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dance videos: it’s research

May 21, 2009
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My Facebook friends (and others) know that I have been taking a dance class called “Zumba” at the YMCA’s in our area for two or three months. I attend about eight hours of class each week. Zumba is a cardio workout built with moves inspired by belly dancing, hip hop, Latin American and African dances.

I am addicted to it, to the feeling it gives me, and I’ve been thinking I should write a poem about it. Whenever something jumps out at me — if I’m so terrified about my body, how can I do this without inhibition in front of all these people? for example — I know there’s something there. I started to work on a couple pieces last night in my IRL poetry group, and so you should consider viewing these videos as research, a little bit of background into the strange, delightful, happy, happy place called Zumba, that shall inspire many poems.

There are thousands of Zumba videos on the internet, on YouTube and all the places like it. Most of the videos are of really skilled dancers and aerobics instructors. Pay no attention to the hot chicks with their cut abs (well, you can pay attention to them if you want to; that’s your business). Most of us don’t look like that. If you try hard enough, you can find regular bodies doing Zumba, and that’s what it’s like at the YMCA. We are many shapes. Many of us are wide and round, for example. And for at least an hour, we don’t give a shit. We do happy dances and funky dances and fancy dances and dirty dances.

The two videos in this post are dances that we do in class. This video is one inspired by belly dancing. We wear the skirts and everything; mine is bright turquoise with silver coins.

This video is “Bailalo.” It was filmed at a YMCA (not mine). Can you feel the fun in the music?

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