After arriving here in Florida on Monday, and enjoying four happily slothful days, I finally made it to the Y this morning. I had pored over the huge lists of classes available (this YMCA is enormous), discarding anything that said “high intensity” or “challenging”. I decided on “Dance Fit”, which sounded a little like the low-impact aerobics I love back home.
I staked out what seemed like a safe place by one wall, halfway down the room and watched the other members arrive. It was a real range of ages and fitness; very encouraging. Then three women arrived together, and unlike everyone else in their stretchy pants and exercise T’s, these ladies were togged out in motley combinations of cargo shorts, cut-off jeans, and T’s from past concerts. They shuffled nervously up to me and asked if where I stood was at the back of the class. I said I wasn’t sure since I was new, too. They settled on a spot farther back and clumped together like wildebeests gathered for protection.
The music began and everyone but we newbies immediately broke into the first steps. I don’t know how the threesome in back was faring; I had my own problems as the one Rockette who didn’t get the memo. For a full hour I stepped with my right foot while everyone used their left and skipped forward while others marched back. It was a Lucy episode reborn.
It was clear everyone else was really enjoying themselves, though, and they had the moves! In one set we stamped forward, chug-chug train-like, and the woman next to me bellowed out “Whoo Whoo!” at key moments.
In one Latin set, the woman in back of me darted to the side, returning with maracas, which she shook to the beat. Then she was off again, and this time, I swear to you, she had on full Carmen Miranda headgear: a bandana complete with cherries and bananas. These people meant business.
It’s amazing how tiring making all the wrong moves can be. When I glanced at the clock to see how much of class remained, I noticed there was an empty space where my fellow newbies had been.
I’m not giving up, though. At this point in my life I’m becoming more immune to embarrassment. And there’s the encouraging words from the instructor at the beginning of the class: “Don’t worry, you’ll get it. It just takes about four weeks.”