Did you know that everyone can express themselves through dance and movement and that the benefits are endless? We all have our own style of impromptu dance moves and moving our bodies can actually change our lives.

The unique thing about dance is that it is actually both performing art and a sport. There are types of dance to suit everyone and it’s easier to learn to dance than you can imagine. In fact, there are dance teachers available for every level of student and budget out there.

“Dance is a physical and mental workout. Once you get your body moving you will see a difference.”  - Kathryn McCormick

If you have been thinking about taking up a sport or new activity, but are not sure which one, then perhaps it’s time to really learn how to dance.

A Toned Lean Body Through Dancing

One of the easiest, most relaxing and fun ways to achieve the lean and toned body of a dancer is simply, to dance. Even working with a dance tutor once a week to learn how to dance, whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced dancer will begin to show results.

It’s important to remember that keen or advanced dancers are also usually very disciplined and determined, so if you are looking to change your body shape, it will take a more than your once a week tutorial, but there a few ways to achieve this.

Firstly, you could ask your dance tutor, to give you a few exercises in between your sessions that will not only help to practise your form but also add tone and fitness.

Other ways to increase strength for both men and women in between your sessions where you learn how to dance can include, gym sessions and light weights. Whether you are training for a dance competition or simply want to dance for you, classes like Pilates, Zumba or Aerobics are also excellent ways to supplement your dance training.

Dancing is a fantastic way to tone up these areas:

  • Calves
  • Hamstrings
  • Quads
  • Abs
  • Buttocks and much more.

Some advice, at the end of the day, here is why you could just dance for you:

Everyone should do at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day and there are so many types of dance that easily achieve this. Not only is it useful if you are looking to learn to dance better, but it will also improve both your mental and physical wellbeing.

Dancing could be just the cardiovascular workout you've been looking for. ⎢Source: Unsplash

Dancing is excellent exercise and it’s something you could consider even if you have two left feet and zero natural rhythm. Not only will it get you into shape, but it will also release stress. So whether you are a serious dancer training for a dance competition or just want to dance for you – you could follow dance videos on YouTube or find a private dance tutor to help you stay in shape.

If you are serious about toning up your body, remember that professional dancers follow strict regimes when it comes to their training and that includes looking after their diets. Fast food, junk food, and excessive alcohol or smoking are generally not part of the programme. Instead, you will find a lifestyle that is laden with a healthy variety of fresh food and produce that speeds up the metabolism.

If you find a good dance tutor, not only will you learn how to dance, but there’s a good chance they will be able to advise you on nutrition too.

Dance and Meet New People

New activities have a way of bringing new people into one’s life and this is especially true of dancing!

Almost every city, town or village in South Africa has a dance teacher, dance studio or professional dance academy.

If you decide to join up and take classes to learn how to dance, you will definitely meet new, like-minded people who share an interest in the types of dance you like and of course, you are likely to make a few new friends.

In fact, socialising through a shared interest like dancing can forge friendships that are based on mutual respect and trust. Sometimes social dance lessons can really wash away the blues and turn out to be just what the doctor ordered.

Dancing requires passion and not just someone who is moving through the motions. Very often, certain types of dance also require two people, so give it your all and don’t let your partner down.

If you are really looking to meet new people, remember that dancing is often a gateway for meeting someone new on a night out. In fact, learning certain types of dance, like disco or pole dancing, could really increase your confidence and impress everyone on the dance floor in your favourite nightclub.

Perhaps you already have that special person in your life and are looking for a new activity to practise together. To learn how to dance together will increase your intimacy.

couple doing latin dance
Dancing with your partner is not only f
fun, but can also help your relationship.⎢Source: Unsplash

Dancing with your partner is a lot of fun, and many couples take up dance lessons before their wedding day to really show off their moves when it comes to that first dance.

Learn to Dance as a Professional    

For so many talented and passionate dancers, dancing can become a wonderful professional career.

It makes sense that many dancers have turned the fun and rewarding hours where they have practised to learn to dance either one style or various types of dance into teaching others.

