Challenge Your Brain and Your Booty with Dance

Whether you’re a dance novice or veteran, every new sequence or pattern of movement you learn works your psyche as much as it does your physique. With so many types of dance classes offered around the city, finding the right one to take can be a difficult task. The good news is you can try out a bunch! Not only is regularly switching up your workout routine better for your body (it keeps your muscles guessing!), it’s a lot more fun.

Ballet, probably the most well-known form of dance, is fundamental for any trained dance professional.  Ballet improves body alignment, perfects technique and promotes a deep understanding of rhythm and musicality.  The challenges that arise in a ballet class make the post-class reflection extremely powerful. Looking back and realizing what you’ve accomplished during that brief but intense class (even if it wasn’t perfect) makes it well worth the effort.

Contemporary dance is a great way to play around with the formal techniques you would learn in a ballet class.  Contemporary dance is less rigid and will challenge you to explore your artistry. Unlike traditional ballet music, there are no boundaries in contemporary dance music, which introduces another element of exploration and release. As a contemporary dance teacher, I make it a priority to incorporate a student’s individual technique and try to further explore that student’s unique capabilities.

Improv is another style of dance that is extremely valuable and fun to explore, focusing on precisely what it sounds like it would: the spontaneity of movement. I use improv exercises in many of my classes as well as lead open improv jams, giving the mover a chance to tune into her instincts, passion and freedom to be who she wants without the pressures of parameters or instruction.  I find that when dancers are invited to dance freely, they truly blossom.

Nervous to try it out? Try out something more accessible at first like Zumba or capoeira.  If that’s too much, start out with a yoga or Pilates class and see how you feel.  The key is working your entire body while also promoting personal growth and empowerment. If you’re not taking risks in your exercise routine, then where can you take risks?

 

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