Dancing is a very popular form of exercise, and there are all ways to dance. Older people love to dance, and it’s also popular with youngsters too. Dancing is not just good for heart health and bone strength, but one of the best ways to improve posture, which can help to prevent back pain.
But many dance shoes are made from leather or suede, and the dance wear itself can sometimes be not very eco-friendly (polyester, sequins, glitter etc). Here are some better brands of dance wear and shoes, with some fun facts on how animal friends dance, to communicate and show off!
Types of Dance
- Ballet is the most traditional dance, although it’s quite intensive to learn, especially if you end up going professional. It’s good for posture though, if you’ve ever seen older women who did ballet.
- Modern Jive is like the old swing dances from the 40s, and one of the most popular styles of dance. It’s really easy to learn too.
- Ballroom dancing is quite difficult to learn long-term, but easy first dances are not. It’s popular with all ages, and again good for posture. You obviously need to dance with a partner, for this one.
- Line dancing is very popular with older people as it’s fun and easy to learn. It’s not really intensive exercise, but a great way to get moving, if you’re not very fit and you like country music.
- Irish dancing is now huge thanks to the success of Riverdance. The women usually do gentler ballet-type moves, and the men get to do all the fun stomping-stuff! In Scotland, you can learn to dance in a kilt over crossed swords, with your hands in the air!
- Tap dancing takes a bit of skill, but once there, you’ll love this as it’s great fun and usually accompanied with smashing music from the 40s. You’ll need special shoes (see below) to do this.
- Belly dancing is very good for fitness and if you’re trained well, is a fun way to keep fit. You could even end up as an extra in a Bollywood movie.
- Jazz dance is a great form of getting fit, and kind of combines a bit of tap and ballroom, with creative dance.
- Wheelchair dancing is also now just as popular. The classes are for everyone (so people with or without wheelchairs often dance together), and you can find a class near you by visiting Para Dance UK.
- Salsa has great music, and is a fun and quite intensive form of dancing, which is pretty easy to learn. Zumba is another style of Latin dance, which is often used at local community exercise classes.
- Flamenco is quite difficult to learn, and usually accompanies a Spanish flamenco guitar and lots of foot-stomping and hand-clapping!
- Street Dance is the ‘cool dancing’ that’s popular with youngsters, usually offering hip-hop music and breakdancing moves.
- Contemporary dance is ‘anything goes’, and good if you’re a creative person with acting ambitions.
Sustainable & Vegan Dance Wear
You can buy organic hoodies and t-shirts to wear for dance class. Although there are many companies offering dancwear made from recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles, note that these then deposit microplastics in the washing machine. It’s better to simply go for dance wear made from biodegradable materials like cotton and hemp – choose secondhand, if wished.
Cloud and Victory is not a local company, but it’s one of the world’s first to offer organic leotards, rehearsal skirts and ballet tutus. What’s great is that the models used are not all anorexic, but women and girls of all sizes, to encourage everyone to dance and enjoy it to get fit, not skinny.
Where to Find Vegan Dance Shoes
The main issue with dancing is that most shoes are leather. If you don’t want animals to suffer just to tap your feet or point your toes, you can buy good quality dancing shoes from:
- Ethical Wares (Wales) is a lovely vegan shoe shop that sells a wide range of dancing shoes for men and women. From traditional jazz shoes to ballroom dancing sandals, you can also find a brush to keep the ‘vegan suede’ in tip=top condition. These shoes are all made from quality materials, and either locally or in Europe with fair working practices. Profits help to support a menagerie of rescued farm animals.
- Basilica sells pink vegan ballet slippers for adults and children. These have pink lace effect with a split sole style and canvas shoe. The cross-over elastic and traditional drawstring ensures a perfect fit. Made with a Microfiber outer sole.
- So Danca ballet shoe is now in a vegan version, with a micro-suede sole that is easy to slip on yet secure, and the split sole feature an elasticated binding. Super lightweight to fit to the contours of the foot.
- Nicole Dancwear has a fine line of vegan shoes, and can make any of their other shoes in vegan versions, at no extra cost. This is where you’ll find all the heeled ballroom dancing shoes, including for children.
How Animals Dance to Communicate
Many animals use dance to communicate, and often to attract a mate. From spiders to many birds. Humans too. Recently, a local man ‘danced his way from London to Norwich’, echoing the journey that William Shakespeare’s clown undertook back in 1600.
The Blue-Footed Booby is a tropical bird with blue feet, who shows his feet to a potential mate with a dance. Whoever has the most-blue feet gets the girl!
Swing, Brother, Swing
One of the most popular dance styles is Swing, often because it harks back to the day when people were happy with life. This band Blue Harlem is great. Homegrown too. If you think you recognise the singer Sophie Shaw, that’s because she’s the daughter of Martin Shaw (actor in Judge John Deed, Inspector George Gently).