I teach a lot of school dance programs where the class includes boys and girls who do and do not want to be there. Within the school programs, dance class is not optional..everyone must participate. Knowing that, I start every new program by saying, “Everyone likes to do different things. My favorite thing to do is dance and I know it may or may not be your favorite thing to do and that is okay. All I ask is that we all participate and try because I have a feeling we will have some fun if we just give it a go.” Well, I say something similar to that at least but I am sure in a much more eloquent and motivating way. My point is that I want the kids to become comfortable with me as a teacher and to not feel daunted by dance if they have never done it before or if it isn’t their thing. I really believe that dance is great for everyone and should be experienced by all in some form or another. This blog is really about how dance is good for the non-dancers, the individuals who may not be choosing to take a structured class, or those who have never considered taking a dance class.
One great thing about dance is the amount of styles out there to choose from. There is something out there for everyone! There are your traditional styles such as ballet, tap and jazz. Hip hop has taken dance classes by storm over the last decade and is a great option for kids and adults or anyone who is just looking for a fun recreational activity or great workout (cardio hip hop classes have become all the hype in gyms). Further, there are partner dance styles such as salsa, tango, swing, waltz... just to name a few. Salsa is probably the most popular and has a great social aspect as well as being a great workout. For any of these styles, you do not need a partner so don’t be intimidated or shy. Often there are open free classes (especially for salsa) held at clubs or hotels where the teacher rotates the men and women. You can also sign up for a class and they will probably have a similar structure. Another dance form that is a bit less formal is line dancing, which has various styles within it. The simplest form is how it sounds...the dancers dance in lines with the movements being easy to learn and follow. One of the latest crazes is Zumba, which is not technically a dance style but I think it appeals to so many people because it is a mixture of dance and fitness that includes various world rhythms. Zumba can be found at most local gyms.
No matter what dance style you decide to explore (and don’t be afraid to try more than one if your first attempt wasn’t a success), the important thing is to get out there and actually try it. Remember that it will take a couple of times to get the hang of it so stay with it for at least 4-5 classes before you decide if you like it or not. It also takes awhile to get the feel of the choreography and the music, which is definitely a learned skill. Any form of dance will increase confidence, coordination, agility, rhythm, grace, balance, flexibility, musicality, strength and cardio. So get out there and enjoy life...try dancing!
Brittany White, Dance To EvOLvE Director