My Zumba Instructor

I can’t explain exactly how or why and, frankly, it doesn’t matter. But there have already been two occasions where I’ve had to take Zumba class while hungover. I don’t mind, though– really. The reason is mostly because of Austin (not his real name), my Zumba instructor. 

I’ll start by explaining the general layout of the studio. It’s also where the cycling classes take place, so about 30 Spin cycles are jammed into half of the room. The other half (a.k.a., where the magic happens) is mostly bare, with wood floors and mirrors along the walls. Most people would complain about this, saying it makes them self-conscious, but I don’t mind– this way I can better correct my Zumba form, and anyway, all the better to look at Austin with. There are never more than four or five people in the class, including myself, so space is never an issue.

The class usually starts late because Austin generally shows up late. Again, I don’t mind. To me, this only magnifies his awesomeness. Because when he does come in, I swear the general aura changes, and everything becomes a little bit more pleasant and random in a way that only appears once in a blue moon.

Imagine, if you will, a slightly muscular, young, tattooed man who spent the previous day in the Hamptons or Fire Island, partied all night at the same, and then boarded the Beach Bus in the wee morning hours and got to Brooklyn just in time for Zumba class to start. Once at the studio, he starts dancing in front the mirror, with little direction but a lot of random yelling, to music which he probably got from the same club he was at the night before, while wearing probably what he wore the day before– board shorts and a brightly colored tank top which is excruciating to look at if, like myself, you are hungover. That, in a nutshell, is Austin teaching my Zumba class.

I do not mind any of this, not at all. I like that he doesn’t go around to each person and try to correct them, like other Zumba instructors have. He will take a break in the middle and ask, “Are you all sweaty?” and we’ll respond, the general answer usually being a resounding “yes” because he really is that amazing of a Zumba instructor. He’ll then play some more danceable club music, and then we’ll cool down.

To me, Austin is a role model. It’s not because he just starts randomly dancing with no prologue or introduction for those new to Zumba or the class. It’s not because of his wardrobe choices (well, at least not entirely) or his dance moves. It’s the fact that he just dances, just goes on without stopping to give instructions or even adjust the volume (again, excruciating if you’re hungover). Austin seizes the opportunity which he is given and makes it his own. Whenever I take his class and I happen to be hungover, he teaches me that I need to have more of the “up-and-at-’em” attitude that caused me to get so hungover in the first place. I don’t know about you, but I think that attitude is pretty necessary for Zumba.

So, yes. He may be corny, loud, and have…interesting taste in tank tops, but as long as Andrew is still teaching that Zumba class, you will have to pry it away from my cold dead hands. I’m not able to take his class every week, but when I do, you can find me, happily dancing to loud club music through my hangover.


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