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Throw on some tights and point those toes. Ballet as most of us know it is a highly technical dance usually performed to classical music, though many ballet schools are branching out into more modern music. It is one of the most graceful and delicate styles of dance, often choreographed to include miming or acting. Whether you are a bit of a twinkle toes or you just want to try something new, ballet will help you to develop mind and body coordination, train your ear for rhythm and improve your posture. It also teaches self-discipline, so you'll have muscles of steel and an iron will to match.

How does it work?

Ballet has its own vocabulary, beginning with the 'barre', a wooden support attached to the walls of the studio. The barre is used to stay balanced while performing various steps, such as the Plie, Eleve and Rond de Jambe, which stretch the legs and warm them up so that you're ready to dance your tights off.

You don't have to be fluent in French, however, to understand ballet. The five key positions are named First Position, Second Position, Third Position... you get the gist. These are the basics of the dance - the essential steps before any budding Billy Elliot out there can advance to pirouettes and jumps.

Ballet's disciplined positions give you better posture, which is great for your spine as well as your appearance (hurrah!). It also develops your strength and muscles, keeping you fit and trim at the same time. Importantly, it also builds bone density which is an advantage in later life to keep you chassé-ing and arabesque-ing into old age.

Beginner's classes will usually last up to an hour to get you into the swing of things, and most lessons are an hour or 90 minutes thereafter. As a serious beginner, you should aim for two or three classes a week - just make sure you give your body a rest for a day in between. If you are afraid of showing off your lumps and bumps, this may not be for you. Classes are in groups, and the usual dress code is tights and a leotard (sorry guys), with soft ballet slippers to start with. However, being fully grown adults and not six year old girls, many studios will allow for you to cover up with leggings or a t-shirt - but it's best to check beforehand to make sure you have the right kit.

As you advance, you might want to invest in pointe shoes to make you look even more graceful as you stand on the tip of your toes, and professionals will don the infamous tutu. The reality is that the less you wear, the more you can see what you're doing - in a good way. The well-known pink tights are not worn to make you look pretty; they're the best thing for seeing what your muscles are up to, which helps you and the teacher to improve your dancing.

Is it for me?

Ballet is not just one for girls who love pink. Men and women, boys and girls can take part in this toe-pointing, thigh-stretching dance, with beginner's classes for all age groups. Age, unlike the Lycra, is no restriction so long as you are fairly fit with no dodgy backs or ankles. If fitness isn't your forté, it might be an idea to take up another form of exercise to get yourself in shape before starting your classes - you'll thank yourself for it when you're turning and leaping rather than puffing and panting.

For kids, ballet is a great way to teach discipline and control, as well as keeping them fit and healthy with strong bones. For dancers of all ages, the regular exercise is good for all-over muscle tone, flexibility and strength, as well as keeping your heart in good shape. It's also a great stress buster So if you're looking to shape up and trade in your clumsy clogs for a pair of pumps, ballet could be perfect for you.

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Throw on a tutu and breathe a sigh of relief. Ballet yoga fusion combines elements of dance and yoga to bring you a class that will truly benefit your mind, body and soul. This workout aims to improve balance, aerobic fitness and muscle tone so dance on down to your nearest class.

Ballroom Dancing

Loosen those spaghetti arms and straighten up your frame. With Anton Du Beke and Camilla Dallerup becoming household names in ballroom dancing, it has changed the way people view exercise. Hit shows like ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and ‘Dancing with the Stars’ have helped to modernise this classic dance style.

Barre Work

Point those toes. [[treatment/ballet/| Ballet]] barre exercises are a set of movements performed at a handrail, usually as part of the warm up to a ballet class. The routines are intended to prepare the body and enable the dancer to practise steps before applying them to the centre portion of the class. They are slow, precise movements such as bending and raising the body, leg rotations and stretching the legs and torso.

Belly Dancing

Dance your way to a more confident you. Belly dancing offers everybody, no matter your age, shape or fitness level, a fun and stress-free workout to tone up core muscles, strengthen the whole body and improve flexibility.

Bollywood Dancing

Slip on a sari, slap on a bindi and dance up a storm. Bollywood dancing is a stylised dance form based on moves used in the Indian film industry. Energetic and varied, Bollywood dancing is primarily modelled on classical north Indian folk (e.g. Bhangra) and courtesan (tawaif) dance routines. More recently, Indian dance elements have often been blended with Western dance styles and it is not unusual to see pop and traditional moves in the same film.

Modern Dance

Throw away the rule book and get ready to express yourself. Modern dance rejects the structured discipline of ballet, and focuses instead on devising new movements and steps, making it perfect for those who like to rebel against tradition. Great for giving the whole body a thorough workout, this dance also allows you to unleash your creative side, meaning that you get to exercise your imagination as well as your body.

Nalini Method

Get ready to mix it up. The Nalini Method combines elements of Pilates, yoga, ballet, aerobics and resistance training to create a new and dynamic workout that is all about getting results. The Method aims to help people achieve physical well-being and mental focus within a positive and energised setting.


Tone up that wobbly middle. Pilates is a method of exercise designed to strengthen your core. It uses flowing movements and postures to sculpt the body and to get even the smaller and deeper muscle groups rippling.


Hot step your way to fitness. For those that prefer hitting the dance floor to pounding the treadmill, salsa is perfect. Meaning 'sauce' in Spanish, salsa dancing is a fusion of many rhythms and dance forms, with strong Caribbean and Cuban influences. The salsa craze has seen a recent increase, in particular with the single people demographic who see it as a great way to keep fit, meet new people, and have fun. There are even Dance Dating events for salsa enthusiasts to meet like minded people.

Street Dance

Locking, popping and hip-hopping has never been so good for you. Street dance or urban dance is a combination of different dance styles from 70s funk to new skool hip hop. Although it emerged on the streets, studio classes in this style are becoming more and more popular – so even the stuffy and straight-laced can tone up, get fit and learn how to lock and pop like an MTV star.

The Bar Method

Raise the exercise bar. The Bar Method is a body sculpting workout that involves the use of a dance studio bar and conditioning exercises. Invented in 2001 by a journalist and lawyer who both had undergone dance training, advocates say that the intense pace of Bar Method interval training quickly and safely reshapes the body, burns fat and elongates muscles. Leaner and longer looking limbs? Fantastic.