My arms flail around in desperation, my legs kick with despair, and I join in with the exaggerated movements occurring everywhere around me. Oh yeah, I’m getting into it. And I’m in the middle of the Science Center Plaza.
Then, all of a sudden, a friend ruins my groove. He creeps up on me, all ninja-like, and sinisterly asks, “What the hell are you doing?” I ignore him but want to say, “Obviously, I’m in a Zumba class.” Heat crawls up my neck as I see more friends walking by me, laughing in utter confusion. I try to ignore the grim reality that my peers will be talking about the 6’2’’ Asian dude with an ostentatious green polo sweater who looks like an uncoordinated buffoon—but I fail. After 15 minutes of pure, unadulterated self-humiliation, I make the executive decision to stop and sit next to Italian tourists who were previously gawking at me.
The following half hour is, in one word, brutal. I look at the group having an absolute blast—there are no less than 30 sweaty people dancing away stress, calories, and fat. There appear to be a few female undergraduate students, some graduate students, and a handful of dancers who look older than my grandparents, all coming together in a busy public space to take part in a Zumba class. I have a yearning to jump back into the lines of dancers, but at the same time, I feel much more comfortable in my new front row seat.
When the session ends—finally—I approach several members of the motley crew with questions:
“How do you feel knowing that tourists and students are constantly Snapchatting you?”
Awkward grandpa: “I guess I’m hot shit now.”
Undergraduate female student: “It’s annoying, but then again, kids snapchat everything nowadays.”
“What do you think about holding the weekly Zumba sessions in front of the Science Center?”
Adorable kindergarten-aged tourist: “So cool. This is so cool.”
Female graduate student: “It’s convenient and fun. You just have to forget where you are and that people are watching you. The wind is great and the vibe is even better. It’s always fun to dance outside.”
My advice? Outdoor Zumba is not for everyone, but just try it. Live life unafraid to be embarrassed. To be honest, I will never go out to a session again, but this experience will remain in my top 10 most memorable moments of freshman fall.
And, no, I am not a loser.