Clash of Culture- The Zumba Phenomenon (SP 4)

I never really enjoyed doing choreographed dance. Even when taking dance, it would frustrate me because I always wanted to do my own moves and routines.

Yesterday, three of my friends decided they were going to try out Zumba at the Hart House gym. And as the most caring and lovely of friends in the world they are (I need to make them sound super awesome in case they read this), my friends decided to drag me along as well.

I went in with an, “I-hate-this-please-let-me-leave-now” attitude, and began to do typical dance stretches. Looking around, I noticed the amount of people that were gathering in the gym. Different races, genders, ages, heights, dancing abilities, etc., were all standing there waiting for this workout to begin. Shortly after, our very animated but lovely dance instructor came in.

Everyone was nervous.  Many people were very fidgety. Which leads to my assumption that they’ve either had a lot of sugar, coffee, or they were just excited. And who am I kidding? I was excited/nervous too. It’s been almost six years since I’ve been to a dance class. (I had to stop because of knee problems if you’re wondering.)

When the powerful Latin music began to blare in the gym, and instructor began the workout, we all looked like lost prey running away from a hungry lion. Not even kidding; our lack of dance skills was quite obvious. No one was able to find a sense of direction or “Latin vibe”. Our hands and legs were everywhere. After about five minutes, people began to create small and harmless conversations with the people around them, laughing off their own mistakes.

Friendships were born.

That’s the great thing about public social activities; people get to interact! With all the social networking and technology these days, I feel that social skills are being lost, and everything seems more awkward. Now don’t mistake me, I’m a pretty socially awkward person as well (It’s probably one of the main reasons The Perks of Being a Wallflower appealed to me so much.) The only reason I talk to people is because sometimes I have a lot to say, and also I think I’m funny- which I’m probably not.

Watching all these people interact over a simple workout made me happy. Rather than making friends over Twitter or Tumblr that you will probably never meet (sad isn’t it? I’d love to meet to people I follow on Tumblr), this Zumba class provided us all withthe perfect opportunity to make new friends.

Social interaction, in my opinion, promotes social justice. By learning about another person’s culture and lifestyle, you are less prone to judging their culture. In a workout like this, the person’s life and background doesn’t matter. Their social status and wealth isn’t a big factor either. All that matters is that you have one thing in common; a lack of dance skill. And as well all know, having things in common creates friendships.

As university students, we should promote social interaction to stop social injustice. Attend school events (maybe not all of them), start a conversation in class, or even smile at someone as you’re walking down the street. In the end we might all still be socially awkward, but at least we’ll have other people to be socially awkward with.

3 comments on “Clash of Culture- The Zumba Phenomenon (SP 4)

  1. Blogging the Just City says:

    Thanks Ada – Great post about a ‘semi public’ activity – semi public because it was not entirely open to the public, but rather to the university community. It’s great to try new things and have fun while doing it – and to make all kinds of observations at the same time! I have never tried Zumba (I am positively uncoordinated when it comes to dancing) but my mom goes to Zumba all the time! Also enjoyed your comments about the need to interact in person and not just online. And the humour.

  2. adablogginginthejustcity says:

    I’m glad it brought a bit of laughter!

  3. jemelmay says:

    I actually loved your post. I went to a Zumba class to, the ones they have on Friday, and I can definitely relate to the emotions you were feeling. I really liked your point, “Social interaction, in my opinion, promotes social justice.” I completely agree with the this idea of different people coming together in this common space that we all share, to learn more about each other. Your last sentence was also spot on, “In the end we might all still be socially awkward, but at least we’ll have other people to be socially awkward with.” There is nothing like feeling awkward with other awkward people around you. But in university, although everyone is different and you can sometimes feel like you don’t belong, events like the Zumba thing can definitely change your perspective on belonging to a place that seems fairly large. By interacting with one another we can definitely begin to feel more at home and find ourselves amongst these people.

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