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Dancing as a Hobby - Ten Popular Dance Styles

Updated on November 14, 2018
Tricia Deed profile image

Tricia Deed has taught dance and exercise. Loosing weight and toning muscles produces the energy and athletic bodies needed by dancers.

Social Dancing

Source

Dancing As A Hobby

Dancing as a hobby is for those people who are not making dancing as a profession. Nowadays, there are many dances to choose from. And it is more acceptable in our modern world for both men and women to dance for pleasure with the outcome of toning their bodies or losing weight.

This article contains ten forms of dance which have public appeal and appreciation of dance for recreation and leisure activity.

Rock and Roll

Rock and Roll was and is very popular. Anyone can dance.
Rock and Roll was and is very popular. Anyone can dance. | Source

Types of Dancing

The dances which will be discussed in this article are referring to dance forms which have become popular as a hobby interest for the public. The dance which you choose has much to do with the music selection which you enjoy.

Rock and Roll originated from about the 1940s. I was introduced to it in the late 1950s as a child.

This was the era of the Rock and Roll and its king was Elvis Presley. Teenagers loved the exciting rhythms and they loved dancing to it. Rock and roll continues to be loved because the music sets one feet and body to dancing. And you really do not need formal training for this type of dancing.

Rock and roll is still an active form of dancing in America. There are many community clubs and night clubs which offer dance participation. These dance centers will provide music from re-recorded music or featuring live bands which specialize in rock and roll.

Rock and roll is here to stay. My generation wore out many rpm albums and watched the Dick Clark show everyday. Today's technology allows listening or viewing to CDs, DVDs, MP3s, iPods, computer, cable, and satellite.

The Ballerina

Ballet is a dance for exercise or performance.
Ballet is a dance for exercise or performance. | Source

1. Ballet

Did you take ballet classes when you were a child? Or perhaps you have seen ballet at show events and considered taking ballet classes.

If you have decided to take ballet as an adult you may do so in a ballet studio. The ballet classes which offer this dance for exercise have smaller classes. The small class is in your favor as you will receive more individual attention.

Some studios will mix adults with children. However, this makes adults feel uncomfortable.

Benefits of ballet movements in either the dance studio or in the home:

  1. Will remove unwanted fat resulting in toning your muscles and losing weight
  2. Designing a flatter tummy
  3. Develop flexibility
  4. Reduce stress
  5. Correct posture

Mental benefits include:

  1. Developing creativity
  2. Gaining poise, confidence, and conscientiousness
  3. Refining focusing abilities

A modification of the ballet which has no rigid rules is modern dance. Artists such as Isodora Duncan pioneered this dance which allows freedom of movements to express one's self. Ruth St. Denis and Martha Graham were other artists who have helped to make this dance popular.

Modern Dance - Men in Stage Performance

Men take interest in modern dance.
Men take interest in modern dance. | Source

2. Modern Dance

A modification of the ballet which has no rigid rules is modern dance.

Artists such as Isodora Duncan pioneered this dance which allows freedom of creating movements to express one's self in union with the music. Ruth St. Denis and Martha Graham were other artists who have helped to make this dance popular.

There is also modern jazz. As I have researched this niche I would say that any individual creating movements to a selected piece of music can be considered in this category. Modern theatrical is used in musicals and stage productions.

Ballroom Dancing

A couple dancing to a ballroom favorite ...the Tango.l
A couple dancing to a ballroom favorite ...the Tango.l | Source

3. Ballroom Dancing

Social dancing requires a partner or many partners. Ballroom dancing is social dancing which requires formal training.

Ballroom dancing includes movements such as the waltz, foxtrot, jitterbug, and Latin rhythms of rumba, salsa, mambo, and cha cha.

Many of these dances can be learned from random dancing partners. But, ballroom dance instructions help those people who want more stability, direction, and memorized step patterns.

This dance is for the serious hobbyist who wishes to attend ballroom conventions, competitions, and social events.

Taps are Worn by Tap Dancers and Flamenco Dancers

Taps (metal clips), are attached to the soles of the shoes and they click to the beats of the rhythm by tapping on the floor.
Taps (metal clips), are attached to the soles of the shoes and they click to the beats of the rhythm by tapping on the floor. | Source

4. Tap Dancing


Tap dancing can be performed to any type of music which gets your feet tapping to the beats. One can learn this dance with or without a partner.

As a child I remember trying to tap dance with my roller skates. I tried tap dancing as an adult and found it to be a lot of fun. Tap dancing will require muscle strength, stamina, and energy. The entire body is involved in this dance form and you will burn calories.

Are you looking for a cardiac exercise? Tap dancing may be your outlet. Tap dancing develops flexibility, agility, and coordination and increases your strength and endurance.

The tapping sounds are created by the metal taps which are attached to the heel and toe of the shoe. Any shoe can be used, but I also suggest that the shoe has straps or ties to hold them on your feet.

In addition to the shoes a wooden floor is the best dancing platform. Don’t use your hardwood floors as the taps will scratch the wood surface.

This dance can be done as a single, couples, or in a group. There are tap dancing clubs, community gatherings, and dance studios for tap dancing.

In addition to the traditional tap dancing you may wish to also consider clogging country western style, the flamenco, and Irish Stepping.

Break Dancing

Break dancing is a popular street dance in America. It originates from Africa.
Break dancing is a popular street dance in America. It originates from Africa. | Source

5. Dances of African Influences

Break dancing is a popular street dance. When I had visited Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida I had attended the performance given by an African touring troupe. In that performance was a 70 year old man who had performed break dancing using a hubcap as a prop. At this show the emcee announced that this was the tribe which originated the true form of break dancing.

