As I am sure a lot of people have, I have found the winter lockdowns quite hard, and I have been dwelling a lot on the past and focussing on things that I have considered to be mistakes.
I’m sure plenty of people consider that they have made mistakes in their lives, and I am sure that reading this now you can think of one or two yourself. But what if that ‘mistake’ actually turned out to be the best thing that happened to you.
Back in the late 1990’s a young Colombian aerobics teacher named Alberto Perez arrived at his class, only to realise that he had forgotten his aerobics music. Not wanting to cancel his class, he found some of the Latin dance music cassette tapes that he listened to, and improvised a class to this music. it was the best mistake he ever made. The class was hugely popular and within a few years he was creating and distributing DVD’s of what was originally named ‘Rhumbacize’ and later became ‘Zumba.’
I first went to a Zumba class because I wanted to do some sort of exercise that required trainers. I am not a runner, and I don’t have fantastic hand-eye co-ordination, so ball sports were not my first choice, but there were many options available, so why Zumba?
In 2009 I had been living in Exeter and was a couple of months away from relocating back to my home town of Higham Ferrers, after being made redundant. To fill the time and boost my CV I volunteered with a charity theatre group who were desperate for performers to put on a Halloween show. I intended to do the show, accept my redundancy money a month later, and move home in time for Christmas. Part of the show included dance routines, which was where I met a street dance teacher who was trying to set up her own classes.
I had a great time through the show, and after it I made what I considered to be a huge mistake, by deciding to stay with the theatre company and stay living in Exeter. I took a very low paid job, started a very miserable relationship, and it was a further 18 months, the breakdown of the relationship and the disbanding of the company before I finally did what I should have done to start with and moved home.
Through that time, I attended those street dance classes the friend set up. Originally, I went because she was needing people to bulk up numbers, but the classes proved popular and within a few months were jammed with people with real talent, and I drifted away. However, the joy of dancing stuck with me. Which was why, in January 2012, I walked into a church hall in Higham Ferrers to take my first Zumba class and begin what was to become an incredible journey that changed my life and allowed me to touch the lives of others.
I berate myself all the time for staying in Exeter those extra 18 months. It is one of those mistakes that turns over and over in my mind. Except if I hadn’t stayed, I wouldn’t have supported that dance instructor and got a taste for dance. Then I wouldn’t have sought out a Zumba class, which in itself existed as a result of a mistake.