I tried a Zumba class at my gym, NOAC, and it was not good at all. The instructor knew little about the steps and the room was crowded and I said forgetaboutit. Then a neighbor told me to try Danielle’s class down at Funky NOLA on Broad Street and I went and have been hooked ever since. Danielle is first of all, attractive and a great dancer, but mostly she has assembled a community of middle age African American women into this small room who all just have a great time following her lead.
She also offers a spiritual dimension asking everyone to circle up after the class to claim what they are grateful for and it works – we talk about a mother out of the hospital, or a cousin who just graduated from college, or a new business being launched, or some weight that fell off from Zumba. And she also allows children – her motto is there are no excuses not to Zumba because childcare is provided.
Some of the children dance with us and some just hang out on the sofa with each other, but they come and they see us all out there dancing, sweating, and smiling ear to ear. Another of Danielle’s philosophies is making a difference in teaching the kids from a young age about exercise and how important it is since studies show that obesity is common among African Americans.
We’ve also had the pleasure of getting to know Danielle’s daughter, who is now a babysitter for Tin.
I wrote Danielle the other day to thank her for making this happen and told her that having Tin come see all these beautiful African American women dancing was just what I needed as a white mother raising a brown boy. I was surprised by her response days later – her own mother had fostered white children and she knew just what it is like to raise a child of another skin color to have an appreciation of a culture different from your own. She said she truly is grateful to raise her daughter in New Orleans in a culture that is diverse and full of warmth.
Sometimes the simplest things cross your path in life and are life altering. There are not that many black families that take in white kids, but it does happen. Do you know of any situations that are the reverse of what most people would think the norm – where a family of color adopted or fostered a white child? And how was it?