Dancer Tony Dovolani took time out of his hectic "Dancing With the Stars" schedule to talk to us about how your Saturday swing class does wonders for your body.
Why is dancing a great way to stay fit?
There's a number of ways that dance improves your health. For one thing, it's a social activity. When you're dancing, you're not staring at a treadmill, you're staring at another person; it's interactive. Physically, it works out every part of the body; it works muscles you forget about -- small muscles. Dancing burns around 275 calories in a 45-minute session. That's more than running.
What styles of dance give the best workout?
Foxtrot and Jive. They build up a lot of stamina. The Rumba, too. Some slow dances are great because they require more control and balance. Any ballroom dancing with a partner adds pressure. When you dance by yourself, you have no resistance. When you dance with a partner you have control, you are more aware and the mind is engaged too.
What should you look for in a dance class?
Start with salsa: It's simple and there's a lot of hip action, which works the mid-section.
Are there certain dance moves that people should incorporate into their exercise routine?
Stretching exercises are so important. They activate the body. ... It doesn't need to be extensive if you do it right. Five minutes gets the whole body activated and you're good for the day.
How does what you wear affect how you move?
Start with the right shoes. This is not a pitch. If you are a tennis player or a mountain climber, you wear the right shoes. I worked on a new design with Capezio that gives the right support and tension. The shoe should have flexibility and strength. All exercise is balance-based and without shoe support, you can hurt yourself. People ask me what's the secret of being a great dancer and I say great balance.
Join the Joffrey
Wanna dance? If you've always dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina, it's not too late. The Joffrey Ballet School offers classes for all levels, beginners included, at its teaching facility (434 Ave. of the Americas, 5th fl.). Interested? Sign up at www.joffreyballetschool.com.