Stow away the weights, jump ropes and treadmills. Retire the boring exercise videos and intimidating yoga mats. And, try getting fit through dance. Dance classes are fun, exciting and just as effective as other traditional exercise regimes. Women dance all the time, but how often is dancing associated with losing weight and toning? Dancing is not viewed with the anxiety and resistance that is coupled with exercising. Women can enjoy themselves without concentrating on the amount of reps to do or the rigorous schedule to follow.

Below are different dance styles perfect for weight loss, muscle toning, and muscle strengthening. Read the descriptions to see which style fits your interests, time commitment, body area of focus, and level of difficulty. Then, scan the yellow pages or Google to find a class near you.

Absolute Beginner Ballet

You will learn the fundamentals of ballet technique which emphasize correct posture and body placement on one leg. This class will help develop strength and control of your movements.

Afro Cuban

It is a blend of African and Cuban traditional dance styles. You will build strength, agility and indulge in the sensuality of Afro Cuban dance. Classes are usually accompanied by live drumming.


Capoeira is an African-Brazilian fight-dance and martial art. It involves fluid acrobatic play, sweeps, kicks, head butts and sparring. This class will hone your technique and strategy in this martial art/dance form.

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It involves fast footwork, body isolation, rhythmic swaying, and a complete body workout. Traits of this dance are found in samba, hip hop, the electric slide, jazz, and Afro Caribbean.


It emphasizes strong and proper body alignment, and clean technique through placement stretch and strength exercises. The class also includes jazz isolations and across the floor work on turns, kicks and jumps.

Masala Bhangra Workout

An exercise dance routine that modernizes the high-energy folk dance of Bhangra by blending traditional Bhangra dance steps and the exhilaration of Bollywood (Hindi film) moves. It is suitable for participants of all ages and fitness levels.

Available at The Ailey Extension located at 405 W. 55th Street, New York


Sabar is one of the national dances of Senegal, West Africa. A folklore dance, it is danced up off the ground, uses the arms a lot, and is involves dancing by twisting the hips. As a dancer in this class, you will learn how to tell a story with your body.


Bellydancing is a total body workout. Classes will cover the basics of hip, rib cage, and arm isolations, as well as simple turns, traveling steps, veil work, combinations, and choreography.


This high energy technique combines motivating music with unique moves and routines. The combinations are easy to follow and feature aerobic/fitness interval training with a blend of fast and slow rhythms that tone and sculpt the body through resistance training to maximize caloric output and fat burning.

Want to trim down? Try walking

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