsticks were flying off our bodies across the floor. There was also a lot of stepping on toes and bumping into each other with all the quick direction changing. I backed dat ass up into one girl whose backward-traveling booty bump wasn’t fast enough. I heard her yelp before I was high-step and stomping my way forward again.
The DJ spun the last track and we all raced for our water bottles. The lights came on while we stood around, a lot of us bouncing around on our toes, adrenaline still coursing through us.
As Stephanie and I left (we both felt like we were still moving, like after you get off a treadmill), I thought about the last hour and a half. Since my high school dance classes, I haven’t been able to let go and not care how my dancing looks without a couple of cocktails in me, and I just did it in front of a room of people I didn’t know. And I felt awesome about it. Maybe I’ve grown up a little and, in my almost twenty-five years on Earth, I’ve sagely become aware that I don’t care if people think I can’t dance. Or maybe, we all just took the energy from the club, the endorphins from a fab workout and the glowsticks from the ’80’s and had a kick ass time together.