I’ve been going to this incredible Zumba class near my house. It’s not scheduled on the gym’s class list and I found it on accident while I was at the gym with my girl friend late at night. I fell in love almost immediately.
Let me tell you why-
In my early twenties, I tried very, very hard to focus on increasing my dance skills. I was a beginner but always had a passion for dance. I began taking belly dance classes, and soon after, hip-hop classes. Before I knew it, I was in a hip-hop dance group, and flying to Portland for a belly dance intensive with the infamous Rachel Brice. I was trying to make up for all of the time lost when I was young.
Paying for dance classes when I was an adolescent was not an option and I was too insecure about my body as a young teenager to allow myself to have fun and learn in class. I wanted to learn hip-hop and it wasn’t taught in my school. I was relegated to dancing in my room and getting super high to watch You Got Served. Pah!
Needless to say, as I got older, and was able to make opportunities for myself, I threw myself into dance. It was my entire life. For a good 2-3 years, it was all I did. I would dance three to four hours a day, and pushed myself to the limits. Again, I felt that I had to make-up for lost time and that, if I pushed just a little harder, I could be as good as all those girls who had been dancing since they were three.
After about three years of dancing, I broke down. I couldn’t handle the stress and disappointment anymore. I was so worried about being good that I never even enjoyed it. I would work so hard to keep up with the complicated choreographies and I would struggle (badly). The other dancers around me? Well, they wouldn’t struggle. After so many months of not being able to keep up, I dropped out. I stopped dancing. It was my life and my passion but I couldn’t do it anymore. The toll it took on my self-esteem was huge. I felt like I would fail every day. I cared so much and never seemed to be able to get my head above water. The decision to quit was like a huge sigh of relief, oddly enough.
Back to Zumba-
It’s almost two years later, and I can happily say that I have begun dancing again. This Zumba class is what really did it for me. The class was for beginners, point blank. What it is, more than anything else, is a place for me to learn, at a comfortable pace, while also being able to style my dancing. The choreographies aren’t complicated which means I’m able to get the steps down more quickly and most importantly, have fun.
My favorite dance genres are: belly dance, Whaacking, Jamaican dancehall, and Afro/African styles. This zumba class is all of those things and more, shockingly enough. This woman started teaching this class for family members and then more and more randoms started showing up (me) and it became this mish-mash of awesome styles. There is definitely Zumba taught in the class but mixed in there, are choreographies that students made and then taught for the class. I love the relaxed nature of the class. It makes it easy for someone like me to enjoy dancing.
One day, one of the teacher’s approached me and said, “Hey, we let the girls teach sometimes. You should give it a shot. You could do it.” I was shocked that someone was commending my dancing. I once had a teacher tell me, “Can you get out of my video? It makes me look like a bad teacher when my students can’t get the choreography down.”
Anyways, this lady told me I could teach a choreography, and a seed was planted in my head. I had many, many, many songs to choose from, and girl I knew I had enough dance moves in my repetoire to come up with five counts of eight. So, I made a choreography. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I will ever teach a dance that I made. That is crazy to me. At first I was like, “oh man. What did I get myself into. This lady knows I want to teach, I told her that I was going to, and then she made me tell her when so I would actually do it.” I was stressed the hell out. Here are the things I came up with:
- I will just never go to Zumba again
- I will choose a two minute song that’s easy to do some cheesy shit with and just place some of the Zumba choreography in it
And then I said to myself, “Curvy Broke Girl, you know how to dance. You can do this. You have trained enough, in your time, to create five counts of eight.” I was like, “what is really going on here?” I broke it down.
I was afraid of success.
I know that sounds crazy, but keep up with me.
I knew I could do it, and I was letting fear of what I didn’t know stop me.
I was like, “I haven’t taken African classes in so long! I don’t know how to Jamaican dancehall!” I was tripping myself out and trying to find every reason why I couldn’t. Then it happened. I went to the gym, and walked into the dance room, and made my choreography in two hours. I was so sweaty and gross but I DID IT! And the best part, I love my choreography and would be super stoked to learn it in class if someone else made it. I made a dance that I would love to learn. I made a dance that I would love with moves that I wanted to do.
If it all blows up in my face? Eh. It’s one song, one night, and trust me, I’ve seen more embarrassing moments in my life. Every time I do something that I thought I couldn’t do, this weird thing happens. It’s like I enter into a new dimension where I’m a different person with different abilities. I hear it’s called “going out of your comfort zone.” It’s dope, and a lesson has been learned here.
If there is something you think you can’t do, take a good look at it. Sit down and write it out.
- What’s the belief?
- Why do I believe that?
- Is that believe based in actual, factual information. Like, can science prove that it is impossible?
- Why do I allow this belief to stop me?
- What am I going to do about it?
Do this and identify why you have that belief. It really takes the power away when you break it down. I am living proof that you can overcome something horribly debilitating and scary. Take baby steps, and don’t let the task at hand be some big scary monster. Shine some light on those dark things!!!
The Curvy Broke Girl
A Body Positive Blog
A Self-Love Blog