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Heather Steeves

Heather Steeves tries to do things that are fun -- and only things that are fun. So far that's included stilt walking, roller derby and cross-country road trips in her Saturn.

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Posted: May 10, 2014

Try it: Aqua Zumba in South Portland

Written by: Heather Steeves

Aqua zumba dancers tried the “lightbulb” move.

Years ago I took “modern dance” in college out of desperation to fulfill a gen-ed requirement. After the first class my professor emailed me asking if I should be graded differently because of my disability.

I don’t have a disability. Yes, that actually happened.

So you can understand why I haven’t taken a dance class since then. But recently my roller derby friends have been bragging about how much fun this is, posting photos of themselves smiling and because there is something hilarious about the phrase “aqua zumba” I had to try it.

You’d think I’d be self conscious for these reasons: 1. Cannot dance 2. The only bathing suit in my closet is a bikini. But here’s the magic thing about aqua zumba: No one can see you because you’re underwater.

“Nobody can tell how bad you are,” one of my friends said.

I splashed instructor Amber Roberge and jumped up and down. Because I’m 5. Photos by Judy Beedle.

Amber Roberge leads the classes, which are 10 a.m. Thursdays at the South Portland Community Center ($8 for an hour). This morning she was blasting Tina Turner’s “Rolling Down the River,” Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and several calypso songs.  Each song has a dance. For instance: when you roll down the river with Tina Turner, you push water behind you, as if your hands are paddles. A lot of the moves are squats, jumps, kicks and variations of pushing water with your arms.

Like usual, I moved my right leg when I was supposed to move my left arm and flailed around most of the session — but unlike usual, no one noticed because the water was up to my clavicles. #Winning.

Because we were in the water, I didn’t feel sweaty, but the workout was a nice mix of cardio and toning. The water adds resistance (you try doing quick high-kicks in a 4-foot-deep pool) but it also takes away the pain and pressure that jumping squats and one-foot hops would otherwise have. My ankles and back, which ache from roller skating, were in heaven.

“You’ll feel it tomorrow,” one of my friends told me.

There’s something inherently funny about aqua zumba. I was smiling the whole class, my friends were splashing me (it’s sort of a class requirement) and Amber’s energy is pretty infectious. Today’s class was a mix of older ladies and hipsters. Amber says it’s for everyone, but she hopes to get more young people.

What: Aqua Zumba
When: 10 a.m. Thursdays – but will be 7:30 a.m. starting June 26
Where: South Portland Community Center , 21 Nelson Rd.
Cost: $8
Why: Fun. Easy. Pool!

I splashed around. As you do in aqua zumba. Photo by Judy Beedle.


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