I'm sure while many of you are interested in getting enough exercise to stay healthy, not all of you are keen on anything that involves laps, tackling or field goals.
So how about dance? Dancing is a great way to work out. You can improve your cardiovascular function, tone muscles, improve body flexibility and improve your agility.
I'll admit it. I'm a clod. I took tap dancing for 6 years and i'm still two left feet. But I'm sure we've got plenty of dancers in here who are willing to put in their two cents about dance as exercise.
Some different forms of dance include: ballet jazz modern capoeira (a really cool brazilian dance that incorporates martial arts) Irish jig (as popularized by Riverdance et al) tap/clogging tinikling (a dance from the Phillippines where dancers dance over long bamboo poles without tripping -- it's loads of fun!) and there's always working up a good clean, drug-free sweat in a club somewhere till the break of dawn
what are your favorite forms of dance? what muscles work hardest when you dance? any usggestions for our readers?
and a question from me personally, how is limberness improved? i know to stretch regularly, but what happens exactly in a limber person versus me, who can barely touch her toes?
------------------ straddle the fine line between profundity and profanity...
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thanks for bringing it up Gumdrop, dance is a GREAT way to keep fit and it is a lot more fun than other types of exercise.
I have been dancing since I was about 4 years old. I am trained in classical ballet, jazz ballet, jazz, contemporary, greek, tap and irish dance. I have also done gymnastics/calisthenics and a bit of cheerleading. I like all forms of dance (even the ones I havent tried) because it is basically an expression of form, emotion and culture that I believe is important in today's society.
The muscles that work the hardest for me when I dance would have to be my leg and stomach muscles. The dancing I have been doing lately is quite strenuous and require a lot of strength in those areas.
I am an extremely flexible person and limberness is improved through dance extensively. The key is to make sure you warm up a lot first and work heavily on technique and stretching before trying anything that you havent before. There are also a lot of little things you can do which help in flexibility techniques. For example, when performing the splits, the key is to arch your back slightly, which makes it easier to go down into the splits. When dancing, the muscle being used are warmed and by being used more allows the individual to "limber up" more.
About flexibility. I used to be completely stiff, but then I started doing a 15-min total body stretch routine at the end of my swimming practices (twice a day, about 6 days a week), and what do you know, 7 years later I was pretty flexible Seriously, it took about a year for me to become comfortable with a lot of stretching exercises (very, very far from the dancing kind of flexibility though).
The book I was following advocated doing every stretch in 2 steps. First, you have to gently contract the muscle you want to stretch, by doing the opposite movement, for say 20 seconds. Then came the stretch proper, for another 20 steady seconds. So for example, say you want to stretch your wrist muscles. First you place your palms at a 90 degs angle, and you push them together. Then you use the horizontal hand to gently pull the vertical hand backwards.
I have no idea if this rambling made sense. Did it?
Aw, Gummy, you left out my favorite...Middle Eastern dance!
Forget the cabaret/seductive belly dancer image, Middle Eastern dancing is a heck of a lot of fun, and it taps into that whole "sexy earth mother" thing, too. I don't do it regularly anymore, but I took a ME dance class several years ago and it did wonders for my body awareness and helped me lose the self-consciousness I'd had about dancing where people could see me ever since 6th grade.
Lady Moonlight, if any class can make me lose the self-consciousness I've had about dancing in front of people, I'd take it! I've actually been looking for an ME class, I've harbored an interest for it for some time.
I find it difficult to sing or dance in front of people that I know. I'm in choir, yet I do not sing outside of a classroom setting unless I am alone. Same thing with dancing. But I'm always inspired to learn to dance when I watch others...it's absolutely amazing to just watch someone not even dancing, but just moving in the right rhythm of the music.
I have to go find a dance class now.
------------------ Ash Scarleteen Advocate
"If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming." --Goethe
Well, ya didn't list my dance, but i do highland dance, and while it isn't quite as artistic as maybe jazz or ballet, it's definately a workout. I've been doing it for 12 years now, and it's the only thing keeping me fit. i'm not big on exercise that feels like exercise, so dancing is great. You can do it competitively, or just for fun.
The only trouble i find with dancing is that it isn't really an all-ages type of thing. ballet, jazz and even highland dancing usually work best when started young. I think if your looking to start something up now, dancing like swing, where no experience is really needed (i mean no offense to any swing dancers we might have here, it's just that there's alot of beginner classes)
If i had to suggest something that could be started at any age and would really be beneficial for your health, it'd hafta be karate. My sister quit dancing 5 years ago, and just got into it. She goes whenever her schedule works (it's open 6 days a week) and it's a great workout.
------------------ "Everybody thinks i'm such a horrible person, but i have the heart of a little boy. In a jar. On my desk." -Stephen King
I love swing dancing -- it's high energy, lots of fun, and I like the music. Yes, I know that makes me an old fart. But it's definitely my favorite dance style, and the only one I'm really any good at. And it's good exercise.
I worked briefly as a dancer in a strip club last year, and that too was really good exercise. Hard on my body, though, especially the pole work. I had bruises and strained muscles almost every night. But wow, were my arms and legs strong after that.
I disagree with Killer_raincoat. I think that dancing can definatly be for all ages. You see a lot of kids dancing classes all the way up to senior citizens dancing, even if they are completely different types.
In one of my last years of dance class my mom and my friends mom took tap dancing at the same school as me. I happen to think almost any kind of dancing can be a great work out for young and old, same as karate.
