Fifteen years ago I was an energetic (albeit timid and unconfident) twenty-year-old who harbored a secret love of dance. I had no training to speak of- my only experience being the year of ballet I took at the Niverville school gymnasium when I was six. I wanted to teach aerobics as a way to get my dance on and after much deliberation, signed up for training at Montreal’s downtown YMCA. I remember those classes like it was yesterday- the long commute to the facility, my awe with the instructor who to me was so beautiful, fit and amazing (an image of the person I wanted to be), the hours of practice both in studio and at home and the fear– the inside dissolving, intestine twisting, cold-sweat inducing fear of failure. Each time I worked up the courage to perform my routine a monologue of defeat would play on repeat in my mind, “you’re going to forget your moves- you’ll look stupid- how could you ever be as good as your instructor?” I let those words worm their way into my being and gave them place of honor in my heart. While I did complete my training and passed with flying colors, I never taught. Those doubts remained with me for the next thirteen years, primed to speak if ever I chanced to believe that I could lead another dance class…and then I found Zumba and things began to change.
Below is a You Tube video that I must have watch 1000 times. Linda Edler is amazing!
The rhythms were infectious, the moves were fun and there was no distracting instructor monologue. Participants were simply enjoying the class. Something subtly shifted although I didn’t know it yet. I found a class and for a year I contented myself with dancing in the back, behind the instructor who taught from the middle of the floor, hidden away and happy just to move!
“I’d love to share the joy of dance with others,” a new voice dared to speak one day.
“Nah- don’t bother. You’d only forget your moves,” the much practiced voice of doubt and fear replied.
“It’s been a year now and I’m feeling more confident with my moves. Maybe I should look into training…” the new voice said a little later.
“I wouldn’t waste your time- you’ll look stupid,” said fear.
“I think I might be ready…,” confidence eeked out
“Probably not,” doubt retorted a little too loudly, “you’ll never be as good as the instructor.”
“So what!” confidence said with a glow. “That doesn’t matter! I’ll practice hard, do my training and then lead a class and do my best- Those are the things that are within my control…I spent too many years hanging out with you Fear but now, I’m not going to sweat it. I’m going to be happy!”
…and with that Fear and Doubt slunk out of my heart and dissolved into the ether. It took most of my adult life, but finally I’d learned that confidence and positivity were the greatest benefactors to growth and I was finally ready to grow!
Meagan Perkin, Zumba instructor extraordinaire took me under her wing and let me step timidly forward. I led one song, then another and finally got on the stage and rounded out her routine at the Relay for Life last summer. “I can’t wait until you take your training,” she beamed. “You’re going to be great!”
I am now poised on the threshold of an entirely new chapter in my life- the dance chapter- and I couldn’t be more excited! Fear held me back for far too long- it’s debilitating effects nearly robbed me of the deep joy that dancing with all my heart brings. But now I’m going to teach and I get to share that joy with others and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I think 2015 is going to be a wonderful year!!
Here is my first sample of Zumba songs. The video showcases some of the moves we’ll be doing in the first-ever Turning Ground Zumba session this winter. Click here to view the schedule.