Dance, dance, wherever you may be: Dancers give an enthusiastic demonstration of salsa in the street. *photo by Asha Charlies
Dance, dance, wherever you may be: Dancers give an enthusiastic demonstration of salsa in the street. *photo by Asha Charlies
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If you’re searching for a fun, exciting activity to include in your fitness routine, or simply something new to try in the New Year, look no further than the wide variety of social dance classes offered at the Sabor Dance School.

Whether you need a new activity to improve your fitness or just to meet new people, social dancing and dance-inspired fitness classes may be just the ticket.

It’s no secret that TV and film have elevated social dancing to epic new heights in recent years, and for good reason: it’s glamorous, sexy, fiery, graceful, expressive…and fun!

However, all glitz and glitter aside, dancing has become a source of immense physical, mental, emotional and social benefit.

With dance schools, organizations and events in every corner of the globe, it’s not difficult to reap the many benefits dancing provides.

Physical

Dancing lowers the risk of coronary heart disease, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, increases heart and lung efficiency, improves co-ordination and balance, improves flexibility, burns fat (calories burned will vary depending on age, body composition and gender, but generally you can expect 200 to over 540 calories expended per hour of continuous dance), strengthens muscles and connective tissue (particularly in the core and lower body) and neuromuscular connections, and strengthens bones (dance is a weight-bearing exercise).

Mental

Dancing improves kinaesthetic (body movement) awareness, improves memory, relieves stress and tension, promotes creativity and the feeling of “letting yourself go”, decreases stressful hormones such as cortisol and increases positive hormones like endorphins, may help lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, by challenging the brain through learning complex movement and rhythm patterns, and improves quality of sleep.

Emotional

Dancing improves mood, promotes freedom of expression, improves self-esteem and self-efficacy (the belief that you can achieve something).

Social

Dancing improve communication skills, promotes co-operation, etiquette, respect, team work, and connection with another person.

Another incredibly fascinating and relatively recent realization is that dancing promotes “creative intelligence”.

According to a 2008 article published by the American Council on Exercise regarding partnered dancing, “the leader and follower are engaged in a constant give and take and must make hundreds of split-second decisions about what to do and where to move next.

The person following must interpret signals (through touch, gesture and eye contact), which requires an active, creative intelligence.

Dancing with different partners forces the follower to adjust to each one.

As for the leader, he must interpret the music in movement terms (her movements, rhythm and which manoeuvres work best for her).”

Not sure where to begin? Try Latin dances such as salsa, cha cha, merengue, bachata, Argentine tango, and New York hustle.

You can also explore the traditional ballroom dances like waltz, foxtrot, rumba, samba, cha cha, and swing.

Sultry yet fun Bollywood (Indian film dance) and zumba (Latin-inspired aerobics classes) are guaranteed to have you sweating by the end!

All classes can be found at Sabor Dance School, located in the Berkeley Cultural Centre. Led by a team of passionate, skilled instructors, you’re sure to find something that you enjoy.

The price is right, at $100 for a seven-week course (one class per week) and No partner is necessary!

If you’d like to get ahead or practice more, the school offers private, one-on-one lessons. No partner is necessary! All you have to bring are comfortable clothes, non-grip soles and a great attitude!

When you’re ready, join your fellow students and instructors and hit the dance floor at SalsaMania Productions’ two free weekly social dance venues.

What better way to spend an evening dancing, playing, exploring and laughing your way to a healthier mind and body.