In the Pink: Shake the Booties

Zumba

“In the Pink” is a series about one girl’s search for spiritual, mental, and physical health in a world that values the always grinding mentality. Here, the importance of the phrase “shake the booties” is revealed.

I am about to faint. I can feel moisture accumulating around my neck. Is it sweat? Blood? I can’t even be sure it’s my own.My ankle throbs from a clumsy incident moments ago when I twisted it and almost fell to my doom. Sweat shoots at my eyes like bullets and my glasses are slipping off the bridge of my nose. My heart is pumping so hard I can feel the vibration throughout my entire body with ever boom-Boom… boom-BOom… boom BOOM… My hearing is muffled and I can barely keep my eyes open. My thighs are honest-to-god trembling. I want to cry. I want to quitBut that’s when I hear those words that keep me going: “Shake the booties!”

And just like that, I am reborn.

“Shake the booties! Come on, shake it,” screams Sharon, my five-foot-nothing Zumba instructor.

And man, do I ever. I shake my butt left, right, front, back, up, down, all around. My ankle doesn’t even hurt anymore. This is why I push through the squatting and jumping jacks in the choreography. This is why I allow myself to be tricked into high knees and half-lunges. For the inevitable twerking that Sharon rewards us with.

I started going to Zumba one month ago. If you ever want to hang out Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., I’m unavailable. I’ve got a weekly date with Sharon and 15 other women who are closer to my grandmother’s age than my own. The first day I showed up, I saw the age demographic and panicked. “Am I in the wrong class?”

Pop culture really fed me this idea that Zumba was a bunch of hot, young women dancing like they’re in the club. You know the image, right? Stylish tracksuit with a slicked back ponytail that doesn’t move no matter how much she’s sweating? Well, that’s what I imagined. And that’s why I put off joining for years.

I’ve always liked working up a sweat. Marathon training, volleyball, and cheer conditioning kept me healthy and glowing as a teenager. But my 23-year-old self is slower and more easily exhausted these days. Going up a flight of stairs can kill my entire mood now. Getting up from a cross-legged position involves a lot more grunting than it used to. I knew I had to do something about this. When I completed the L.A. Marathon (26.2 miles, thank you very much) at 12 years old, I saw so many people in their 60’s and 70’s. I was in awe and inspired. I wanted to be their age and still moving my body with that same youthful ease.

I knew I would have to put it in the work now to see the results later. These incredible people I spotted at 10Ks and 15Ks didn’t wake up one day at 65 years old and decide to run marathons. I mean, maybe some of them. I genuinely don’t know. But if I had to guess, I’d say they developed good habits when they were younger. It was while I was huffing and puffing climbing some stairs last month that I said “enough is enough.” Who cares if these hot Zumba girls could move like J-Lo and I cried real tears when I worked out too hard? The only way I’m going to get to music-video-background-dancer level is if I go and allow myself to be a beginner.

So I signed up and showed up. I walked in and there were about four women stretching their arms and legs. I towered over them at a humble 5 feet 7 inches. As more women trickled in, I was surprised. They were the same age as the marathon runners who had been in the back of my mind this past decade. That first class was hard, sweaty and full of so much laughter. These women were so kind and fun. They moved freely to the music and didn’t worry if they missed a step.

Zumba has been a non-negotiable ever since. I go every week to keep my body active and my heart healthy. I expected to get my butt kicked by the 60 minutes of dancing and to struggle with all the squats. What I didn’t expect was for it to keep my spiritual and emotional health in check, too. When I study too much and feel burnt out or neglect getting the right amount of sleep for a week, Zumba has managed to be a very present, mindful one hour where I shake my butt with 15 grandmas.

If you find that thing in your life that makes you feel as happy as I do when I twerk with senior citizens, let me know. Because so far, Sharon yelling “shake the booties” takes the cake.

Written by: Monica Vigil

Behind the Mic: Moonlit Mayhem

Just like the moon’s gravitational pull causes the rise and fall of ocean tides, Moonlit Mayhem aims to create similar passion-filled sound waves.

Mario Sutka is the host of Moonlit Mayhem, which airs Thursdays from 10 p.m. to midnight. The music show, now on its fourth season, is free-flowing and listeners never know what they’re going to get— just the way Mario likes it.

“It’s experimental to a degree,” said Mario. “Not the music that I play, but just the formatting. Really, it’s just whatever I’m feeling off the top of my head.”

And he’s not just trying to supply his audience with new songs. He’s offering them a range of emotions packaged up as melody and lyrics. How do you form a human connection when there’s air waves between two people? Mario’s on a mission to find out.

During the show’s first season, Mario and his co-host at the time used to plan the music in advance and save the last five minutes for songs they chose on the spot. He soon realized that he favored the freedom and flexibility of picking the music while the show was happening.

The music began mirroring his mood in real time and almost acted as a radio diary of what his emotions were during a given show. His aim, however, isn’t to archive his own feelings. It’s to expose good music and wavy vibes.

“Once in a while, I’ll interview my friends that are in bands around San Diego. It’s really the DIY rock scene in San Diego, but I do listen to everything,” he said. “There’s a bunch of people I got to know when I went to community college and now I have a platform to promote their stuff.”

In between songs, you won’t hear Mario getting into lengthy discussions. He prefers to let the music do most of the talking. The self-proclaimed music nerd plays a healthy mix of pump-up jams and chill songs in order to produce a balance for his listeners.

“To me, a piece of music is wonderful because ignite a fire in you or calm you.”

Mario being Mario

Mario from Moonlight Mayhem

Mario is the marketing director of KCR, in charge of the radio station’s social media and Music on the Mesa (MotM).

