Zumba in lockdown

With social distancing and videoconferencing, every home can now become a music-filled exercise studio.

Karen Norris/Staff

So there I was minding my own business in the office below our dining room when suddenly, from over my head, down drops a cascade, a deluge, an avalanche.

Karen Norris/Staff

MUSIC. Capital letters. Italics. And now the ceiling starts to thump. (“Thump?” my wife, source of the thumps, will object later. “Thump?”) Fair enough. Steps, then. But are they steps?

The floor above me goes step step step slide step brush brush step. Then a holler: “Hips!” Who is shouting “hips”? Not to mention shouting all kinds of other things over and under and around the music.

“C’mon, ladies, let’s make this happen! Gimme what you got! I love you! Hi, Rachel! Hi, Kristen! I see you! You’re beautiful! Hips, hips! Tighten it up now! Hi, Meg! Hi, Meredith! Hi, Melanie!”

“Hi, Melanie”? Wait, Melanie is my wife’s name. Is there someone upstairs with her? Who threw the salsa party and forgot to invite me? The ceiling joists are vibrating, and I’d better go see if everyone’s OK, don’t you think?

At that exact point some extra sway drops into the song mix, and suddenly, in full Auto-tune: “I love it when you call me señorita. ... Ooh la la la!”

Straight truth: Staying seated is not an option. I’m up, I’m standing, I’m ... dancing? (Would we call it dan­cing?) I hear the voice shout, “It’s ‘Señorita’! Awesome! Download it! Hips, hips hips! Feel your core!” (Every outburst from the voice ends with an exclamation point.)

“I love it when you call me señorita. ... Ooh la la la!”

Let’s be real: I’m loving this song. And as I climb the stairs it’s just possible that my climbing has some rhythm. And then the dining room comes into view, and the pushed-aside chairs, and there’s Melanie. (“Hi, Melanie!”) The molecular structure of the atmosphere has changed. Step step brush step brush step TWIRL.

Where was I again? I forget. Whatever concentration zone I was in before – well, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Turns out it’s a Zumba class, and now it’s happening at least five days a week in our house. If Melanie has said it once she’s said it a thousand times: “This is a saving grace. I don’t know what I’d do without it. There’s no telling how bad it’d be.” 

If I may: There is telling. But I wouldn’t want to spoil the mood.

“Hooooooooo!”

It’s the voice again. “I can see you! I’m talkin’ to you – get those knees UP! C’mon, babies, give me more! Don’t disappoint me! I know you wouldn’t disappoint me! We’re killin’ this playlist! You ROCK!”

Maybe you’re wondering: Was this vibe, this transforming of the house, working for me? Yes, reader, it was. It does. Resistance is futile. The voice’s owner, I’ve since learned, is Aprile, and there’s no getting around the simple fact that she’s epic. Imagine your best coach, your most upbeat pal, your biggest fan. Then multiply by 10. Now you’ve imagined Aprile.

Are you thinking a person could get tired of this? No, a person could not. The energy is too strong, the joy too endlessly irrepressible. I won’t lie, I love it when Aprile’s in the house – even if she’s just 4 inches tall on my wife’s laptop screen, and I’m down in the basement. Any day with Aprile in it is a better day than you were having. And besides: “I love it when you call me señorita. ... Ooh la la la!”

Go ahead, grab your favorite music-streaming service and fire up that bad boy. (Search “Señorita,” Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello version, please.) Go ahead and try not to move, I dare you. You will fail.

“Breathe, ladies, breathe! Roll! Side, side, up, side, rolllllllllll!” Aprile’s back!

“Let’s bring this home, people! You! Are! GORGEOUS! I love you!” 

Same, Aprile! I love you! And so does Melanie, trust me. And so do, without doubt, Kristen, Meg, Meredith, and you-name-her – all hundred or so people who are matching Aprile’s moves as she dan­ces and shouts from her garage or deck or living room or wherever she’s broadcasting from today, all the while somehow effecting the miracle of making it seem as though everyone’s in the same magnificent room. Aprile’s room. With Aprile. Exactly where you’d want to be.

But hold on, wait – do I hear something? What’s that I hear?

“I love it when you call me señorita. ... Ooh la la la!”

Oh man. Oh baby.

Um, what was I saying again?

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