As a former dancer it’s fair to say the prospect of Zumba class on a Wednesday evening seemed like a doddle. With a self-assured attitude I waltzed into the pristine studio at Ribby Hall Village with hope of showing Dancing on Ice star Dan Whiston, who has recently qualified to teach the dance-aerobics cross-discipline, exactly what I was made of.
Nicely in tow was my fellow reporter David Sharman, kitted out in baggy tracksuit bottoms and a thick cricket shirt.
Like most situations, I treated this exercise class as a fashion parade and wore non-supportive Nike Hi-tops, skin tight black top and leggings and freshly washed styled hair.
Little were we to know neither attire would be particularly suited to the gruelling hour ahead.
Making our mark in the centre-right of the studio we limbered up as if we were about to start a race and it was clear from the off that we weren’t prepared.
With Dan’s enthusiastic gleam we began marching in-time to chart-topper Crazy Stupid Love by Cheryl (of multiple surname fame).
With a few child-like smirks exchanged between Dave and I we were one snigger away from being sent to the front of the class and separated.
Surprisingly, the Zumba steps were quite simple and it’s clear to see why this phenomenon has taken off.
It was the repetition that got your heart rate going and, just 15 minutes in, my over confident attitude soon started to fade as I was being outshone by pensioner Pam and my lungs began to collapse.
As the class went on, it became apparent that a small bottle of tap water would not suffice for the likes of me and Dave, who by this point had turned an alarming shade of beetroot and struggled to communicate.
Dan barely broke a sweat and his cheeky charm remained strong throughout, even when he willingly lay on the floor and let females of all ages gyrate over him. Now, I’m all for joining in but when Dan pointed me out of the crowd to dance over him in the middle of the circle I lost all rhythm and co-ordination and with a horrified expression, stumbled across him and ruined my chances of one day being Beyonce’s backing dancer.
When it came to double step, turn and clap, I’d got it in the bag but when one of my old favourites Jai-Ho – Dan’s signature Dancing On Ice routine – by the PussyCat Dolls, came on it became all too apparent that psuedo-Bhangra dance moves weren’t my strong point.
Trying to shake to the left on one foot, arms positioned in opposite directions and a constant Cheshire cat grin, I undoubtedly failed.
The whole idea behind Zumba is just to give it a go and enjoy a lighthearted way of exercising.
Everyone is far too busy concentrating on getting the moves right and catching their breath to worry about what themselves or others think of them.
Predominantly, it is a selection of simple but affective dance moves choreographed to fast-paced music that gets you geared up for the usually mundane tedious task of weekly exercise.
Still side stepping to back ground music at the end of the class, Dan had plenty of time to share his new-found passion.
“I started the class in July after qualifying in Zumba, I’d wanted to do it for ages but never found the time with doing other projects such as Dancing on Ice,” he said.
“So when Dancing on Ice finished I decided to go for it, I’m really enjoying teaching it.
“I tried to make the moves simple so all levels of people can join in. Some of them can become quite complex and the idea is to keep going the whole way through.
“It’s important to stress that it really is suitable for all ages and ultimately fitness mixed with fun.
“You don’t want to feel like you’ve just been to the gym lifting weights , it’s a fun active performance every time.”
Dan is taking his Zumba steps all the way to the historic Blackpool Tower Ballroom for a four hour Zumbathon to raise funds for Brian House.
It will run from 4pm to 9pm on October 3 and along with Fylde Coast instructors and special celebrity guests Dan insists everyone is welcome to join in.
After myself and Dave conquered our first Zumba session we’ve been two-stepping around the office in hope and preparation we’ll be called up for the Zumba Olympics any day now.
For more information and details about the Dan Whiston Zumbathon go to: www.trinityhospice.co.uk or call (01253) 358 881