Tap Dancing may evoke visions of the Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, tappers of yesteryears and more recently of expert tappers such as Gregory Hines, but of late this form of dance has become a harbinger for fitness and good health.
This popular form of dance that uses special shoes to create percussive effects when struck rhythmically on the floor had its roots in the days of slavery when Africans were forbidden to use their traditional method of communicating using drums, and used their feet to convey their messages.
Tap dancing not only requires a lot of skill and grace, but now experts say that tap dancing will also make you fitter, no matter what your age.
The claim is that tap dancing can improve your sense of balance, cardiovascular fitness and strengthen the core muscles as well.
Since tap dancing is all about shifting of weight (from one to another foot and creating that typical staccato rhythm at the same time) it can greatly improve balance says Courtney Runft, an instructor at the American Tap Dance Center in New York whose students range from kids aged three and a half to seniors in their seventies.
As students progress even those who could not stand on one leg, proceed to balance on one leg and perform deft tap dancing maneuvers that involve standing on just one leg.
Not only does tap dancing strengthen the lower body, it is a great cardio workout, claims Runft.
The intensity of the tap dance workout can be varied as per one’s requirement, age and fitness levels. Since tap dancing is moderate it is safe to do for seniors as well. Since it is also weight bearing activity, it gives benefits relating to strengthening the bones and the body’s core as well.
In recent times, there has been a shift from boring and repetitive workouts that involve gyms or activities that fail to stir the imagination.
The accent has now shifted to creating enjoyable and innovative workouts that involve dance and other exciting ways to stay fit. Different dance forms such as Ballroom dancing, Salsa, Tango and other Latin dances have gained favor as a fun and sociable way to get fit.
Even seemingly risqué dances such as pole dancing has gained popularity as a sensual and fun way to enhance upper body strength and get a great overall workout without the boring sameness of a gym or aerobic class.