MotM is hosted Thursdays at the farmers’ market. A KCR booth is set up from noon to 1 p.m. and staff members play music, give away concert tickets and talk to inquisitive minds about what opportunities they can find at KCR. It’s how Mario first found out about the radio station.

He is now in charge of running the event, and though it is one more responsibility he is committed to, he doesn’t see it as a burden. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“I like my alone time but I like being around people. I need a good blend and Music on the Mesa gave me that.”

Mario is all in when it comes to KCR. He hosts Moonlit Mayhem, a two-hour show every week and did a season in the summer. He’s on the board of directors and the face of the organization on Thursdays in the farmers’ market. Mario could be considered, by all means, a college radio superstar.

However, it wasn’t always this way. He used to be a division 1 swimmer at California State University, Bakersfield and had grown accustomed to seeing himself as a swimmer first, anything else second.

He sustained a career-ending injury during his freshman year and his world seemingly began spinning off its axis. The identity he’d built for more than 10 years was suddenly gone.

“I thought I’d just cut my losses and come back home,” he said about the life-altering event.

The transition was onerous and at times, discouraging, as most students who have had to return to community college after attending a university can relate to.

Mario chose to focus his perspective on the silver linings that came with returning to his hometown of San Diego, such as attending SDSU and being clearer with his goals before graduation.

“I just kind of want to use my show, crazy enough as it sounds, as a beacon where it’s ‘Hey, somebody’s out there.’ Not to be a super emotional water sign or whatever, but it doesn’t have to suck. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

So how does someone alone in a studio generate a bond with listeners they don’t get to see? Mario’s still trying to figure it out, but he knows music has the power to do it.

Be sure to listen to his show, chat him up at Music on the Mesa and follow KCR College Radio on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Since he’s, you know, in charge of the accounts now.

Moonlight Mayhem babe

Happy Mario

What does he miss most about being in elementary school?

The childlike wonderment he had about everything and the optimism about what was yet to come.

 

Written by: Monica Vigil

Behind the Mic: Soundwave Transmission

When you hear the word “library,” genre-transcending music and quirky banter isn’t the first thing that pops to mind (at least I don’t think. I’m not going to pretend I know what you’re about).

However, that’s exactly where senior Michaela Hoover and sophomore Fabrizio Lacarra Ramirez began their friendship turned co-hostship of KCR’s very own “Soundwave Transmission.”

“I was trying to get some papers done,” Michaela says of the reason she went to the library that fateful day when she met Fabrizio. “I literally sat down next to him and we started talking for like an hour. I got no homework done at all and we’ve been really good friends ever since.”

This fall semester was their first season of “Soundwave Transmission,” a music show that prides itself on not sticking to any one genre and never playing the same song twice.

“It’s just a ‘good music’ show. Any song that’s good, we’ll throw it on the show,” explains Michaela. “Any song that gets us excited, any song that makes us feel fresh and invigorated, it goes on the playlist.”

“It makes it kind of special because every time you listen in to the show, that’ll be the only time you hear a song for our show,” adds Fabrizio. “So it’s like if you missed the show this week, you’re not going to get those songs and you might miss out on some stuff that you really like. So listen, basically.”

Fabrizio is in charge of curating the archive of music. During their downtime, the two hosts add music to the general playlist and Fabrizio then creates the song list for a given week’s show. He’s found a system that efficiently does two things: provides musical variety and satisfies both hosts’ preferences. The former is a given. The latter may be trickier when you describe your music tastes as a “Venn diagram” as Fabrizio does. However, he’s mastered the art of song selection.

“I like a little bit of jazz and more hip-hop, some electronica and more indie music whereas she likes a lot of jazz, Spanish music or music in different languages.”

During the creation of playlists, Fabrizio consciously pulls one of his music songs from the master list, one of Michaela’s, one of his, one of hers, etc. etc. repeat.

Because this is their first semester hosting for KCR, they had to overcome some challenges that exist with starting a radio show. The biggest? Remembering not to swear.

“The first two or three shows, I was cussing at least twice,” says Michaela (Don’t worry Brett, she pressed the button). “I would beat myself up for it and I’m better at it. I don’t think I’ve cussed in a while.”

“We almost had a slip up today, but I caught myself,” Fabrizio laughs.

Michaela chimes in. “I totally set him up to say something gross.”

Another lesson they learned was embracing the uneasiness of transitions. Fabrizio says they now accept their style and are “awkward on purpose.” Michaela describes the duo as “pretty dorky” and says they were trying really hard to be cool the first few episodes, but eventually came to the conclusion that they were better off embracing their own quirky voices and using that genuine approach to have a better show.

If you, the reader, are thinking “Dang, this show sounds awesome. I can’t wait to listen to it next semester,” then get ready to have your heart broken. Go ahead, sit down, grab some tissues. I’ve got something to tell you.

Michaela is headed to Spain next semester, so the duo will become an uno for the time being. Fabrizio will continue the show in the spring and keep up the same style and concept, planning on bringing in different guest hosts each week. While he has no plans on experimenting with “Soundwave Transmission” because he considers it to be their “baby,” he will also be co-hosting another show in the spring called “AJ Squared.” It is there that he may try his hand at new risks and creative ideas.

The hosts’ biggest goal this semester with “Soundwave Transmission” was to introduce their audience to new music while hosting a safe space in the radio waves.

Their go-to order at Taco Bell?

Michaela: Cinnamon Twists

Fabrizio: Nacho Cheese Dorito Taco

 

Written by: Monica Vigil
*Fabrizio doesn’t know what time the show will be next semester, but this semester it was Thursdays at noon. Follow their Instagram and say what’s up: @soundwave.kcr