Monday, November 29, 2010

Multicultural gym

I decided to try the zumba class at the gym here in Oslo today. The gym here has new classes every month and zumba has been packed for the last 3 months. So yesterday I tried to sign up (yup, you've got to sign up online for each class here) and luckily was number 2 in the wait list. Today those 2 people cancelled and when I got to the gym I got the pass...

Now, I must admit I had no clue what the class was about. I'm usually lazy about running, so I like group classes mainly for trying something different and not yet monotonous. And for that same reason I sign up for classes I have no clue about: at least they are unexpected!

Early on I realize this is dancing mixed with aerobics. Hum... tricky. Being Brazilian everyone expects me to be great at dancing... but my German genetics don't allow it (I feel like a broomstick trying to move around). Add to it some shyness and group exposure is a bad result. Well, at least no one at the gym class knows I don't speak Norwegian, let alone that I'm from another continent.

We start with some latin music... then, to my surprise comes samba! (And the general lack of coordination makes me feel better.)
Then some salsa... ok...
Some other songs... And, when I'm almost relaxing, comes funk from Rio de Janeiro.

Now, I need to pause to explain that the funk in Rio (called funk carioca) is a style in its own, the lyrics are always very graphic and describe men dominating women and sex. As most pop songs in Brazil, lyrics are usually not paid attention to, which makes them worse. Then there is a coreography, which is as explicit as you can get in public. Funk carioca is very heavy on ass shaking and back and forth motions to be more exact.

As the song tchutchuca (for videos you can always do your own search :P ) picks up in the gym class I blush. I mean, in Brazil I always refused to dance these songs... they are a bit over the top for me. And here in Norway, where no one has a clue about the lyrics the girls start to roll their waist, shake their butts and dance as if... Well, could I argue that not knowing the lyrics makes it ok? Then at least I could use the comparative advantage of knowing the choreography beforehand... Ah... stupidity is bliss.

And with export products like this it is no wonder that Brazilians abroad have to put up with ideas that our country is all about soccer (football), naked women, and carnival...


  1. Aw, I can't tell from your post whether you enjoyed your Zumba class or not ...? If not, I'm sorry - I absolutely love Zumba and cannot rate it highly enough for a fun, furious workout. I do think the teacher and their choice of music makes a *huge* difference but by and large I've been really lucky with mine. :-)

    I suppose you are right that ignorance is bliss and I'm not familiar with Brazilian Portuguese :-S I guess it would be awkward to sit out the numbers you don't like in such a class ... But if it would be easier to stomach without the wiggling and shaking, don't forget there's no rule to say you have to do it - my favourite teacher always begins her class by saying "there's no right or wrong way to Zumba ..." and I like that attitude, especially as I can be a bit clumsy sometimes!

    We frequently do some Bollywood-flavoured dances too alongside salsa, calypso, cha cha cha, belly dancing and quebradita (amongst others) ... all good fun and not at all degrading.

    I hope you give the class another go or even try another one somewhere else. I too am not a natural mover - and it has really given me confidence!

    Good luck!

  2. Hi xaspireonfirex,
    Thanks for your comment. And don't worry, I'm repeating the class too. I figured the fun is worth the mental distress :P