How I discovered zumba and beat my winter blues

Kyra Price

More stories from Kyra Price

Across the Pond
May 9, 2024

Photo by Marisa Valdez

I started working out when I quit dance in my junior year of high school. I was used to exercising four or more days a week for three hours, so dropping that down to nothing was really hard for me.

I kept this up for a while, then got out of the habit when everything shut down because of COVID-19.

I started working out again during my freshman year of college to de-stress, then started going to the gym most days of the week by the summer before sophomore year. School started and I once again fell out of the habit.

I’ve always known Hilltop has free workout classes, but I kind of forgot about them after moving out of the dorms and not being a five-minute walk away from campus amenities.

Last year, I took a few yoga sculpt classes with my friends and really enjoyed them, but went less when I got busy with clubs and classes and stopped completely after moving out of the dorms.

I’ve been a little under the weather lately with the seasons changing, with the slush I have to wade through to get to class and the sun setting when I’ve only been awake for five hours. 

I knew I needed something to get me through the less-than-joyful parts of the holiday season.

This past Monday, one of my friends texted me that she was going to Zumba at Hilltop that night and invited me along. Zumba is a fitness class where participants dance to music, following the instructor.

To be honest, I’d completely forgotten those workout classes at Hilltop were a thing, and that not only did they exist, but they were free. I agreed to go and give it a try.

I was nervous to try a new class, especially since I’d never tried Zumba before. I knew it was a dance-based workout, and my friend spent the entire drive trying to convince me that I’d pick it up easily.

The classes at Hilltop are an hour long and go through a number of different dances.

The walk into Hilltop itself already made me feel weird like I was going back in time to freshman year, but the closer we got to the studio, the more confident I felt.

The studio was dimly lit with fairy lights around the mirrors, and the serene environment calmed my nerves. The instructor started the music and jumped right into the class. 

My friend was right, I was pretty quick to catch on to the dances, and I kept up well. Some moves were a little confusing or pretty fast, but there was no pressure to execute them perfectly.

With a competition dance background and a bit of a perfectionist complex, it bothered me when I wasn’t exactly on beat or skipped a move, but as class went on, I realized I was really enjoying myself.

I was mostly staring at the instructor, trying to keep up, but when I glanced at myself in the mirror, I realized I’d been smiling the whole time.

Zumba was daunting at first, but I’m going to keep going and see how good I can get. It’s been a long time since dancing brought me this much joy.

Price can be reached at [email protected].