Whether it’s ballet, Salsa, Latin, Greek, African, hip hop or break dancing, dancers can easily become tutors and turn their passion into their jobs.

It is possible to pass on your skills and teach others to learn to dance, especially if they are beginners, without any teaching qualification. However, it is recommended that if you are serious about the rewards of a professional career in dancing that you go down the route of studying at a dance studio, academy or university that offers credentials.

Here are some of the qualification options that you should research further:

A degree in the performing arts opens up a very diverse world of opportunity. Some students prefer to focus on practical technique, whereas others prefer to study the theory of the art.

Here are a few career options for those with a degree in the performing arts.

  • Dance lecturer at a university or dance academy
  • Choreographer
  • Dance teacher at a primary or high school
  • Managing a professional dance troupe
  • Private tutor
  • Critic
  • Costume designer
  • Arts researcher
  • Fitness coach
  • Yoga, Pilates or barre instructor
  • Talent scout

Remember that famous quote by Marc Anthony that says when you make your passion your job, you’ll never work a day in your life!

Find Out About Other Cultures Through Dancing

One of the most fantastic things about different cultures on different continents, is that they all have their own unique types of dance, and ways to learn to dance.

In many countries, dancing is a vital part of the culture and children are even expected to learn to dance as part of the school curriculum. Almost every country has a cultural dance group that is able to participate in a dance competition on an international level.

The wonderful thing for those who wish to learn how to dance is that they can choose types of dance styles from any country!

Even in South Africa today, you could find dance tutors to teach you these dance styles like these:

  • Spanish dancing
  • Greek dancing
  • African dancing
  • Gumboot dancing
  • The Tango
  • Cha-Cha
  • Belly dancing
  • Jazz
  • Oriental
  • Tap
  • Swing
  • Ballroom
  • The Foxtrot
  • Waltz
  • Aerial Silks and much more.

You’ll find that all of these types of dance originated in different countries and finding out about their history, can make for very interesting conversation!

ballet slipper
If you want to become a professional dancer, do some research on the different degrees in performing arts. ⎢Source: Unsplash

If you are serious about dancing, consider mastering certain types of dance as this could help you to audition for a prestigious dance school or university like the Centre of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies at the University of Cape Town.

Dance for You, Improve Wellbeing

Dancing can literally make you happy. Whether it’s the music, movement, endorphins or a combination of all three, dancing can improve your wellbeing, so if for no other reason, just dance for you.

A 2014 Polish study revealed that just a little more than one hour of dancing made people less stressed, more energetic and more creative. A similar study by the Greeks in 2011 showed that breast cancer patients felt happier after dancing for an hour.  

Remarkably, studies have also shown that Parkinson’s disease sufferers reported diminished symptoms and were less agitated, tired and more relaxed after a dancing session.

Not only does dancing help to de-stress and improve creativity, but it’s also pretty difficult not to improve one’s mood with dancing and music.

For those who want to freestyle or learn how to dance, the benefits are endless from toning up to emptying the mind of stress, it’s a great way to spend some free time.

Finding a private tutor on a platform like Superprof is an excellent way to find a dance tutor for the types of dance you enjoy, near you. And if you have a good internet connection and webcam, you could hire a tutor from anywhere in the world.

The Different Disciplines of Dance

Dancing like most art forms boasts different disciplines and styles within types of dance.

It doesn’t matter what your dancing background is, whether you are a beginner or advanced student, there are so many options to learn to dance.

If you simply want to dance for you, you could find a private tutor online, but if you see yourself in the professional world of dance competition then plan a path that will lead you to study through a university or professional dance academy.

As you learn how to dance, here are is a list of the subject matter you can expect to come across:

  • Music
  • History of Arts
  • Choreograph
  • Body Movements
  • Aesthetics
  • Choreography and musical composition
  • Didactic methods for dancing
  • Performance techniques
  • Philosophy
  • The history of dancing and dance culture.

Mastering these subjects will enrich your knowledge and help to open doors to a wonderful career in dancing; whether that is private tutoring of beginners or lecturing the best of the best at university level.

Knowledge is power, but dancing is happiness. Keep learning and keep dancing!

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Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.