Health benefits of dancing
Dancing helps you stand tall and it spontaneously pulls your spine up straight. Walking upright eventually becomes a habit.
This is essential when you’re performing dance moves.
A good hour-long dance session can push your heart rate up to 120 beats per minute – the same as aerobic exercise. You’ll burn more or less the same amount of kilojoules when you walk briskly for 5km.
The exertion dance demands of your muscles helps to tone your arms and legs. Over time you’ll see your upper arms, calves and thighs firm up.
Graceful dance moves keep bones strong without putting unnecessary strain on the joints. Dance promotes bone density and therefore helps to prevent osteoporosis.
Dancing for or with people boosts self-confidence. Few of us wouldn’t be proud of performing a faultless tango!
Body and soul
Many studies have investigated the therapeutic and meditative effects of dance on the body. According to psychologist Dr Melléta Louw, “The combination of music and movement brings your body and soul together in a world that often puts too much emphasis on the external world.”
Pole dancing is usually the focal point in a strip club and involves dancing and strip-teasing around a vertical pole. Recently, though, this activity has shed its somewhat tawdry reputation and is increasingly performed in dance studios and gyms all over the world. It has also become a competitive art form and is no longer regarded as a primarily sexual form of dancing.
According to pole dancing instructor Natasha Williams the scandalous stigma of pole dancing is disappearing fast.
"Women are looking for ways to exercise that are more exciting than gym," she explains. And pole dancing isn't just about being sexy, it's about combining gymnastics, suppleness and grace. That's why the range of possible moves is endless.
The challenge factor
Pole dancing is challenging and the exercise sessions vary. After just one hour you should have mastered a few moves, says Natasha, but it takes three to six months for a beginner to feel comfortable and a year to get to an advanced stage.
Why it's good for you
If you practise three times a week for an hour you'll be slimmer and suppler after only a month. Pole dancing works all the stubborn, flabby bits where fat accumulates first: tummy, arms, hips, thighs and butt. “And because it makes you feel sensual and graceful it helps to build self-confidence, not to mention giving you some tips for the bedroom!" says Natasha.
Celebrity pole dancers
Kate Moss, Britney Spears, Kate Hudson and Lindsay Lohan.
REMEMBER: Check your dance teacher's qualifications. Also make sure you tell him or her if you have any injuries or health problems so your dance moves can be adapted appropriately. And listen to your body – take a break when you're tired and don't try to force yourself into positions you're not used to.