Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Social Hierarchy of A Zumba Class

Hello, my name is Sarah Hartshorne... and I Zumba. I read somewhere that memorizing a choreographed physical routine is 10x better for preventing Alzheimer's than crossword puzzles, so I started taking Zumba classes. For a while I think I pulled off doing so ironically, until this week.

Somehow... I crossed a line. I'm not sure how it happened but all of a sudden at my last class I noticed people looking to me to figure out the routine. And when the instructor asked how we were all doing....

I whooed. 

That's right. As in the "whooo!" one does at a concert or a sporting event or somewhere equally cool. I made that sound, along with a bunch of other people in tight, elastic-y clothing, at a Zumba class. I expect to receive a letter in the mail any day announcing that I will not be allowed in Brooklyn until I complete 10 Enthusiasm Management Classes and an Irony Apprecation Workshop.

In the meantime, however, I've learned that there is a clearly divided social hierarchy in Zumba classes and these are the divisions my research has revealed:

Gay Guys
They are the top of the pyramid and everyone knows it. 
They move the best, the have the most fun and everyone 
follows them when they can't see the instructors. But the 
truly best thing about them is how uncomfortable the Unfunny 
Straight Guys look as they realize whose lead they have to follow. 

Zumba Sluts
There are actually 2 types of Zumba Sluts but they're all
tan, have an entire wardrobe of cute workout clothes (as
opposed to a 3XL Morris Dancing Feast T-shirt and men's
running shorts) and wear makeup to class.These are the subcategories:
1) Young Zumba sluts: their expertise comes from 
dancing at the club and they want everyone to know it.
They bust into their own slutty little dances between
numbers lest anyone think their talents were limited to
Zumba. No one knows who they are trying to impress.

2) Middle-aged Zumba sluts: these women wear special
Zumba brand clothing, are ridiculously fit, and say things 
like, "why go to a club when you can Zumba?!" I am
tempted to suggest they ask their younger counterparts,
but that would draw attention to the fact that someone in 
in the world is younger than them and they really hate that. 
I once mentioned that I wasn't born when their favorite 
song came out and they almost ate me.

General Populace/Funny Straight Guys
This, I believe, is where I fall in the pyramid.
The funny straight guys don't mind taking
cues from the gay guys, acknowledge their lack of
rhythym and try to have a good time anyway. I think
the instructor's impeccable ass helps. A lot.

Neurotic Nancies/Unfunny Straight Guys
These are the guys who thought they'd be able
to pick up chicks and realize that that won't be 
happening, and the girls who are, "like, known for
 their dancing" and thought they'd be awesome at this
until they caught sight of themselves in the mirror. 
In short, anyone who takes themselves seriously is 
instantly relegated to the bottom of the pile.

And outside the pyramid, floating around in the periphery are 

The Ancients
Women who are all approximately 120 years old and spend the entire class just walking in place and waving their arms. The really ambitious ones alter their arm waves to vaguely resemble the instructor's movements. In my class we have the added bonus of having a crazy ancient who, in between numbers, shouts things like, "we all have wings of the Taco!" which is pretty great.


  1. "We all have wings of the Taco!" made me chortle creepily at my desk. That IS pretty great.

  2. Too funny! I've contemplated Zumba, but haven't made the leap to check out a class yet.

    Great post!


  3. Thanks! It's a good workout, and excellent people-watching. Also, I love your name/blog!

  4. Was dragged into a Cerock class last time I passed through England and threw myself into it with all the enthusiasm of a Middle Aged Zumba Slut. Then I stepped into a Hip Hop class and immediately became The Ancient. Back in The Valley, I am going to sign up for Modern Dance for Beginners and my ambition is to be a Gay Guy.