Keep Dancing - Stay Healthy
The Internet, computer games, TV programs and the newest technical gadgets have transformed our youth into passive, uncoordinated, overweight couch potatoes. Yet, parallel to this is the trend towards fitness and exercise. Overcrowded fitness studios bear witness to a desire to stay fit and slim. Those who really enjoy physical exercise add music and rhythm in their enthusiasm to join the global dance craze.
We cannot escape the fact that the new dance craze has not only hit TV and sports, but also fitness training programs. Unlike the old Jane Fonda workouts from the 80’s, today’s courses may include all forms of Latino dances from Samba, Salza, Cha Cha to Marengue, Rumba, and Jive. There is also Zumba, a dance fitness program that started in Columbia in the 90’s. It targets major muscle groups. Its fast and slow rhythms combines Latin and international music with dance steps.
Dance - a Great Fat Burner
Dance is also a great fat burner: the amount of calories used during the course of a 60 minute session has been calculated to be between ca. 350 – 500 calories based on weight, metabolism and dance type. It is both fun to watch and to participate in.
Evidence is seen in that the market for dance DVD’s has exploded. You find exercise DVDs that specialize in Ballet, Ballroom, Belly Dance, BreakDance, Cajun, Clogging, Country, Disco, Exotic, Funk, Hip Hop, Hula, Irish, Ceili, Jazz, Kids, Krump, Latin, Lindy Hop or even Line Dance. Even on TV you see programs focusing on weight loss such as Dance Your Ass Off from the USA where overweight contestants compete to lose weight by dancing. The progression is monitored according to both weight loss as well as improved dance skills.
Great for Parties
Besides being a form of entertainment and exercise, dances learned at dance or training studios can also be used at parties or on dance floors everywhere. Seeing sports celebs known for their boxing skills trying to dance the Salsa, may make regular people regardless of age, size or fitness want to try Ballroom and Latin dances themselves. It is undoubtedly an exciting way to keep fit, especially if you are tired of traditional sports. Just like in traditional sports, it requires physical skills, such as agility, coordination, speed and stamina.
Dance Keeps Kids from Crime
As we have seen in so many of the new TV dance reality series, youths from underprivileged areas have been given the chance to compete in different forms of street dancing. Many youth clubs have special courses in street dancing. It introduces them to an activity that demands dexterity, strength and self-discipline. Participation has saved many a teenager from doing drugs or committing criminal acts.
Dance and Globalization
Nevertheless, some answers to its popularity may also be found in Globalization where traditional dance forms have taken on the characteristics of many cultures. Besides bringing people of all cultures closer together, fast upbeat rhythms get the heart pumping. And the rhythms are many from all over the world. Another reason for dance’s increase in popularity may be in the simple fact that faced with constant media bombardment of wars, killings, natural catastrophes or economic instability, viewers from all over the world may be looking for healthy forms of escape. And dancing knows no borders, age limits, no race or creed. Anyone anywhere can watch or partake in it.
- What is the difference between the old Jane Fonda workouts in the 80’s and today’s fitness training programs?
- What is Zumba?
- Why is dance such a good way to stay healthy?
- Name a few of the fitness DVDs mentioned in the text.
- What incentives have been used to encourage people to try dancing?
- What are some of the social benefits attached to dancing?
- How can dance as a global language bring people together?
- How can dance as an expression of traditional cultures keep cultural identities alive in a multicultural society?
- Dance is the best way to fight obesity
- Fitness DVDs are not all what they are cracked up to be
- Dancing is only for girls, give me sports any day
- Competition kills initiative
- Everyone remembers his/her first school dance. Write a descriptive essay explaining what you remember most. You may include any of the following:
- Being asked to the school dance
- Buying new clothes
- Special preparations before the dance
- Nerves and sweaty palms
- Standing in a group/alone
- Fear of being rejected
- On the dance floor
- After the school dance
- Several governments around the world have begun to encourage young people to adopt healthy eating and exercising habits in order to combat obesity and passivity. Chart a month of dance or sports training. Remember you must maintain a balance between school work, chores and training. Give an oral presentation using visual stimuli through PowerPoint/Impress where you encourage people in your class to train more.
- You are a film/theater critic. Choose a favorite dance film/musical and write a critique for a local newspaper.