I cannot dance.
I am not just saying this to downplay an actual ability like when people say, "Oh, I can't sing," and then they belt out an aria from Carmen (Jerks). No, I really cannot dance.
I have what I like to refer to as Caucasian Rhythm Disorder. I am of Scottish descent and we are a people known, at our stereotyped best, for throwing heavy objects, playing bagpipes, producing whiskey and eating haggis, none of which are really activities that bring about a culture of smooth and sensual rhythmic movements.
Even our traditional dance is called " The Highland Fling" and mostly revolves around hopping around like a one-legged bunny on caffeine (Not to disparage any of my dancing kin, it's very difficult to do, but I wouldn't call it smooth by any stretch of the imagination.)
This past week my friend Sarah invited me to go to an aerobic toning class, and always looking for something new to try, I went. Being a few days past laundry day I threw on the only clean piece of workout clothing I had left; my Sport Kilt.
We got through the aerobic class, with me happily sweating along, kilt probably befuddling the rest of the class. The class ended and as we were all leaving a Zumba class began to arrive.
For those of you who have never been exposed to the wonders of Zumba, it is basically Jazzercise on crack.
Zumba participants are devoted, much like the members of a cult, to their classes. They show up several times a week, often wearing Zumba uniforms, and often chant along with the music.
My friend Sarah turned to me and said, "Hey, we should stay and do Zumba!"
I blinked at her a couple times with the same expression an antelope might have for a cheetah with a jet-pack. I tried to explain to her that I am not a dancer, that the second I am given a beat and rhythm to follow I become a danger to myself and others, but she did not heed my warning and so out onto the gym floor we trundled.
The music started and the first thing the instructor shouted was, "Go to the left!" And I promptly went right nearly crashing into a wall. Correcting my trajectory (because that is all it really can be labeled at this point) did not help much. I had no idea what the Zumba-trons were doing with their feet, much less what they were doing with their hands or hips. I do not samba, salsa, hip-hop or use my hips to tell truths (that's right Shakira, my hips tell terrible, terrible lies). They all moved in a wonderful synchronized form while I did something similar to The Time Warp meets the Highland Fling in a kilt.
I will admit I had fun, even when some older lady lady tried to help me learn some very basic steps, she eventually gave up. But I can promise I was a dancing tragedy, a fact that was confirmed by the pitying/attempting to be encouraging looks I got from a very adorable gay couple across from me.
What I found fascinating is how into it everyone in the class seemed to be. It didn't matter how big or small the person was, orientation, religion, The Bachelor devotee or not, this was the most accepting cult I have ever witnessed. Though, I will probably not be returning anytime in the near future, I'm pretty sure I almost gave some poor woman a black eye due to directional mishap.
So what lessons did I learn from my boogie-bedazzled enterprise?
1. You can have a lot of fun making an absolute fool of yourself (a fact I already knew, but it's nice to have a refresher course every once in a while).
2. If at first you don't succeed, then do the Running Man for 3 minutes until the song changes and you have some smidgen of hope that you will have some sort of a clue what to do for the next song.
3. Always wear a kilt into new situations, just wearing one increases one's courage, I promise.