Whether you like to jump or jive, tap or tango, shake your hips or your booty, dancing is one of the most enjoyable ways to get moving. Regular dancing is great for losing weight, maintaining strong bones, improving posture and muscle strength, increasing balance and co-ordination, and beating stress.
One of the best things about dancing is that while you're having fun moving to music and meeting new people, you're getting all the health benefits of a good workout.
Before you start
Most accredited dance schools hold beginners' courses and welcome people with disabilities. Schools are friendly and a great way to socialise. If you don't want to go on your own, get a friend to go with you.
Classes can cost as little as £5-10 for a 90-minute session. If the first class you try falls short of your expectations, don't be put off.
It's worth trying a few different classes until you find the right one for you.
Wear clothing that gives you freedom of movement. Some dance styles – such as ballet, tap or jazz – may require specialist footwear, so check before turning up. Avoid wearing jewellery such as earrings, rings and necklaces, which can scratch you or get caught in clothing.
Modern jive, popularly known as LeRoc and Ceroc, has evolved from jive and swing into one of the simplest of all partner dances. There's no footwork to learn so within half an hour your local club will have you turning and spinning to the biggest chart hits of today and yesterday, with lots of different partners.
Street dance describes urban dance styles that evolved in the street, school yards and nightclubs, including hip hop, popping, locking, krumping and breaking. These dances are practised competitively, as well as being an art form and a great workout.
The first ballet school, the Académie Royale de Danse, was established in France in 1661. Today there are three main forms of ballet: classical, neoclassical and contemporary. Ballet's conventional steps, grace and fluidity of movement are a great foundation for dance in general.
Salsa dancing is a fun and flirtatious form of partner dancing, fusing steamy Afro-Caribbean and Latin styles into simple and lively movements. The word "salsa" is Spanish for "sauce" (usually hot and spicy), which is an appropriate description for a dance that is energetic, passionate and sexy. The basic steps are easy to learn, and you'll salsa your way across the dance floor before you know it.
Ballroom dancing has made a comeback in recent years, partly thanks to TV shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and Strictly Dance Fever. There are many styles of ballroom dancing from around the world, such as the waltz, tango and foxtrot, and each has specific step patterns. It is essential for both partners, the leader as well as the follower, to know the steps so they can dance together.
From Andalucia in Spain, this is the dance of swirling skirts, castanets and breathtakingly fast heel stomping. Flamenco's musical and dance traditions are centuries old, blending gypsy, Moorish and Andalucian influences. Flamenco is a solo dance characterised by hand clapping, percussive footwork and intricate hand, arm and body movements.
Cover Photo: Wix