From my extensive observations, I have concluded this: West Londoners love to dance. It is, after all, one of the key things that keeps the likes of Embargo 59, Raffles and Mare Moto heaving on several nights of the week. I have a secondary observation too: most West Londoners are pretty good at keeping in shape. I frequently experience sharp bouts of tube and pub body-envy, punctuated with stabs of regret at all those evenings when I have skipped the gym in favour of TV, chocolate, or aforementioned pub visit. So, by my not-so-considerable powers of logic, I have concluded this. I reckon there are a few West Londoners out there who would love Zumba.
This Monday I got my booty shaking (with varying degrees of success) with ZumbaFunk London, at Eddie Catz, Putney. Zumba derives from Colombian words for "move fast and have fun" and is a really enjoyable and energetic way to burn off some calories, jump about to some really upbeat Latin Pop (Shakira is a firm favourite - I had Waka Waka in my head for days afterwards!) and bust some serious moves. The classes are led by the irrepressible Rebecca Rogoff, possibly the owner of the widest smile in West London. She was great at getting everybody into the spirit, ensuring we all had fun and crucially encouraging us to keep going and enjoy ourselves even when we knew we looked more Comedy Central than J.Lo. I found some of the routines quite hard to master at first, as you move about pretty quickly. However, there is plenty of repetition and Rebecca was great about verbalising what you needed to be doing so by the end of each track I reckon I'd got the hang of it.
There was a real sense of community in the class. The sessions at Eddie Catz had only been going on about 6 weeks but Rebecca knew all her regulars' names and hobbies. Every detail had been considered: there are jugs and glasses of water for those of us too disorganised to pack a gym bag correctly (I'll put my hand up to that) and at the end of the class we were all treated to a moist scented towel to refresh ourselves after a sweaty workout. Little things like that make all the difference and I was pretty impressed.
If you're interested in giving Zumba a go, Rebecca holds classes at Eddie Catz (68-70 Putney High St) on Monday evenings at 7pm, or for parents and babies at 9.45am on Thursdays. Drop in classes are £7or you can buy a block of 6 classes to obtain a discount.
Contact Rebecca at @ZumbaFunkLondon or visit their Facebook page here.