An Ode to Zumba

Whether you have two left feet or your ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ (Shakira, 2005), Zumba is the perfect activity for everybody to get moving and get involved in! I know that for me at least, Zumba has kept me happy and healthy over our rather different Easter Term and summer of 2020 and will carry on being my main form of exercise and stress relief into the future. Zumba was started by Beto Perez in 1999 as an exercise class, with dances to several different styles of popular Latin Music. A large variety of songs are played in each class, leaving you humming and wiggling your hips long after class is over.

Having attended Zumba classes each week for a number of years, and now owning SEVERAL pairs of fabulously garish leggings, over summer I was inspired to make up some of my own routines, living out 10-year-old-me’s dream of choreographing my own dances to share and teach to friends. My very kind (and somewhat bored) friends were happy to partake in our weekly informal boogie sessions over Zoom - or Zoomba sessions as one of them suggested they be called!

And so, I got to spread the joy and creativity that Zumba has brought me to my friends too. It really brought us together over the period of 6 months, although we were physically a lot further apart from each other, and we always had a good catch up after our energy had been expelled. After a month or so, they started requesting some of their favourite songs to have routines choreographed to. Taking an active role in the creative process made our dance sessions more of a collaborative creative outlet. One of my friends enjoyed them so much that she joined my home instructor’s livestreamed Zumba class and has already put the next one in the diary!

Zumba was not only my hobby and primary form of exercise over summer but also the diving platform from which I jumped headlong into taking full creative control during a time when control was something we lacked. Now, more than ever, it is important that we take a bit of time out to exercise, get moving, and have a break to do something we enjoy. For me, Zumba has been this outlet, as well as the initial spark for a way in which my group of friends could spend some (virtual) time together when it wasn’t possible to meet up in person. I hope everybody finds their own ‘Zumba’ and manages to stay happy and healthy over the coming months!