by Guest blog – Sue Allen Hudson – Founder of Fit4Tap
Group exercise has changed substantially in the last year. Due to restrictions on socialising, instructors have been quick to innovate their classes to make them safe and accessible, both in person and digitally. The explosion of online dance fitness classes has been a useful tool for many to not only stay fit, but to stay connected.
Dance fitness combines the structure of traditional fitness styles and the creativity and fun of dance, to benefit both physical and mental health. Attending a regular group exercise dance fitness class builds strength, increases stamina, reduces stress, improves co-ordination and confidence, provides social interaction, develops flexibility, and boosts weight loss.
The history of Tap dance
When you think of Tap dance, you may think of Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, whose birthday was the inspiration for National Tap Dance Day (USA), you may think of the famous stair dance performed on stage and in film, which was so iconic it was repurposed around the world. You may also visualise Hollywood greats such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers who brought the movement to new audiences on the silver screen. But what is more interesting is its origins before it hit the popular culture.
Tap dance was born primarily from African tribal dances and Scottish, Irish and English folk dance (clogs, hornpipes and jigs) in the 18th Century. It was thought that it developed and evolved from indentured or exiled Europeans and enslaved Africans sharing their traditional styles of dance during time spent on American plantations. It matured and became more varied with influences from the above and other percussion-based styles like flamenco due to the close proximity of ethnic groups in urban areas of New York. Tap dance at it is known today did not fully emerge until the 1920’s, when ‘metal taps’ were nailed into heels and toes of the shoe that make the unmistakeable tap sound. The dance style was a staple for any Broadway show of the era and it evolved (and is still evolving) throughout the decades to produce new movement. Dance troupes like the Syncopated Ladies, that amassed over 50 million views with viral videos, and Dein Perry's award winning show 'Tap Dogs', are bringing Tap dance to new audiences.
What are the health benefits of Tap dance as exercise?
Tap dance is a great form of exercise and beneficial to health and well-being in so many ways. It is a full-body workout that increases cardiovascular conditioning, strengthens the body’s core muscles, improves agility, flexibility, balance, posture, stamina, and co-ordination.
Tap dance strengthens and increases bone mass and improves muscle strength. This can be especially helpful for those at risk of low bone density and can ward off, or slow down, the progression of osteoporosis.
Tap dancers must develop both mental and muscle memory to become proficient at tapping. Learning new moves will give your brain a workout too!
Want to try a Tap fitness class?
Fit4Tap is an alternative dance fitness programme that brings fitness and a specialised dance skill together through rhythm and beat. Learn to tap dance whilst keeping fit (you can burn approximately 350-400 in a 1-hour class!) with a unique format incorporating tap step and choreography breakdowns that work towards set routines. Fit4Tap instils confidence and helps to improves both mental and physical fitness. It is also a fun and social group exercise class that is suitable for beginner and refresher tappers.
Sue Allen Hudson, founder and director of Fit4Tap, saw a niche in the market for a tap dance fitness class in 2015. Trained as a dancer, Sue went on to perform professionally in musicals and commercial dance on stage and television. Sue has over 15 years of experience teaching group exercise and you can join her virtual classes visiting fit4tap.com.
So, whether it’s the fun social interaction, exercising without knowing you are exercising or the feeling of achievement you get from learning a dance skill that you’ve always wanted to (or used to enjoy as a child) …dance fitness is for you.
And for more information on Fit4Tap classes visit Fit4Tap.