Day 346: Commercial Shoot for Y – Zumba Gold

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I love it when a first falls into my lap. I had a planned first for today and was mulling it over as I stepped into Zumba class at the Joplin Family Y – South. I was a few minutes late and the first dance was under way. I made sure that I smiled and waved at everyone and then joined the class, front row and to the right. Zumba was a first for me, way back in February (Day 38). I was concerned I’d be able to keep up with the pace, and had intended for my first Zumba experience to also be my last. I fell in love with the Latin based dance routines and have a great appreciation for Dave, our awesome Zumba instructor. I attend class three times a week and miss the workout greatly if I have to skip a class.

Today, Dave paused after the first dance to let me know, since I was late, that we were learning a new routine today. And….oh yeah….we were going to be filmed today. What? was all I had time to say before we started the next routine. Just as we finished the second number, a camera man with KODE Channel 12 appeared at our door, all smiles.

What I didn’t realize was that this was a professional shoot. I had thought Dave meant that he was filming us today, to use as promotional material. The Y is creating a new commercial spot, to be aired on TV. The camera man was here to get footage from all over the Y, including the Zumba Gold class.

I don’t know if the others in my class realized it was a commercial shoot….or it was just me that was discovering this fact. But when Dave spotted the cameraman, he moved to his music list, announcing we were going to do the new dance. We protested! If we had to be filmed, at least let it be a routine we knew well!

Dave is a brilliant guy. He knew exactly what he was doing, introducing a new dance for the filming. We Zumba Gold ladies get used to the dances and can move through them on auto pilot. I am focusing on awareness and being present in the moment….and yet, I can still suddenly realize my mind has left my body, even as it is dancing, and that I’ve lost track of where we are, exactly, in the routine. You’d think turning the wrong way and facing the rest of the class as they all face the correct way would be enough to make me pay more attention….but no. By cuing up a new song, with new moves, Dave got our full attention. We had to watch him carefully and keep our focus sharp, or risk a mis-step on film.

The camera man reminded us to smile. It’s a workout, especially when we are learning new moves, yet we laughed and smiled as we danced. And with all eyes on Dave, we moved through the new routine well. At the end of the number, the guy from KODE thanked us and left to capture more footage. Our routine will be shortened down to a snippet of the commercial, I’m sure. It was a fun, first experience, being filmed for a commercial during Zumba class, and I decided to claim it. I’m learning to be much more spontaneous and today, I didn’t even try to hide behind a classmate. I just went with it. And then, it was back to our regularly scheduled Zumba.

kode channel 12 commercial

Day 261: Zumba in the Street

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Tonight was Third Thursday. I always enjoy milling around downtown, chatting with people, checking out booths and art, and listening to music. The Joplin Y took over the corner of 3rd & Main Streets this evening and cranked up the Latin music. For my first today, I joined in with other enthusiastic dancers and did Zumba in the street.

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Dave takes the stage

It was a busy day with several unexpected twists and turns, work wise, that kept me on the phone or in the car for a good part of the day. I did get to enjoy the company of granddaughter Aubrey for a short time. After dropping her off at home, I met my mom and sister downtown to watch other groups perform Zumba and wait for my instructor, Dave, to take the stage.

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The Y had 8 of their instructors downtown, putting willing participants through a variety of moves, much to the enjoyment of the crowd gathered to watch. When Dave’s turn to lead the dances arrived, Mom and I joined in, front and center. There was at least one other woman from my class present. I arrived downtown straight from Carthage, so I didn’t exactly have on Zumba clothes, but I had a great time. Dave shines as an instructor. Fun and very expressive, he had the dancers moving, clapping and whooping in no time. My sister held our stuff and snapped pics while Mom and I danced through four routines. I’m very proud of my mom, who faithfully attends class three times a week and showed up tonight ready to give it her all. She has rheumatoid arthritis, but you’d not know that from her energy and ability. She inspires me to keep going as well!

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There’s my mom, two down from me dressed in black. Go Mom!

