My Zumba Community

The seminar leader instructed us to draw a circle on a piece of notebook paper and then to section the circle like so many wedges of a pie.  Next we were to name all the various communities to which we each belong and in each of those, name the people in the individual communities.  Some fuzzy memory is that the point was to market the seminar to those people and while I did not pursue that avenue, I still consider the different groups of people I encounter from day to day as segments of my community.

This May it will be four years since one of my cousins and our Aunt Bernie and I lined up in the back of the gymnasium at Estabrook Recreation Center on Fulton Road to participate in a Zumba class.  This was new for me but I have always enjoyed dancing and the music was very cheerful and lively, a lot of it had a Latin beat, there was the hip hop element as well.  A couple more sessions and my cousin and Aunt stopped coming, but I was hooked. 

When I first watched the instructors I remember laughing and saying, “Oh yeah, I’m going to do that!”  Next came, “How does she do that?”

I noticed that there was a lot of hugging going on as people came into the gym and I thought, hey, I could use a few hugs.  But I was still a stranger.  I don’t know when it happened, but as time went on and I met more and more people and I tried to remember names as the weeks became months and I tried to speak to each person I met, week after week, pretty soon I was in the hugging circles too, and I felt at home with all the friendly folks.  In time someone established a Facebook page for the group and that became one of “my groups” where any news and events were posted as well as a multitude of pictures. 

Experience taught me some hard lessons too – for example, when I thought “I can do that” the very sharp pain of sciatica pulled the reins in with the warning, yes, you can do that, but not as fast as the younger ladies, and maybe not as many.  It did not matter, I still had fun, socialized and got a good workout, at my own pace. 

Some people wonder how I can persist with the fast moving intense Zumba while I have arthritis in my knees, spine and hips which gives me grief in climbing steps and simpler walking.  I can only explain that it is more full body movement – a lot of short staccato arm and leg moves while in a fairly stationary position.  

My horizons within the scope of Zumba continued to expand as I went from Estabrook to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and more currently the Brooklyn Senior Center.  It turned out that I am not the only gypsy in the group, I see friends from each of the other places at other locations as well and we all chat or have a smile to greet each other as we recognize one another.

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