dance your way to fitnessDancing doesn’t just mean the jive or waltz, it comes in many forms, most of which work to tone your body and burn calories. What’s even better,is the fun and social aspect of dancing for fitness. Which dance class suits or interests you? Marisa Branscombe looks at all of the options!

dance your way to fitness Dancing doesn’t just mean the jive or waltz, it comes in many forms, most of which work to tone your body and burn calories. What’s even better,is the fun and social aspect of dancing for fitness. Which dance class suits or interests you? Marisa Branscombe looks at all of the options!


Ballet is a formalised form of dance, which emerged in the late 15th century Renaissance court of Italy as a dance interpretation of fencing. It is highly technical and has become an influential form of dance globally. Ballet can be choreographed, and includes mime or acting to set music or vocals. Ballet is best known in its original form of classical dance, but later developments include neoclassical and contemporary ballet. It has continued to develop into the 20th century and has had a strong influence on broader musicals.

Ballet fitness courses are available at many gyms and dance schools across the country and are a fantastic way to experience fitness (no matter what your ability). Ballet fitness will improve flexibility, body strength and awareness, muscle conditioning and definition, cardiovascular fitness, grace and posture.
BEST FOR: overall body strength, muscle conditioning and posture.


Belly Dancing

Let your imagination drift as you dream about the ancient pyramids, with this wonderful dance that will keep you slim and trim. You will learn to shimmy and vibrate your hips, shake your arms, undulate your torso, flutter your tummy and master the art of playing finger cymbals whilst listening to exotic music.

Best of all, this is a dance that was created for women by women so it is natural to do. It is a dance of ultimate femininity, designed for a woman’s body at any age, shape or size. Belly dancing works the muscles gently without stressing the body or overexerting the joints. It helps prevent osteoporosis, improves posture, can help relieve back pain and can burn up to 300 calories per hour.
BEST FOR: abdominal toning and posture.

Jazz/Funk (Hip Hop)

Jazz dance originated in the 1920s with the great Charleston through to the elegant foxtrot. It represents our popular culture and is forever changing. It is influenced by the pop music seen on video clips from the likes of Britney Spears and Madonna. Jazz will empower you with energy and dynamic moves. It will enhance flexibility, movement and fitness levels. It will help build strength, coordination and confidence with its kicks, leaps and turns and is a great workout for all ages.
BEST FOR: coordination and cardiovascular fitness.

Pole Dancing

First you saw it on Oprah, then you started hearing about it from the celebrities in magazines and now you too can join this fitness sensation. Pole dancing teaches you a range of pole tricks and dance moves in a fun, innovative and sometimes seductive way. It has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, where women ranging from 16 to 50 years of age can expose as much skin as they feel comfortable with! The classes teach you how to dance sensually and work the pole in a graceful way. Pole dancing promotes confidence and a celebration of your sexuality and womanhood.
BEST FOR: strength, flexibility and confidence.

Salsa and Salsa-cise

Salsa dance, whether traditional or LA style taught at many Australian dance schools, comes with particular emphasis on technique and styling. It is probably the most popular of all dance styles, and you will see diehard salsa dancers on almost every night of the week in capital cities around the country enjoying their passion. These classes (no matter where you choose to do them) will get you up and moving! Salsa is social, keeps you fit, entertained and out of trouble.

Salsa-cise is an exercise routine class founded from individual salsa dance steps. It will help to increase fitness, spinning technique, balance and coordination.
BEST FOR: balance and coordination.

Tap Dancing

Tap dance is a less commercial and often less popular dance for those of you looking to get fit. However, it is one of the most colourful and unique of all dance styles and teaches students self determination. It is not only a form of exercise and movement, but also a creation of music itself – a magical skill. Tap will teach you how to put steps and rhythms together using different styles in music from jazz, funk and hip hop.
BEST FOR: balance and rhythm.


Ballroom dancing comes in many forms and you can dance ballroom style at various levels. Some of you may start out practising for your big wedding day, whilst some of you may be looking for a bit of fun in your spare time. The most common dance forms taught in ballroom are the tango, rumba, cha-cha -cha, quickstep, jive, samba, foxtrot and slow rhythm.

The tango rolls passion, music, style and charm into one sheer dancing pleasure. The timing of the tango in the late 18th century was rather slow and was taken back to Europe, where it was the fashionable dance of the time. Hollywood then picked it up and gave Rudolph Valentino the role of promoting it worldwide. The rumba came from Cuba, but it was the American version called the box rumba that was danced for many years. It was a version different from the original style and was made easy for tourists. The cha-cha-cha, or the Cuban mambo, is a fast moving rhythm that had its beginnings in the West Indies. It was influenced by the North American Swing and jitterbug.

The most modern quickstep was developed by the late Frank Ford. He took the original version, eliminated the boisterous kicking movement and made it a dance to be performed as two, rather than solo. The jive is a revised version of the American crazed jitterbug dance of the 1930s and is still very popular today.

The samba was one of the first Latin dances imported to Europe. During the tango craze in the 1930s the samba was pushed aside and it wasn’t until 1945 when it was reintroduced by several American teachers into London. The foxtrot was introduced by Harry Fox who was a comedian in the early 1900s. His trotting steps accompanied by rag-time music in his famous acts became the strange kind of movement they called Fox’s Trot. It wasn’t until 1927 that the dance took on its current form of the foxtrot. Because of the ever diminishing size of dance floors, another dance called the slow rhythm was introduced.
It was developed from the basic quickstep and is more conducive to up tempo, slow beat music.
BEST FOR: coordination and rhythm