If you’re looking for a fun way to keep fit, consider trying some dance classes!
I did just that, when I made a resolution to try three different types of dance classes one year. Here are the ones I took, and what they were like.
1. Pole dance fitness
I took several sessions at a small fitness studio in Durham, and enjoyed the dance and music part of it. Pole dancing looks exotic and fun, and it is. But here’s the thing: pole is actually a form of acrobatics, and takes a tremendous amount of arm and core strength. And at the time, I just didn’t have it.
Back then I was mostly just doing the treadmill for workouts. After that class though, I realized I needed to do a better job of overall conditioning and have been working with weights ever since. One day I may try a pole class again and see how much progress I’ve made in my strength.
An important thing to keep in mind if you try this class is safety. Don’t feel pressured to do moves or stunts that you know you aren’t conditioned to do, or you could risk serious injury — especially to your shoulders (rotator cuff) and neck. Safety was not stressed enough by some of the instructors. Have fun, but be careful.
2. Salsa dancing
After seeing a deal on Living Social, I signed up for four sessions of introductory Cuban Salsa at a dance studio in Durham. I liked this class, not only because Latin music and dancing are fun, but because this was an actual dance instruction class and not a fitness class per se, and that was different for me. The other new thing for me was learning to dance with a partner. I’d never had lessons before on how to do that.
The instructor was great, and patiently taught us all the basics. Then we paired up to practice, changing partners regularly. I didn’t take photos at my classes, but here’s a video that will give you an idea of it. You don’t have to bring a partner for lessons.
Not long after that, I had a chance to use my lessons when I attended the BlogHer conference in New York City. At one of the parties they had salsa instructors perform and then lead dancing. To my delight, I wasn’t totally lost and was able to keep up somewhat.
I enjoyed this class a lot!
3. Belly dancing
I took several courses of Egyptian Belly Dance at the community college, and this was my favorite dance class of the three. A lot of that has to do with the wonderful instructor, Laylianah. I wrote about these classes here and here, so please see those posts where I detail the experience.
While pole required strength and salsa coordination, belly dancing was more of an overall fitness experience, using muscles from head to toe as well as providing an aerobic workout. The dancing is beautiful and sensual, but it is most definitely a workout. I loved this class and would highly recommend it!
Have you tried dance classes for fitness? Please share in the comments!
©Michelle Rogers, Inc.
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