I’ve never taken a Zumba class.
In fact, I have the rhythm and grace of a white, Jewish girl from New York (for the record, I am a white, Jewish girl from New York, so no one can take offense to that statement).
So the thought of taking a Latin cardio dance class in a pool seemed pretty daunting. And just when I was already feeling like a fish out of water, I saw the sign on the door -- the heater is broken on the pool.
I resisted the sudden urge to flee the scene (who the heck volunteered me to try Aqua Zumba anyway? Oh wait, that was me) and slowly made my way into the icy, cold water.
I looked around at my shivering peers. There were all sorts of people -- different ages, races, and even one or two guys. All of us were in this together.
OK, I can do this.
Washington Sports Club Instructor Erick Ruiz gave the newbies a few pointers: Engage your core, bend at the knees, really scoop the water with your hands to get the maximum upper body workout.
Then the music started. A sort of Latin-hip hop fusion blared through the pool as Erick danced on the deck, shaking his hips, jumping around and waving his arms.
I tried to follow as best I could. But to be honest -- and this is a no-holds-barred article -- my bathing suit bottom was too big on me. With every hop, jump, lunge and swivel, I could feel my behind becoming more and more exposed. I kept tugging them back up, but I’m not going to lie, it kind of distracted me from giving my full attention to Aqua Zumba.
That being said, the class was a blast. They say Zumba is like a party and Aqua Zumba is like a pool party. It really was. Everyone in the pool was laughing and smiling through the 50-minute class. Every time a new song came on, Erick had us switch up our dance moves. We faced different directions in the pool, moved from side to side, but most of all swiveled and dipped our hips and moved our arms through the water.
That’s the key to Aqua Zumba: Using the water as resistance to really work the body.
Erick did a fab job in keeping it high energy. I could have easily been entertained just watching him dance. I stopped feeling the cold pool just a few minutes in. By the time we finished, I was exhausted and my arms and legs felt like jelly.
I can’t help but think that my Aqua Zumba experience is a story of what ifs. What if the heater in the pool worked? What if I wore properly fitting swimsuit apparel? What if I wasn’t so uncoordinated? Well, what if I had never decided to try this class? Then I wouldn’t have had a super fun pool party on a random Wednesday night.
Aqua Zumba is offered at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Washington Sports Club in Columbia Heights.
Lauren Dunn is the medical producer for NBC Washington.