From preschool ballet to sophisticated ballroom and foxy Latin, dance has never been a more popular pastime. Show like Strictly have had an enormous impact, and clubs and schools have been springing up in ever greater numbers throughout the UK.
No longer just the preserve of starched, moustachioed men and their sequinned partners, modern dance is a diverse and exciting genre which works as a brilliant, healthy and exhilarating exercise form for those of almost any age and fitness level. Going to a regular class will help you to lose weight, tone up, improve both strength and flexibility; and is also a really sociable sport, allowing you to get out there and make friends as well as get fit.
If you are looking to take up dance this year, see our range of schools and classes on page ??? A good tip is to look at fitness levels and the type of music which usually accompanies each style, as the chances are you will get maximum enjoyment dancing to a music you enjoy. Here is our brief run down on popular styles to get your feet tapping:
With dance groups such as Diversity proving a big hit on reality and entertainment style television in recent years, the popularity of street dance has really taken off and you should be able to find a local class fairly easily. Ranging from hip hop, breaking, popping, locking and the aptly named krumping, there is a style to suit every ability. A natural sense of rhythm and an adventurous spirit is a real help!
Ceroc is sometimes confused with salsa but although it involves some similar elements, is quite different. Evolved from the jive styles bought to the UK by the GI’s in WWII, ceroc (from c’est roc) is sometimes known as modern jive and is quite a ‘fusion’ style, incorporating similar moves but with simplified footwork, making it a great dance for beginners. A variety of music is suitable from 60’s through to modern pop, and sensible, Cuban heels with smooth soles are great to allow for spins and slides. This is a partner dance, but most classes should have a good mix of singles and abilities to partner with, so don’t worry in the least abut going without.
Salsa is a flirtatious, Latin / cuban style dance, named for hot sauce (!) which starts with same basic steps which are easy to learn. Based in the Mambo, Cha Cha Cha and similar style dances, its style is passionate, energetic and fin. Many evening venues do weekly classes which culminate in social events, or you can take a more standard class at dance schools and fitness clubs. It can be either a line or partner dance, and there are a variety of styles within the form depending on the instructor.
Zumba is less a pure dance form and more of an aerobic workout through dance. The moves are a fusion of lots of styles including salsa, samba, hip hop and mambo, with added squats and lunges and zumba is a brilliant form to take up at any age, with classes taught at different levels to be suitable for those from all ages and fitness types. You don’t need a partner, and It’s a modern, fun style which doesn’t require much in the way of knowledge rhythm or experience to get going!
Flamenco is a traditional, Spanish dance, and can be done alone or as a partner dance. It’s a folk dance, accompanied by Flamenco guitar music, involving sultry, flamboyant moves and rapid, stamping footwork. Some teachers will include castanets, depending on their training or possible fans or shawls. Flamenco is very expressive, rather sexy and a lot of fun, although technically much more skilled than it looks!
Based in partner dancing, ballroom has come a long way from its earlier, stuffy image. There are 2 distinct forms following Latin and Standard styles both of which are based in poise, elegance, control and flow. To find out more about this diverse and beautiful sport, see the British Dance Council website.
Tap is the perfect dance for those looking to learns some rhyt6hm and musicality, and is a great children’s dance because it really is so much fun. Using a variety of moves to create noise against the floor, tap helps with balance and posture and is also a reasonable aerobic workout, burning around 250 calories an hour. Its requirement for balance also makes it a good workout for core stability. Obviously tap requires special shoes, but beginners can try with ordinary shoes and look to upgrade later when they have decided to continue.
Ballet is no longer the preserve of little girls and Russians. It’s a demanding dance, working the whole body to become strong and supple. It imparts grace, and like tap, ballets standard postures hold in the legs and stomach and are excellent for core stability. Shoes are a necessity but can be picked up fairly easily and despite its flowing, graceful appearance, is actually a strenuous, technical discipline.
A quick Google suggest Bollywood dance classes are more popular than ever and can found throughout the UK. Based in the theatrical interpretation of classical Indian folk and courtesan style dance, it is a graceful, fun work out with exhilarating music and lots of movement.
Jazz / Modern Jazz
A fast paced, full body work out with highly expressive moves, jazz encompasses a host of styles and routines which should offer something to suit any level of ability.
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