Dance It Off: 6 Styles That Torch Calories

Get in shape—and have a blast—with these fresh, fun fitness dances

Flickr/Edson Hong

You don’t have to be a trained dancer to reap the benefits from the art form. And if your fitness routine is feeling a little dull, what better way to spice it up than learning some new moves? You can have a blast while strengthening your bones and muscles, improving your posture and balance and even bettering your memory (trust us, those routines can get tricky!). We picked six styles of dance that will get you sweating. No tutu required.

There’s no doubt you’ve heard of this fitness craze. Bringing dance to gyms everywhere, Zumba combines several dance styles, including salsa, merengue, mambo, hip-hop and more.  The Latin-dance inspired routine includes both fast and slow rhythms that help tone and sculpt the body while burning fat. Bonus: You don’t have to stick to just one type of Zumba class. There’s Zumba Fitness, Zumba Toning, Aqua Zumba and others that cater to your specific fitness routines. This isn’t time to be shy, so shake that booty and watch it get firmer in the process.

Pole Dancing
So maybe your lifelong dream wasn’t to become a professional pole dancer, but you can still test it out for fun. Don’t worry: You won’t be stripping off any clothes, just those last few pounds. You’ll be doing spins, climbs, dance moves and even floor work during this fun and fearless workout, and you’ll see the results on your entire body. Pole dancing works your thighs, butt, arms and back. And since you’ll be testing out new moves each week, you’ll always feel challenged. Just make sure you master the basics before deciding to turn this dance style into your new career.

Ballet Barre
Ballerinas always seem to have the best bodies—long, lean and toned. But you don’t need to rehearse for hours on end to see the same results. Embrace your inner ballerina with barre workout classes. These ballet-inspired workouts help you develop lean muscle mass while simultaneously improving your flexibility and balance. If you’re worried about expenses—these classes can cost some serious cash—don’t fret: You can do this dance workout at home. While classes are usually centered on a stationary barre, you can use your chair or table as a substitute. Get dancing. It’s time to show up Natalie Portman’s Black Swan performance.

Belly Dancing
Still trying to get those flat abs you’ve been dreaming of? Dance away the flab with a belly dance routine. Sure, you’ll be doing a ton of hip rolling, but you’ll also be working your arms, shoulders and chest. Because you’ll be doing small movements, your inner core muscles will constantly be engaged, leading to improved balance and posture. This dance workout is also beneficial for your spine as the moves lengthen and strengthen spinal and abdominal muscles. And since you never stop—belly dancing keeps you in constant motion—you’ll get a full-on cardio workout too. The Middle Eastern dance form is continuing to grow in popularity, so you won’t have any trouble finding the right class for you. With the

Hip-Hop Funk
If you’re the kind of person who tries to copy Rhianna or Beyonce’s latest hip hop moves in the privacy of your own bedroom, get ready to turn things up a notch by hitting the studio. You can listen to all of your favorite songs while also improving your health by taking a hip-hop class. The high impact cardio workout will work your entire body by requiring you to change positions and move at a fast pace. And this street dance inspired aerobic routine can burn up to 500 calories per hour while improving your heart muscles and lung function and pumping up your energy. Some classes even teach you the choreography you see in your favorite music videos. You’re just one class away from fitness fame, so put on your sneakers and get ready to pop and lock it.

African Dance
Inspired by the dance styles of Sub-Saharan Africa, African dance improves your body tone, flexibility, fitness and vascular health. Classes often are taught to beats from Africa live on the drum and sometimes include lessons on the history of the dance style. Originally, African dance was used to teach values, help people work and celebrate members of the community at festivals and funerals. You’ll be paying close attention to the rhythm of the music—the shoulders, chest, pelvis, arms and legs may move with different rhythms, forcing you to improve your coordination. Get ready to sweat during this combination of dance, history and culture. What more could you want?


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