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Dancing as a Hobby - Ten Popular Dance Styles

Updated on January 18, 2017
Tricia Deed profile image

Tricia Deed favors swimming as her top hobby activity. She has also performed synchronized swimming and being a lifeguard.

Social Dancing


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.

Real 1950s Rock & Roll, Rockabilly Dance From Lindy Hop!

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 as well as night clubs. 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 45rpm 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 Hall of Fame lists these artists:

  1. Buddy Holly
  2. Chuck Berry
  3. Elvis Presley
  4. Fats Domino
  5. James Brown
  6. Jerry Lee Lewis
  7. Little Richard
  8. Ray Charles
  9. Sam Cook
  10. The Everly Brothers
  11. Robert Johnson
  12. Aretha Franklin
  13. Tina Turner

The Ballerina

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


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

Block Party Celebration

Couples dancing at their local block party.
Couples dancing at their local block party. | Source

Social Dancing

Social dancing requires a partner or many partners. Ballroom dancing is social dancing which requires formal training. Dances which require many partners would include circle and line dancing.


  1. Country western dancing is performed to country western music. This music affords informal dancing for couples and groups. Groups of dancers move their feet to line dancing, and traditional or modern square dancing. The dancers wear western clothing and cowboy hats and boots. The country western music and dance originated from the peoples who came to America from Britain, France, Scotland, and Ireland.
  2. Folk dancing or Cultural dancing is dancing to a country's tradition. There is no formal training. The children learn from the adults and dance movements are handed down from one generation to the next. This dance form is for people participating at cultural festivals. Folk dancing is not for public display, however, because Americans are curious some of these dances are performed in public exhibitions.
  3. Street dancing or a block party events invite a variety of dance forms. Many different bands are hired and are separated by a street or two in order for the sound of one band to not interfere with the sound of another band. The community's interests and age groups will dictate the entertainment.

Tap vs Irish Dance

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.

Theater Dance Performance

Asian performer demonstrating her skills as a dancer.
Asian performer demonstrating her skills as a dancer. | Source

Exhibition or Performing Artist

A very popular street dance is known as Break Dancing. 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.

Theater dancing can be done as a hobby. This type of performance may be in a closed theater or in an outdoor stage setting. Performing for the public is the next level of dance which has required hours of practicing towards a perfected choreography for public presentation.

There are many outlets for hobby amateurs to perform if they wish to embark into the public arena.

Do you like the more exotic types of dancing?

Ethnic or Cultural Dancing

Belly dancing, African dancing, line dances of the Greek culture, Lebanese, Israel, Philippines, India, Hawaiian, Tahitian, and more have become popular in America which is known for its melting pot of many nationalities.

A Beautiful Belly Dancer

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

Belly Dancing As A Hobby

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. The other instruments may be a string instrument, like the oud, or a wind instrument; the flute.

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 tribal dances of the Middle Eastern tribes.

Folk Dancing

Folk dancing represents a community's native interest.
Folk dancing represents a community's native interest. | Source

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.

One is tempted to join in and dance with them, however, wait to be invited because there are strict arrangements in their dance form or lineup which are not to be interrupted.

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.

Indian Dancer


Dances of India

Indian dancing is much more complex then it appears from the audience. 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


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


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.

It appears that 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


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.

Dancing with ice skates is very popular. Many ice skating rinks offer lessons. If this is your interest you may also consider taking ballet. modern dance, 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.

Dancing on Ice 2014 R3 - Ray Quinn


Do you have an interest in dancing as a hobby?

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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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