We are not all created equal.

She may be able to rope a runaway bovine. But this Cowgirl can’t dance.
I want to start this post with an apology and a disclaimer. For all white women out there who have an amazing sense of rythm, who can dance like JLo on her happiest day, who can shake their bootie and do the Macarena with the very best of us. To all of you I say, YOU GO GIRL! YOU ROCK! This post is NOT about you. And, Im very sorry if this post offends your dancing self.

Last month some of you may recall, I went to a Zumba class. It was taught by a woman called Lee. Bodacious, beautiful, bootilicious, and breathtakingly talented – the woman danced like Bollywood meets Hollywood meets Pacific Flava meets Antonio Banderas ‘Dance With Me’. She was amazing and her class was packed with people who were having a great time trying to keep up with her. (At this time i feel the inexplicable need to tell you that Lee is brown. Not that that means anything. Just saying. Just in case you needed that detail to assist with your visualization of the scene.)

Fast forward to the present day and my comittment to gym glory. Nice personal trainer Steve wrote up an exercise program for me. Three days of rocket turbo circuit weights. ( Doesnt that just send shivers of excitement down your spine? I mean, ‘rocket turbo’ always makes me think of James Bond in Moonraker. Or really big massage machines.) One day is devoted to a cardio class. I chose Zumba. Because as I have previously mentioned, Zumba and I have a hot thing going. Because I like to dance like Bollywood meets Hollywood meets Pacific Flava – while thinking about Antonio Banderas.

So today was Zumba day. I got to the workout room early and the instructor welcomed us exercise devotees with a pretty smile. Let’s call the instructor Cowgirl. (the reason why will soon make itself known). She was blonde. Perky – (translation: skinny with boobs and a butt that stand up.) And cheerful. “I hope you’re ready to have a good time!”

Yes. I was ready to have a good time.I had eaten an exuberant amount of breakfast and so I was ready to zumba myself to a fat burning good time.

Cowgirl turned off the lights. Cranked up the volume. And switched on the disco lights. (I kid you not.) She had one of those spinning disco balls flashing its throbbing message all over the room. I looked around fearfully. I half expected John Travolta to leap out at me at any minute, point his finger and give me the ‘Stayin Alive’ swagger. But then, all my attention was taken by Cowgirl as she began to do her thing on the stage.

OHMISTRIPPERGIRL-GOSH. Cowgirl’s first move was to stand on tiptoe and start jiggling her ENTIRE body at rapid hummingbird rate. Like she was being electrocuted. Stuck with a lightning rod. I looked at her in horror. What are you doing? She rocked back and forth as she spasmed on stage. Oh. I get it. She thinks thats a dance move!.

Cowgirl called out encouragingly, “Come on, you can do it!”

No I most certainly can not. If there’s one thing I will not do – its deliberately set out to look stupid on the dancefloor. No. I shook my head apologetically and watched. Cowgirl launched into her next set of moves. All while still spasming. A kind of ‘swing my rope around my head and try to lasso a cow with it. Then turn to the right and swing my rope around my head and try to lasso another cow with it. Then turn to the left and swing my rope…you get the idea, right? I was trying not to let my face show how aghast i was inside. I was the only person in the room NOT participating in this zumba rodeo. Why am i the only one who thinks this woman looks stupid?! At this point in the blogpost, I feel the inexplicable need to tell you all that I was the only brown person in the room. Not that that means anything. Just saying. Just in case you needed a detail like that to completely visualize the scene in your mind…

But Cowgirl was just getting warmed up. She launched into her next set of moves. Jiggle jiggle spasm, bend over and stick your butt out, jiggle jiggle spasm, stand up straight, jiggle jiggle spasm, bend over…you get the idea right? If you’ve ever seen a B-grade movie with a scene from a strip club, where the stripper looks really slutty in a really awkward kind of way, NOT sexy or alluring at all – then you’ve seen Cowgirl doing her version of Zumba. Awkward. Cringing on your behalf!

I tried, I really did. For the sake of religiously following Nice Steve’s exercise program. For the sake of being nice to Cowgirl who probably studied dance at the Royal Academy and moonlights as a stripper to supplement her income working on a cow farm. For the sake of getting my money’s worth from this gym membership. For the sake of burning off the excessive breakfast I ate that morning. I did try to Zumba the way Cowgirl wanted me to.

But when i realised that the dance room had glass windows that the entire rest of the gym could look through – I knew i had to get out of there. If a SKINNY chick looks silly doing these moves, then imagine how an up-sized woman looks doing the same electrocuted chicken dance? I mean, heck, SBW could wander into this exact same gym at this exact same moment and have forever imprinted on his mind, the image of a rather large brown woman jiggling her ample butt while twirling an imaginary rope around her head as she tried to lasso a mad cow. Ewww. Shudder. Hell no. I gave Cowgirl another apologetic smile and scuttled out of there.

I told Steve that Zumba with Cowgirl is just not my thing. Because when it comes to Zumba, it’s a sad ( mildly racist) fact – that all instructors are not created equal.

And if you really want to do good Zumba – like Hollywood meets Bollywood meets Pacific Flava while chatting with Latin Lover Antonio – then go check out Lee Peihopa’s Zumba classes in Te Atatu, Auckland. Thats where I’ll be.

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16 comments

  1. Lani – Just wanted to say that you made my day today with your rodeo gal blog.Laughed my butt off (if only). Hope you dont give up. E sa'o, white girls can't dance!N.Samoa

  2. HI Talli -Im sure you are most definitely NOT a zumba rodeo cowgirl! Wildly successful authors like yourself are never undignified or funny -looking on the dancefloor. Never!Always nice to have you stop by Sleepless.

  3. ha ha ha ha ha ha that is so funny. Those of us white women who KNOW we can't dance, we just sit and watch the ads and dream of being a brown person with moves. I did have a dream for a while that if I bought the zumba set I would become a brown woman with hot moves … but I was sleep deprived and breast-feeding at the time and reality soon came back to bite me in my white jiggly un-hot-move arse. Stereotypes are invented for a reason – so I can sit in one.Anna

  4. bahahahahaha this is sooooo true cuz, you really Should come along to HOT HULA one time, and then write about that…………. I really dont mean to be picky, but white chicks there CANT HULA either….. 🙂 🙂 come on , give it a go.Fiona

  5. I wanted to know more about the awesome author who wrote Telesa, and found out that she writes the most entertaining blogs ever. Gotta say that you are an amazingly talented writer Lani. I enjoy reading your blogs, especially when I'm bored at work lol… thanks for keeping me alive in this dead environment hehe..Cheers :)Jev

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