Break dancing is most popular with young men. This dance is extremely physical requiring acrobatic skills. Martial arts dancing can also be included in this category.

Both break dancing and martial arts dancing seemingly have an arrangement of one or a few dancers performing while onlookers watch. Then at different times the onlookers become the dancers and the dancers become the onlookers.

The American black population has many varieties of dance. There are many names but the more familiar are Hip Hop, and the Twist. Their dances reflect their African influences and their individual creative identity. When dancing in groups it reflects the communication of all individuals which think alike. \

Black women are designing their dances based on their African influences and modern America.

All of these dances are based on drum rhythms.

A Beautiful Belly Dancer

A belly dancer performing with Isis Wings.
A belly dancer performing with Isis Wings. | Source

6. Belly Dancing

Belly dancing has been around for thousands of years. It is very difficult to find exactly how this dance originated.

The countries of Turkey, Arabia, and India want to take credit for it. It is primarily a dance which is performed according to the emotions of the dancer.

The dancer may dance to drum rhythms with precise movements or select other instruments in the music and dance their interpretation of that sound with controlled isolated muscle movements. Other instruments include an oud (similar to a guitar) and wind instruments such as the ney flute and the keyboard.

Belly dancing gets its name because of the exposure of the dancer's belly area. In truth, there are more hip movements than belly movements.

Middle Eastern Dancing encompasses the night club dancer as well as the ethnic, and folkloric dances of the Middle East.

Folk Dancing

Folk dancing represents a community's interest of traditional customs.
Folk dancing represents a community's interest of traditional customs. | Source

7. Folk Line Dances

Whenever I have attended international outdoor festivals there are always line dance performances by the Greeks or by Bavarian Dancers.

The line dances may be men only, women only, or a combination of women and men.

The Greek line dances are performed at many social events which they celebrate or special events such as weddings and in their restaurants. Some restaurants offer dance lessons during the week which then allows you to dance with them on weekends.

The Bavarian line dances are also dances for social events. Men tend to do more in this dance form than the women. Men include their hands by slapping on their thighs or heel. The slapping is done to the beats of the music. By tradition the men did the slapping movements to attract young women.

This dance is most often seen by the public in America during the Oktoberfest celebrations.

Popular American folk line dancing would include country western, square dancing, and clogging. These dances have been influenced by Europe, Russia, Germany, and Africa.

Indian Dancer

Source

8. Dances of India

Indian dancing is complex.. The hand movements must be precise. It is my understanding that there are 240 hand movements which the dancer needs to learn. There are many facial gestures. Not only is the dancer mindful of the rhythms but she or he is dancing a story.

Hip movements are included, however, they are difficult to see because the costume hides the hips unless they are wearing pantaloons.

The footwork is crucial in this type of dancing. Each foot must be properly placed during quiet movements and there are small hopping movements. One of the more difficult movements which I tried to learn was hopping from toe to heel then heel to toe. Unfortunately, as a viewer it is very difficult to see the foot movements because of the costuming.

The dances from India can be performed as singles, couples, or in line dancing.

A Flamenco Dancer

Source

9. Flamenco Dancing

Flamenco dancers perform with musicians playing guitars and drums with intense passion of emotions. This dance originates from Spain and is performed as solos or duets. Both male and female hold their bodies upright and proudly. The female tends to back bend more than the male.

The arm positions of the dancers was influenced by the ballet. The footwork is lightning fast and passionate to the rhythms of the music. Hand claps from the dancers and the musicians punctuate and the castanets add their musical beats.

Another dance form which uses a hand rhythm instrument is the belly dancer. This hand held instrument is called zills. (Castanets are made of wood and the zills are made of metal.)

The solos of the flamenco dancer and the belly dancer are improvisational because of their emotional interpretations.

Hawaiian Dancers

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10. Hawaiian Dancing

Hawaii is considered an island paradise which many travelers have discovered.

The hula has been danced for as long as the Hawaiian people have inhabited the islands. The dance is performed by young girls, women and men. The knees are bent to create hip sways to the rhythm and the hands tell a story. There is some footwork.

The hula is taught to children as soon as they are able to walk. They learn the stories and are taught the movements to tell the story.

Hawaiian dancing is a very popular dance form for hobbyists as it is an easy dance to learn. Taking time to learn the Hawaiian words is more of a challenge than the dance.

The skirts were originally made from the tee leaf plant of the islands. Nowadays costumes are made from fabric and other synthetic materials.

It is not uncommon for hobbyists to also include Tahitian dancing. This dance includes much hip movements to drum rhythms.

Dancing on Ice

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11. Dancing with Ice Skates

Dance movements on ice is influenced by modern, jazz, popular, and other favorite types of music.

Television viewing has done much to bring the Olympic ice shows, and other company sponsored ice skating viewing into our living rooms.

Skaters such as Sonja Henie, Peggy Fleming, and Dorothy Hamill have done much to introduce dancing on ice.

Many ice skating rinks offer lessons. If this is your interest you may also consider taking ballet. modern dance, Indian, and belly dancing. These three forms of dance will help with posture, stamina, dance movements, and interpretation which can be transferred to skating on ice.

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    • profile image

      Tricia Deed 

      3 years ago

      You are correct in noticing that I did not include African dancing. I also did not include Brazilian, Martial Arts Dancing, Tahitian, Zomba, Tai, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, and many others. At a later date I will have to include these other forms of dancing. This article talked about those dances which I have noticed to be currently popular in America.

    • profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      3 years ago

      Thank you good fellow. I appreciate your story much. However, I have to say that many of the dances are western and Eastern inn character. Nowhere is African dance ever mentioned.

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