We finished with the Chicken Dance, which is a high energy routine, even though it isn’t one of our usual numbers. I unfortunately pulled my Achilles tendon on my right heel having a blast on that one and have my foot soaking in warm water with Epsom Salts. I’ve aggravated this heel before and I know it will be fine shortly. It didn’t help when I added insult to injury and stumbled over a parking curb in the dark, walking to the car!

I am grateful to Dave for his patience with the Zumba Gold class, and for his playful sense of humor. And I am thankful for this excellent form of exercise. It is not only fun, it is good for me, on so many levels. I’ve just got to beware that Chicken Dance!

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Great finish, Dave!

Day 151: Zumba Demo During National Senior Health & Fitness Day 2014

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At age 56, I don’t consider myself a senior. No matter what my future age, I may never consider myself a senior! Age is just a number. Most days I feel much younger and some days, I definitely feel every one of my years, and more.

National Senior Health & Fitness Day is celebrated nationwide, usually on the last Wednesday of May. It is an event in which thousands of older adults can take part in fairs and programs designed to promote the importance of regular physical activity and to showcase what local organizations are doing to improve the health and fitness of seniors in their communities. The Joplin Family Y participated this year, for the first time I believe, and held their Senior Health & Fitness Day today, from noon – 4:00, at the South Y location.

Non members could sign up for a free one month membership. All participants could win prizes playing bingo, receive other give aways, eat snacks, visit the 20 vendor booths set up and watch and participate in exercise classes, including Zumba Gold. I am a member of that class, participating three times a week under the instruction of Zumba master, Dave. My first for today was to take part in a Zumba demonstration during the National Senior Health & Fitness Day at the Y.

This was a great experience. Our first demo took the form of a flash mob. While seniors were milling about and playing bingo, Dave, standing alone among them, started the music for one of our songs. The rest of us came from varying places around the gymnasium, joining him. We did a lively routine and included a hilarious moment where the class, all ladies, shouted out Dave’s name as we shimmied.

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Moving to a designated area, we did a portion of our regular class, inviting others to participate. Various people joined us for a song or two, or the entire class. Although the gym was very warm and we missed the fans we normally have blasting away in our upstairs exercise room, we gave it our very best effort and enjoyed the extra day of Zumba. Dave, expressive and fun loving, did a great job leading the dances. He was aware of the warmer temps and shortened the class so we wouldn’t overheat.

Back out among the older adults in the main part of the gym, we did our last routine, a very funny number we recently learned. It was the perfect way to finish up, with laughter and smiles and applause. We were all sweaty but happy to have participated and to show the benefits of Zumba. It is a great form of exercise and a great way to connect with others.

Victoria Moran, author of Younger by the Day: 365 Ways Rejuvenate Your Body & Revitalize Your Spirit says, “Just because you’re grown up and then some doesn’t mean settling into the doldrums of predictability. Surprise people. Surprise yourself.” I love that. I hope today, as we appeared behind Dave, moving to the strong beat of Latin music, that we surprised people and showed them that being healthy can be fun. I know I continue to surprise, and delight, myself during this year of firsts. May I ever continue to do so.

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Zumba instructor Dave, and me, after the demos

Day 38: Zumba

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Today’s first was Zumba! And I have a confession to make. I did not know if I would enjoy this wildly popular form of exercise. I even thought this might be my first “first” in which I’d say, “Nope, not for me”.

Silly me! I should know better than to have any preconceived notions about the opportunities that are appearing on my journey this year.

My mom invited me to her Zumba class, held at the Joplin Family Y. I should be embarrassed to say that I feared I might not be able to keep up with my mom!  The class is especially designed for people 55 and older. It is a gentler Zumba, but there are no rest breaks in this class and the pace is brisk. I have enjoyed and benefitted from slower paced exercises such as yoga and tai chi so I wondered if my body would protest greatly during this activity. I shouldn’t have been concerned.

I loved everything about the Zumba class. The instructor, Dave Miller, pictured above, was amazing. He was easy to follow, entertaining and made the class so fun. The music inspired me and got my body moving. The hips just start to shake with those Latin beats! I did not have any problems keeping up with the class and yet it was a wonderful workout and I was sweaty and exhilarated at the end of the hour. Which are just the results you hope for in Zumba, I think!