(Copyright 2020, Simona Zaino )
Full or partial reproduction of this article requires permission from the author.
Social dancing has become one of the most popular pastimes in the past few years, with so many options to choose from! Salsa and Tango for the lovers of all things Latin, Kizomba for those who prefer a more sensual style, Jive for dancers who like fun and upbeat music, the old-style and evergreen Line Dancing and many others.
You don’t need to be a professional dancer to join classes and social events, just the desire to be in good company and have fun.
As well as being fun, dance is also a very healthy form of workout. It involves all areas of the body and helps develop strong and slender muscles, boost stamina, improve cardio-vascular endurance and reduce stress.
However, most people approach social dance without the adequate physical preparation. Unlike formal dances (e.g. ballet), where classes always include body conditioning sessions, most social dance classes do not allocate enough time for conditioning thus exposing social dancers to potential injuries. Social dancers should consider adding a regular body conditioning workout to their dance classes in order to:
1. Improve posture and alignment
The correct spine alignment and posture is essential to ensure the dance moves do not put pressure on the spine, the joints and the muscles that support the skeleton
2.Develop muscular strength
Dancing can be a strenuous activity and the relevant muscles need to be prepared with a suitable and gradual strengthening routine
Muscle and joint flexibility is often overlooked by social dancers.. until they experience a pull or tear! Just like strength, flexibility has to be developed gradually
4..Improve mobility and range of movement
Most people join social dance classes without adequate mobility thus forcing the body into positions and movements that strain skeleton and muscles
5.Prevent injury and ensure comfort
Dance moves should, when performed correctly and with adequate preparation, feel natural and comfortable without pushing your body to the limit and causing injuries
So what is the best and most effective body conditioning workout for social dancers? Body conditioning for social dancers should include a combination of stretching, strengthening and postural exercises that involve the entire body and encourage the various areas of the body to work as a whole. Highly recommended complementary activities for social dancers are thus Yoga and Pilates classes, which are widely available everywhere. A regular combined Yoga and Pilates practice will ensure your body can put up with the challenges of your dance routines in a safe manner.. so you can focus on the fun! :)
Related articles and tutorials
Online Yoga and Pilates classes (via Zoom)
We currently offer regular online Yoga & Pilates classes (via Zoom)
Price: €10 per week (take as many classes as you like). View timetable here
Argentine Tango School
See www.tangofever.net (contactless and online classes offered during lockdown)
Author: Simona Zaino
Simona is a qualified Health & Wellness, Nutrition & Life Coach based in Dublin. She teaches Yoga and Pilates and runs runs group and private classes (also online). She teaches Body conditioning for professional and social dancers. See: www.eatdancebreathe.com/services.html