Hips Don’t Lie, Even If the Feet Betray
Genetically, I only am half-Cuban. Let me tell you how it shows: Start the Latin music and my bottom and waist wiggle. All on their own. Then look at my feet. They likely are not doing the correct un-dos-tres. My feet are very un-Latin.
And torpe que soy, I never let my mom – an amazing dancer – teach me. And futhermore, you see that Zumba instructor in the video meneandolo quite well? She’s one of my little primas. I babysat her. Babysat her! She and my other female cousins got all the shake it, shake it, shake it correctamente Cuban genes. My dance genes? They’re from nice Nordic people from Minnesota.
When I started taking Zumba in Nashville a couple of years ago, I hoped that hanging in an exercise class with Celia y Juanes would help me bailar better. And, I did immediately feel all J-Lo in there. A little Shakira too. Hips don’t lie and all that. Who cares if I am going left when everybody else is going right, si? Cause, I’m feeling good.
But, truth is, as much as I love it, I still kinda stink at it. I may be correctly mouthing the Spanish lyrics and yelling Azucar! but I am indeed, a Latina who can’t manage to get in step. That’s like being from Wisconsin and not liking cheese, isn’t it? Just not right.
However, I am trying to learn to celebrate that what my Maker didn’t give me in the able-to-follow-choreography department, He gave me in the caderas-can-move department.
You see, I have discovered Belly Dance Class. And much to my joy and surprise, my half-Latin, half-americana body can shimmy, pop pop and figure eight in the ways of the sultry Middle East. I even bought a little pink, coin hip scarf that goes all ching ching ching under the spell of my newly discovered magic powers. Shocked my husband, even.
“Wow, you can do that?” he said, laughing. “Do it again!”
I’ll never give up Zumba no matter how much I trip on my tenis. It puts me in a much-needed sweaty and tropical state of mind. But, amen for belly dance, where I’m just another enthusiastic gringita working the core and not a cubanita reminded she can’t cumbia.
* photo by butterfly on flickr