As I'm going to miss Zumba this week, here's something to jog a few memories!
Hip-hop - She Who Dares style
Down behind the shopping centre and colour drained high street, where Primark reigns supreme – a cauldron of culture and entertainment lurks - Harlow Playhouse. Inside, beyond the airy foyer, is the low celinged and red walled dance studio. Ambling in wearing our trademark red sweatshirts we looked like a community service project gone wrong, a group of middle aged, displaced hoodies, SWD in the hood.
We were met by the sweet and far cooler, Jenny, who flicked her eyes over the group and turned away, ready to teach from the mirror, backed by a nervous and very serious She Who Dares. We faced our own reflections for our first Hip Hop session, more like ‘Hip replacement hop’. As we attempted to set our faces in concentration the effect was less ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, more ‘Come on if you think you’re hard enough’.
Jenny led us through some warm ups, keeping a straight face all the time. It’s the opposite of how most of us were taught to dance; hold yourself taught and head high. This is loose and floppy, shoulders down and an attitude stance, easy for the young, stiff joints and knees meant we looked like a demented band of wooden tops. At least the music was recognizable; she took pity on us and found some Michael Jackson. Thriller never looked so horrific.
Jenny took us through a series of moves at a slow pace, funereal even, explaining each move. The wave - start with the arms extended at shoulder height, curl the fingers up to the ceiling, then the wrist, elbow and shoulder shrug, repeating on the other side. She demonstrated but our stop-motion movements never quite flowed. Then she demonstrated some footwork, and explained how the crips and the blood gangs from LA have their own trademark moves. We invented a SWD version. Then the moonwalk, more like the Zimmer stroll, but we tried. We thought we were doing OK until we saw a snippet of video played back later. No Britain’s Got Talent next year then. Some attitude must have rubbed off, entering a local coffee shop en masse, everyone else leaves. Must have been the hoodies.