When I told my husband I’d be going to a solo salsa class, he panicked that this time, I really had fallen off the planet. He’s knows I want us to try a couples class, but mental replays of our somewhat cringeworthy wedding dance quickly extinguish that whim.
He’s my excuse for being such a bad dancer and so I was a little petrified of how hastily I’d agreed to join my friend at Solo Salsa (Sosa) because going solo would inevitably mean I didn’t have my inept partner to blame for my lack of dancing prowess. Although there is a little shake in these hips that I save for when the Macarena comes on, I otherwise epitomise what us Brits are known for – awkward dancing.
I turned up in my best possible dance/workout attire just as the class got going with a series of sashays and sways, nifty footwork and a few rolling arm movements. “Nice fluid arms ladies,” crooned our instructor Katy Barrow, who incidentally founded Sosa Dance Fitness just five months ago and bounds around the room effortlessly.
Sosa uses moves that are low-impact on your joints yet great for sculpting your body while also providing a decent cardio workout.
I survived the warm-up without too many noticeable mishaps, but it wasn’t long of course before the dreaded word shimmy was used. What’s the most delicate way to put this? … I cannot shimmy… even if my career as a dancer on stage with Ricky Martin depended on it. I tried my best with my Shakira-sized mountains, but this move really is just made for the fuller-busted woman.
I was reluctant to make big shapes with my body, despite Katy’s instructions to circle our hips, reach up high, flick our legs and hair at the same time; all of it seemingly beyond me. When the class moved ahead without me, I stood laughing nervously until I either recognised, or managed to fake, some of the moves. After a short while though I was comfortable enough with side stepping at some pace from one side of the room to the other, that I even added arm movements to it in a semi-respectable fashion.
Another few choreographed routines later and I was looking at myself in the mirror, as opposed to the instructor, as I punched out these grand moves. I didn’t think I looked too bad, though I’ll confess, some significant fine tuning is needed. Though the main point, as Katy herself explained, is that it’s all about having fun, loving your body and forgetting this preconceived idea that keeping fit has to be a fashion parade made up of prejudice.
So will I be returning to Sosa? Well, with Sosa dubbed (by yours truly) to be the next big dance fitness craze, I’m getting in early because I refuse to miss the second Zumba train!
*Sosa Dance Fitness was inspired by the This Girl Can campaign and aims to empower and inspire women all over the country, to feel confident and achieve their fitness goals without fear of judgement. You can find your nearest class here.