------------------ "No self-respecting woman will let a naked man in socks do the squelchy with her'-Jeff Murdock (Coupling, BBCC)
Ashy, the ME dance class I took was great for that. It was sponsored through our city parks and rec, and while some of the folks in class had past dance experience, others (like me) had absolutely none. I have always been one of the klutziest people I know, perfectly capable of tripping over the carpet lint in an otherwise empty room. Still, we took turns being challenged by the moves, and our instructor was encouraging and exuberant. I learned a lot of the good sort of body awareness, and whenever I go dancing I just try to remember some of the moves I learned.
Another really nice thing about ME dance is that it tends to attract a variety of body types, and everybody gets to feel good about themselves. Some of the most amazing dancers I've ever seen would definitely be perceived as "overweight" by most of society, but they dance beautifully and are doubtless in far better shape than I am!
ME dance isn't just for women, either. My godfather can shimmy with the best of them, and in fact the sexiest dance I've ever seen was done by campfire light by a young man at an SCA event. (Makes me all hot and bothered just remembering!) The second-place winner at the competition that night was a woman 8 months pregnant who did a slow candle dance and made everyone there appreciate the beauty of being pregnant. Wow.
i'd been dancing ballet since i was little, i was recrouted becuase of my natural turn out, well what do you know... around 7 years later, i get kicked out for being overweight! Oh well, i loved ballet, and i'm thinking of starting up again, but that's besides the point, it's a great workout, especially for your legs and stomach, and it keeps you flexable (which is good for other things.)
About the middle eastern dances, my ethnisity is Armenian, and i've got a ton of Persian friends, and i know how to do a variety of those dances, and am actually forced to do them at some social events, and even though they are fun to do, i find them to be very degrading to women. Or at least the ones that i'm thinking about, all i know is that i've grown up where the women dance in a circle for all the men to stare at.
But that's just my two cents!
And everyone DANCE! it's the most funnest thing to do!
Be yourself, because then no one can ever tell you that you are doing it wrong
quote:Originally posted by PoohBear84: [B]About the middle eastern dances, my ethnisity is Armenian, and i've got a ton of Persian friends, and i know how to do a variety of those dances, and am actually forced to do them at some social events, and even though they are fun to do, i find them to be very degrading to women. Or at least the ones that i'm thinking about, all i know is that i've grown up where the women dance in a circle for all the men to stare at. B]
Yeah, I can see that my exposure to ME dance has been mostly in culture-neutral situations, where there are usually men as well as women dancing (although the groups are still predominantly female) and the watchers are merely appreciating the grace and beauty of the dance, while the dancers themselves are dancing for the sheer joy of it. Quite a different thing than feeling like you're being forced to dance and oogled while you do it.
Then again (and this is a whole 'nother topic), some people like to be admired in a possibly sexual manner and some don't. I enjoy dressing sexy occasionally to go out in public, and I appreciate the looks I get when I do. (Especially as I'm a librarian by profession and I love shattering stereotypes.) However, dressing for admiration is a very different thing from asking for harassment; very few people do the latter, I suspect. Hmmm, maybe I'll start a topic on this...
I love dancing. I've done ballet, modern, tap (hated it!), and folkdance.
Folkdancing is my favorite kind because it is just so much fun. I have done both Israeli and Balkan, with a little bit of other cross-cultural randomness thrown in. I've found that this type of dancing is just as much about socializing and community building as it is about the movement. And how it feels is as important as how it looks. It's not really intended for an audience, but rather for including everyone. It's so much fun, and some of the dances are very beautiful in addition to being high energy and calming all at once.
------------------ "I'll be a Venus on a chocolate clamshell rising on a sea of marshmallow foam." -Hedwig
i've danced since i was a little kid! and it's definitely changed the way i look at my body. i mean, i definitely wouldn't look the way i do if i hadn't been dancing ballet 8 or 9 hours a week at boston ballet when i was just entering puberty. I quit ballet after a year of pointe lessons - i realized that i just wasn't committed enough to ever really succeed at ballet (and looking back at it, even though i didn't know this when i was twelve, i didn't really want to).
but dance called my name, and i went back to hip-hop, tap, and jazz at a different school - much less serious - and i remembered why i loved it.
now that i'm at college, i joined a modern dance troupe which is pretty intense - about 6-9 hours a week right now - and i've never done modern before this year. it's fun, but totally different from what i'm used to. we're doing a lot of improv work, which is scary.
all in all though, i would say that while i love sports (i ski every weekend) dance has always been first in my heart. i don't do it for fitness though, really. i do it just because.
------------------ Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk - real straight talk about souls - for life is holy and every moment is precious. I heard the Denver and Rio Grande locamotive howling off in the mountains. I wanted to pursue my star further. -Kerouac
Well, when I was younger, I took a dance class that was a combination of ballet (which I hated), tap (which I loved), and gymnastics (which I liked but wasn't good at). Now, fast forward to last year. I joined one of my school's choirs and was enjoying all of the singing when it was announced that one of the choreographers from the high school choir program (which I'm in now ) was coming to teach us some dances. After 45 minutes of attempting to dance to some Destiny's Child song, I discovered this: I could not dance at all.
I hated dancing then. When I decided to try out for my high school's choir, they made me do a dance and needless to say I was judged for that. However, I took a dance class sponsored by them over the summer and even though I found it tedious, I know that in the long run it has helped me. Since I'm in a show choir, we dance a lot! Every Tuesday I have dance practice for two hours and we exercise just as much as any of the sports (we do just as many, if not more, crunches than the football team!). I'm also taking an aerobic dancing class. We do warm ups and weight lifting for the first half and dance routines for the second. I'm in a lot better shape. I still can't dance well, but I'm improving!
(Oh, Ashy, what type of choir are you in? And what's your voice part: S1, S2, A1, A2? And Lady Moonlight, I have a friend who's been doing middle eastern/belly dancing for years now and loves it. It does seem to give you confidence!)
------------------ "...And in the morning, I'm making waffles!" -Shrek
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