Whether you’re a complete beginner or an accomplished performer, finding a dance class can be daunting. It can also be difficult to decide whether to commit your time to regular practice. Below, we’ve put together a guide on why and how to find your dancing feet.
Is Dance a Workout?
As with many physical activities, the level of workout gained from dancing depends on the intensity, frequency, and style that you choose. Dancing can help you work muscles all over the body, toning and strengthening. At the same time, fast-paced movements can be a cardio workout.
Dancing differs from some other workouts as it can easily adapt to the dancer’s physical capabilities. Qualified dance teachers can alter moves so that you can benefit from dancing as a form of workout, whatever your level.
The NHS website states that regular dancing helps with:
- Losing weight.
- Maintaining strong bones.
- Improving posture and muscle strength.
- Increasing balance and co-ordination.
- Beating stress.
Benefits of Dancing: Mental and Physical
While the physical effects of dancing may be obvious, it also offers benefits for mood and mental health. A 2010 study looked into the impact of amateur dancing on wellbeing. Participants were asked how they felt after dancing compared with how they felt on non-dancing days. 70% of participants said they felt “more active, enthusiastic, inspired, excited, alert and attentive” after dancing.
Further research into the effects of dancing for people aged 68-87 reported that “physical activity in older persons is correlated with independent living, mental wellbeing, maintaining immune function, and resistance to illness”.
Benefits of Starting a New Hobby
Structuring Your Week
Starting regular lessons can provide a basis for organising your day, week, or even month.
Regardless of how frequently you practice your hobby, you’ll see improvements each time you show up. It’s also a good idea to dedicate specific time to your hobby when you’re not distracted by the phone, emails, or other activities.
New hobbies are a great way to meet people, either in person or as part of an online community. Whether you make friends for life or only speak with fellow enthusiasts occasionally, new hobbies mean opportunities to meet new and interesting people who share your interests.
Taking Time for Yourself
Having a hobby means taking some well-needed time out of your day to do something for yourself. Picking a hobby that you genuinely enjoy means that you’re more likely to practice regularly and see the benefits of your hard work.
Can You Learn to Dance by Yourself?
Absolutely! However, solo dancing may limit the types of dance available to you. Styles such as salsa, Zumba, ballet, hip hop and line dancing don’t always require a partner, and videos are abundant online where you can learn the moves.
In the age of Covid-19, dance professionals are becoming increasingly creative in their approach to teaching. Many of the stars of Strictly Come Dancing are streaming live workouts on their Facebook and Instagram pages. Dance schools are offering online classes. YouTubers are making dance tutorials for fans to try at home.
How do I Find a Dance Instructor?
If you’d prefer to try online classes, or can’t access a dance school, a quick Google and YouTube search is an excellent place to start. Some dance schools and professionals offer online classes. At the same time, dance classes are often put up as part of virtual fitness programmes.
It can be challenging to know if you're doing the moves right without an instructor in the room. However, online classes are still an attractive option, giving you access to lessons from around the world.
Searching for a local dance class can seem intimidating, especially in larger cities. Here are three easy ways to get started:
- The NHS website lists Dance Near You as a useful tool for locating lessons nearby.
- Google offers a map view of dance schools by local area if you type “dance class” into the search bar. There are often reviews for these schools, but it’s a good idea to research a school yourself before committing to make sure it’s legitimate, reputable and worth the price of the lesson.
- It might also be possible to find a dance class through the council or adult education organisations in your area.
Nataliya from Dancebuzz told Age Times, "If you are a beginner, it is best to choose a progressive course where you learn together with the same group throughout the period of time. This is the most beginner-friendly and effective method to progress quickly."
What Should I Wear to Dance Classes?
The best way to find this out is to ask your new teacher if you have one. Usually, beginners can attend classes in comfortable clothing and sports shoes. However, certain styles of dancing might need specific attire. It’s a good idea to take a drink of water with you, whatever style of dance you choose!
How Much do Dance Lessons Cost in the UK?
Dance lessons usually range from £5-10 per lesson, depending on the local area and the type of class. Some dance schools might structure formal classes according to a specific course, in which case you may need to sign up to the full set of classes in advance.
In other places, teachers give the option of paying per lesson. If you’re not sure whether dancing is for you, why not ask if you can try a trial lesson and see how you get on! Remember, it’s never too late to budget. Have a look at our article on how to start saving for some top tips!