Dance Yourself Fit and Happy
Ever wondered why dancers always seem to have a smile on their face?
Dance is a fantastic way to work out your mind and body.
It burns calories, encourages mental focus and lifts your spirits all at once, and it can be as easy or hard as you like depending on how far you decide to take it.
If you are looking for a fun way to lose some pounds and improve your mood, all you need to do is decide which style of dance may be for you, and find a local class. We’ve listed our top fab four dance choices to help you on your way.
Ballroom dancing primarily refers to ‘partner’ dances and has enjoyed a lot of attention recently due to television programmes such as ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Many styles come under this heading and they can be quite varied, from the ‘Tango’ to the ‘Two Step’. The earliest recorded ballroom dances took place in France in the late sixteenth century; these days it is still highly diverse and enjoyed around the world both socially and competitively. Costumes are often colourful and glamorous and ladies will usually wear a heel. If you fancy having a go at ballroom dancing you should not find it hard to locate a class in your nearest town or city.
Street dance is a term used to describe a multitude of styles originating in hip-hop and funk and developed on the streets, originally in the USA in the seventies. Dance groups like ‘Diversity’ have really put street dance on the map recently and have proved how skillful and exciting this form can be. Often social in nature, street dance moves can be very athletic, often incorporating gymnastic style movements within a performance. Clothing is casual, often loose fitting jogging bottoms or combat trousers paired with a vest or t-shirt and trainers.
The origins of ballet can be traced back to France in the sixteenth and seventeenth-century and it was further developed in England, Russia and Italy. It is usually performed to classical music and focuses on graceful, carefully choreographed movements. Ballet can include an element of mime or acting and often a dance tells a story. Do not be fooled by the poise of the ballet dancer: those who progress in ballet build huge reserves of strength and stamina alongside their flexibility and elegance. Ballet dancers wear soft shoes until the higher grades when they may become ready for ‘Pointes’. Most of us are familiar with the image of a dancer in beautiful satin Pointe ballet shoes, otherwise known as ‘blocks’. This name may be quite apt as these shoes are reinforced in the toes, often with a papier-mâché like combination of layers of fabric and glue. This part of the shoe is known as the box and enables the dancer to balance more easily when performing ‘Pointe work’.
Contemporary dance is an extremely expressive style and was developed in the early twentieth century, primarily as an alternative to ballet. It gives absolute freedom of expression, unlike the rigid techniques displayed in ballet, and often includes much use of floor work, balance and improvisation. The style is very fluid with a large amount of focus on emotion and mind-body connection. Contemporary dance is accessible and a great way to explore creative expression. Dancers often perform barefoot.