Sometimes taking your first step out onto the dance floor is the hardest step. Here is a little inspiration to get you off the sidelines and onto the dance floor.
“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”
“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”
“We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.”
- Japanese Proverb
“There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them. “
“Life is short and there will always be dirty dishes, so let’s dance.”
“Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.”
- Samuel Beckett
“Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health — it rusts your spirit and your hips.”
- Terri Guillemets
“Dance is the hidden language of the soul”
“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.. This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking”
“The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing. Any problem in the world can be solved by dancing.”
- James Brown
“If you can walk you can dance.”
- Zimbabwe proverb
Dancing is a fun and social way of getting regular exercise, but it’s also terrific at toning up your muscles and trimming down the fat. Each style benefits a different set of muscles, so why not try each one in turn, and watch your whole body tone up.
Swing into action
Any of the swing-based dances – Lindy Hop, Charleston or Jive – are performed from a low position, with the legs bent and the weight forward on the balls of your feet. To master this technique requires great strength in the calves, thighs and glutes, as well as a solid core to keep your balance.
Waltz away your waist
The slower, more elegant ballroom dances, such as the Waltz, are perfect for your posture, requiring a straight back and long neck at all times. Maintaining the correct distance away from your partner at both the waist and chest takes unparalleled core stability, giving you abs to die for. An additional benefit of a toned tummy is that it will in turn strengthen your weight-bearing bones, which can help prevent osteoporosis as you get older.
Fast dances, such as the Salsa and Cha Cha, help with one of the biggest muscles: your memory. Not only do you need precise movement from the hips and feet, but you also need it in double-quick time. You cannot fail to improve your brainpower and co-ordination as you master these steps, as well as getting lean, lithe legs.
Strike a pose
If you are looking to lose the bingo wings, try something dramatic and emotionally charged like the Tango or Flamenco, where you use your arms as well as your legs to convey the passion of the dance. Be warned, you might get more than a little hot under the collar.
Look after yourself
As you lose weight and gain definition, it is important to look after your muscles; warm up with a minute of Jumping Jacks and then spend five minutes stretching all your muscles to preserve their flexibility. By strengthening your muscles, you will also help keep your joints in good shape, setting you in good stead to still be swinging well into your seventies.
Come down to Arthur Murray to find out which set of muscles you fancy dancing to define.
There’s nothing better than dancing the night away and testing fun new moves, but you need to consider a few simple ‘rules’ before getting out on the social dance floor. With these basics in mind, you’ll have a memorable time for all the right reasons.
Play the part
If you feel nervous, either about dancing in public or inviting others to join you, you’re likely to spend the night on your own, so you might as well have stayed at home. Take a lesson from the Latin dance performers and get into character for a little role play. Putting on a brave face can give you the starting confidence to get out there. Then, once you feel the rhythm in your bones, there’ll be no stopping you.
If you want to dance with someone, actually ask them, rather than performing a ninja-style surprise attack. Don’t suddenly appear behind someone and shimmy up against them or muscle your way into an established group. Instead, position yourself to catch the person’s eye and find out if they want to dance with you first. The music will likely be too loud for conversation, but you should be able to read their reaction to a pleasant smile.
Mind your feet
If you intend to dance all night, wear comfortable shoes. There’s nothing worse than having to sit out your favourite song because of crippled feet. Equally, even if you can dance all night in killer stilettos, make sure you don’t inflict injury by piercing someone else’s foot with them on a busy dance floor.
Watch your space
At Arthur Murray we teach a wide variety of dances in the luxury of a large open studio. When it comes to putting these steps into practice on the dance floor though, you may have to forgo some of the dramatic arm action in favour of smaller, more subtle moves so that you don’t wipe out half your fellow clubbers.
Know your limits
A little alcohol is a great way to break the ice and give you the courage needed to take the dance floor in the first place. As the music takes over and you lose your inhibitions however, your opinion of your dancing prowess might increase as your ability to control your feet diminishes. Dancing is thirsty work, but always alternate alcohol with water to stay hydrated.
Courtesy at a dance club is important and being polite is important on a crowded dance floor. If you need to pass by someone who is mesmerised by their own moves, don’t push through, but gently touch their shoulder or back and say ‘excuse me’.
The most common dance-lesson stereotype involves women coercing their boyfriends, husbands and partners into taking lessons with them. While this may be the case with some men, others enjoy ballroom dancing. Whether the lessons are done in preparation for an upcoming occasion, or just for fun, men can have fun during their ballroom dance lessons for many different reasons.
Do It For Your Health
Taking dance lessons is good exercise, and allows the men a stress-reducing outlet. All types of exercise increase endorphins, lifting your mood and relieving stress, and dancing is no different. Depending on the type of dance chosen, you can burn around 370 calories for every hour spent on the dance floor. Compare that to less exciting forms of exercise, like jogging, and dancing will win every time. Not only do you get to move around to the music, but the process of learning these moves can be fun.
Spend Time With Your Family
Men will also enjoy the time that they get to spend with their significant others. Sometimes it can be hard to carve out time to spend one on one, especially when you have children, jobs, chores and many other things that come first. A relationship can be strengthened when a couple spends a certain number of hours alone together per week, and dance lessons are a great excuse to do so.
Switch Up Your Routine
There’s also the “entertainment factor” to consider. It can be boring to keep doing the same activities all of the time. There are only so many movies and television shows to watch, and a limited number of times that you can play the same video or board games before become disillusioned with them. Taking a dance lesson gives you something fun to do that is also different. It’s good to spread your metaphorical wings and try something different for a change – so take a dance lesson! You won’t regret it.