This is my second Dancehall (Reggae) class in Portugal and it got my hear rate rocketing. It was 60 mins of pelvic tilts, rotation and other moves. This is the nature of the dance, please do not judge or think otherwise. I was surrounded by very young girls (probably 18 – 25 years old) in the class and in a normal situation, I will feel awkward. Why? Because I am 43 and even the instructor was probably more than a decade younger than me. However, I needed a high energy class that day that would move my body in a dynamic but feminine way. I did not allow my mind to judge my age and I was confident that I could move with these girls.
What is my message to you? I had observed many fitness videos on squats and fat burning videos as I am trying to help some friends and students to lose some weight. I am not being bias as I am a dance instructor too. Drum roll… I have to say that dance class is the solution for you to burn fats, tone your legs and and have much fun at the same time! Sustainable cardio practice has to be fun and not mundane because it is quite a bit of hard work, isn’t it? I have been teaching dance for more than 15 years and I do push my students quite a bit to move to their best. In this dancehall class where the instructor was nice and soft spoken, I was pushing myself physically and mentally. I was looking like a red lobster from full blood circulation. However, I was smiling the whole time, as there was no pressure for me and just enjoying the sassy-ness of the dance. I was dancing for nobody but for myself. It feels great being an older dancer. Dance mood was dynamic and feminine at the same time. The instructor was throwing dance steps and moves that were absolutely working the quads, hips; hopping with both feet plus squats, etc…all these moves just pushed me closer to my limit.
I was looking all red earlier and my heart was pumping hard and fast. I almost drop the idea of attending the second class. After a 20 mins rest, I took a 90mins contemporary dance class that really challenged my core and my quads (once again!) but the music was so beautiful that I just allowed it to flow through me. It was the complete opposite of the heart pumping dancehall class. In this contemporary class, our fluid movements were like a flowing river and blooming flowers. One of the best thing about dance is that when you are feeling it, you do not think about the muscles or the reps that you need to complete in an exercise regime. In dance, it is very 3 dimensional. We move in all directions and at different levels (examples- jumps and rolling on the floor). This is definitely a workout! Inspired by the music, your body tells the story. If you are new to dance, I will suggest that you just connect with the music and not think too much of the dance technique- move like a child. Be natural and work from there.
Perhaps, this blog post is not for the seasoned dancers, I am motivated to bridge this gap of encouraging more people to start dance and enjoy it like a form of “art”. Art – I do not mean an artistic performance by professionals. I meant tap into your heart (or you can call it your soul), drop your ego and be authentic. Stop watching youtube for a moment, connect with your true self. When you are flowing from your heart, your body will be able to really expand and move freely, irregardless of the dance style. Every dance is a form of art and we all start as beginner.
For now, I am inspired to put together a fun and energetic dance choreography that will get our heart rates rocketing and souls alive! Stay connected, dance tribe 🙂
Dance like no one’s watching,
Carol Cheong is a pilates and dance instructor for close to 20 years.
She had been a flight attendant and dance studio owner in her 20s and 30s. Now, she adopts the yogic lifestyle and loves connecting with her students through movements and breath. She launched an elective course (Pilates and Yoga) in the university in Singapore and her dance choreographies are frequently featured on national TV station in Singapore. [www.ompulence.com]