Zumba!

By Joyce

Today’s daily cure was Zumba!

Tomarra’s 50th birthday invitation read, Zumba, Bacon and Mimosas at the Rainier Beach Clubhouse. She, a talented massage therapist, who moves the flesh, blood and lymph of her clients, would, of course, host an invigorating event. Recovering from a muscle spasm in my lower back, and having never tried Zumba, I was a little nervous about shaking my booty today, but I couldn’t pass up an invitation to celebrate this very intuitive and creative woman.

At the beginning of the party, Tomarra tearfully paid tribute to the clubhouse, and spoke to her long held wish and now good fortune to be able to rent space since the clubhouse, historically a nexus for community activities, had become largely unavailable for rentals since 2005. Because the Rainier Beach Community Club recently procured a lease from its current owners, the VFW, the building is now fulfilling the mission of its original owners, The Rainier Beach Women’s Club, who specified the building was to be used for activities, which would enhance the community.

At 10:30AM, the music came on, and Zumba instructor, Paula Aio, started the dancing. Forward, back, side-to-side, hands and pelvis, up, down, our bodies squiggling in every direction. Paula hooted like a mama bird, smiling and encouraging her fledgling awkward flock, to keep moving to the beat of the music. And move, shout, and ululate we did, for a whole hour, occasionally stopping for a swig of water or to wipe off sweat. It was more than a workout; it was a tribal turnout. All of us, mostly women, mostly beginners, moved in time, together. Tomarra, sharing her love of Zumba with her community, gave the gift of her exuberant physical freedom, which inspired the rest of us to loosen up. And that kind of repeated pelvic rotation and thrusts released my lower back from its muscular rut. It was a blast.

By the end of the party, after all the delicious breakfast food, it felt like it wasn’t only Tomarra’s birthday we were celebrating; it was the clubhouse’s birthday too. The vitality and joy in our recently refinished hall is an initiating spark for many more community celebrations to follow. As someone who served last year, and will again this year, as a trustee on the executive board of the Rainier Beach Community Club, I had the privilege of watching committed members of our community do the hard work of reattaching its core mission to the building that gave birth to it. Happy, Happy Birthday!

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