Get started with Latin dance
Latin dance is officially having a moment and the reason why goes beyond our enduring love of Strictly. ‘Dance and music go hand-in-hand, so the rise of Latin-American artists in European mainstream music has helped,’ says Claire Seymour, dance fitness teacher at Dan’s, London. Seymour believes the right playlist has the power to boost our confidence, which is why the music is carefully selected for each class at Dan’s. ‘The music puts people at ease, so nobody feels as if they’re being inspected, or judged.’
As well as being a great way to let loose, Latin dancing can help you achieve some serious levels of fitness, too. ‘Some styles of dance require lots of energy,’ explains Nuno Sabroso, Latin dance teacher at Santhosh Dance, London. ‘Jive is high-intensity and fast-paced, which is good for cardio, whereas Rumba is more about balance and control, and Tango requires lots of core strength. But whatever style you choose, it will be good for you, as it gets you moving – and that’s always a really positive thing.’
What are the benefits?
‘Latin dance helps with muscle toning, co-ordination, flexibility, cardiovascular health and weight-loss to name a few,’ says Sabroso. It also tests your brain power, as you have to carefully watch the teacher and commit a set of steps to memory. Plus, it has serious wellbeing benefits. ‘Dancing increases the levels of endorphins in the body, sometimes referred to as “happy hormones”,’ says Sabroso. For this reason, dancing can help lift your mood and combat depression. Crucially, don’t stress about getting it wrong. ‘Everyone is a beginner at some point,’ says Sabroso. ‘Like anything, when you do it for the first time, it can feel a little daunting.’ If you’re not sure which style to try, search through YouTube and watch some videos to find one you like.
What kit do I need?
Luckily, expensive gear isn’t required – just wear something you can move around in comfortably. ‘You don’t need anything special. Normal gym workout gear and trainers are fine,’ says Sabroso. Once you’ve been doing it a while, you could invest in more professional kit, like a pair of Latin dance shoes.
Latin dance for beginners online
Keen to start, but classes not an option? Try these great free resources
• YouTube channel Passion4dancing has tutorials that cover the basics in Latin dance for beginners
• Dan’s Fitness host virtual versions of their classes online. Click here to try your seven-day free trial of Dan’s At Home.
• You can book a dance class with Strictly professional Oti Mabuse at otimabusedancestudio.com or follow-along with one of her routines on her YouTube channel: Oti Mabuse Official