If you've watched the iconic Footloose warehouse scene and found yourself tempted to throw on a white tank and break into angry, passionate dance moves, you're not alone. With the advice of some professional dancers and the right DVD, you can integrate dance into your regular workout routine at home.
How to Do Dance Workouts at Home
Especially for newbies, walking into a dance class can be intimidating. Learning a new routine is challenging, but luckily, busting a move at home is a great first step before hitting the studio. You won't need much equipment, just a carefully selected video and positive mindset!
A few feet of space are really all you need to complete a dance workout at home, says Amanda Kloots, former Broadway dancer and Radio City Rockette. In her own cardio dance workouts, which you can find on her website, Kloots uses little equipment, instructing the viewer to focus on the feel of the body as you move up, down and side-to-side. However, depending on your dance workout of choice, it may require a mat or light hand weights.
When selecting a video, Sassy Gregson-Williams, ballerina and founder of workout studio and app Naturally Sassy, says to choose wisely. Many dance workouts require precise alignment and technique, which can be challenging to replicate at home, she says. Read some reviews online and select a program that walks you through each of the dance postures and cardio exercises.
Lastly, your mindset is key to a successful at-home dance workout. Coordinating steps, rhythm, body movement, all while trying to loosen up is a challenge for anyone, not just new dancers. But your form and grasp of the routines will only improve each time you practice, says Kloots. Don't get caught up in the details.
"You don't have to be perfect at any workout when you start," Kloots says. "In fact, it's good to be bad at a workout in the beginning, because then you have a goal to work toward. You see yourself get better and grow! How inspiring is that?"
As you practice at home and gradually grow more comfortable in your new dancing shoes, so to speak, consider graduating to a real studio. According to Gregson-Williams, there's nothing quite like the community and endorphin rush of a group class.
"Dance can completely shift how we feel and our mindset, we can feel lighter, freer, and have more clarity," Gregson-Williams says. "When we workout together, the feeling of endorphins releasing, paired with community and connection can lift your mood even higher."
The Best Dance Videos for Beginners
Just as you may prefer different genres of music, there are different forms of dance to choose from. Hip-hop, Zumba, belly dancing, ballet/barre and even specialty forms of dance are styles that are sure to get your heart rate bumping.
Best Hip-Hop Dance Videos
Dance Off the Inches with Jennifer Galardi: This set includes three videos, created for dancers of all levels. Available on Amazon, each video features several hip-hop routines that feature with fat-burning cardio and core-sculpting exercises. Plus, you only need to know how to do 10 moves, which Galardi demonstrates in the video.
Step Up Revolution: Hip Hop Cardio Burn: Who doesn't want to break into dance after watching a Step Up movie? Professional dancers Misha Gabriel and Micki Duran can make that happen! Step Up Revolution: Hip Hop Cardio Burn is based on the movie Step Up Revolution, teaching you moves and routines straight from the film. The pair guide you through each step and promise you'll be breathless by the end.
Best Zumba & Latin Dance Videos
Zumba 101: Zumba is credited with popularizing the dance fitness revolution. A Colombian-inspired dance style, Zumba consists of four core rhythms, and the Zumba 101 DVD is the perfect option for beginners. Led by the creator of Zumba, Beto Perez, this video features two 30-minute workouts and teaches you the four essential moves of Zumba: cumbia, salsa, merengue and reggaeton.
Baila! Latin Dance: Ideal for beginners and seniors, Baila! is a low-impact Latin dance-inspired program. The two-hour DVD consists of five dance classes (salsa, merengue, cha-cha, pasodoble and samba), plus five bonus instructional videos, which take you through each move step-by-step.
Best Belly Dancing Videos
The Goddess Workout: This is an introductory belly-dance video, led by instructor Dolphina, who's taught celebrities like Heather Locklear and Rebecca Romijn. Dolphina breaks the workout into sections that emphasize different parts of the body. Belly dancing can be challenging to master, but the pace of instruction eases you into things. And true to the nature of beginning belly dance, you'll eventually start to notice muscles you never realized you had.
Belly Dance 101: Amira's Belly Dance 101 DVD is one of the most popular and unique belly dance guides on the market. With a nearly perfect Amazon rating, this program teaches more than 30 isolated body movements, carefully describing and demonstrating each sway and shake. Amira definitely has her own unique style, blending Middle Eastern and Flamenco dance and borrowing elements of flow and grace from yoga.
Best Barre & Ballet Videos
The New York City Ballet Workout: If you've ever seen the dancers of the New York City Ballet, you can assume the company's workout DVD is a challenge. It focuses on strength, precision and technique of various ballet postures. Even though you may not be able to execute all the moves right away, the instructors show you how to modify each one for your fitness level. The video teaches 21 different exercises and allows you to choose between classical and contemporary soundtracks.
Barre Fitness: Barre workouts are ballet-inspired but are structured in more of a classic workout style. The class is broken down into ballet-style exercises, completed in an order of sets and reps, rather than as a dance routine. Bare Fitness with Jessica Smith offers three 20-minute workouts: cardio ballet, barre burn and floor barre. You don't need any equipment for the cardio workout, but you may want a light hand weight and mat for the other two.
Best Hula Dance Video
The Hula Workout for Beginners: This dance video breaks down Hawaii's story-dance tradition into easy and understandable steps, while combining hula and cardio exercises to spike your heart rate and burn calories. Kili, the instructor, simplifies each movement to ensure you activate your core correctly with each hip swivel.
Best 10-Minute Dance Workout Video
10-Minute Solution: Dance Off Belly Fat: Consistent with its title, this DVD of five 10-minute workouts focuses on your abs. With styles from aerobic to Latin to ballet, the DVD offers something for every taste. If you're really strapped for time, opt for just one workout. But when you have more availability, blast through them all in one session. If you don't like the order or want to skip one or two workouts, you can use the DVD's menu to create a customized playlist.