Hot dancers make a strong argument for New York dance classes as a means to shed pounds and get in shape. Melissa Toogood, a freelance dancer who trained with Merce Cunningham Dance Company, teaches beginners in addition to practicing dance herself.
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How does dancing keep you fit?
You really have access to your body and your physicality, and [it also gives you] a better understanding of movement, because we move throughout our daily lives. [It means] being fit in a way that you feel healthy in your bones and your muscles and your joints. Plus, there’s often a mirror in class, so you have another way of getting feedback about your body and your alignment.
What’s an easy dance move people can incorporate into their workouts?
I do a lot of relevés, which means rising from the toes, to strengthen my legs—not only
by themselves, but with a tennis ball or something between my feet. [The ball] lets
you focus on not just your calves, but using the whole body to take you up and down. It also helps align your legs all the way up to your pelvis, instead of just popping your feet repeatedly.