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Strictly Dancercise FAQs

So what exactly is Strictly Dancercise?

Do I need to bring a partner?

I’ve already learned some Ballroom & Latin Dances – does Strictly Dancercise use exactly the same steps and technique?

What will we learn?

What about the music – is it the same loud pumping music that is used in other exercise classes?

I’m not very fit, will I be able to keep up?

I’m pretty fit already, so will it give me a good workout?

I can’t seem to co-ordinate the ‘armography’ with the steps

I can't make classes every week - will I be able to catch up?

What should I wear?

What about shoes?

Should I bring a drink with me?

Are there any age restrictions?

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We cater for over 16s, but there is no upper age limit.

Yes definitely.  You should work up a sweat and will need to keep yourself hydrated, so bring some water or a sports drink with you.  You’ll probably need a sports towel too.

As Strictly Dancercise is designed to increase your fitness, albeit through dancing, you should wear gym gear – ie joggies or leggings or shorts and T-shirt.  And don’t forget something warm like a hoodie to put on afterwards.

Very few people are able to do all the steps and all the ‘armography’ perfectly, but the emphasis in classes is to have fun and get fit almost without realising it.  It doesn’t matter if you go wrong – you certainly won’t be alone – and you’ll probably find some dances easier than others (just like the celebs on Strictly Come Dancing).  Come along whenever you can, and don’t worry about whether you can do all the dances perfectly – nobody’s there to judge your performance - just enjoy!

Most people find it difficult to use their arms fully to begin with, but as you get more familiar with the steps, you’ll find you’re able to concentrate more on adding the ‘armography’.  And as you gain confidence with your arms, you’ll then start to be able to fully extend and stretch them, gaining the maximum benefit from your workout (great for ‘bingo wings’!!!)

While the Instructor will usually be showing the medium impact steps for the majority of the class, high impact versions will involve larger movements, more bounce, higher kicks and jumps etc.  If you’d like any advice about giving yourself a tougher workout, speak to your Instructor.

Every step of each dance has a low impact, medium impact and high impact version, which are all interchangeable.  So if you’re new to, or returning to exercise, you can start off with the low impact versions until you build your stamina.  Your Instructor will usually be showing the medium impact version for the majority of the class, but will tell you the low impact alternative for the more energetic steps!  Strictly Dancercise is such good fun that you don’t even notice that you’re getting fitter, but you’ll suddenly find yourself able to put more effort in, and get more out of it.

We use a general track for the warmup, but for the individual dance styles, each has its own rhythm, tempo and character.  We only use music that could be used to dance these dances with a partner in ‘ballroom mode’.  So you get a good variety of music from dreamy waltzes to a bit of Elvis, some of the latest hits, some classics and some golden oldies.  And a fab rumba for the cooldown.

We start off with a general warmup number including steps from lots of different dances, and follow that by the individual dance styles, then a cooldown to finish.  Current Strictly Dancercise dance routines include Waltz, Quickstep/Charleston, Jive, Cha Cha, Rumba, Paso Doble, Samba, Tango, American Smooth, Salsa & Viennese Waltz, plus a few ‘fusion’ numbers.

With partnered Ballroom & Latin dances, usually the ladies will start dancing on, say, the left foot and gents on, say, the right foot.  To ensure you get a balanced workout on both sides of your body, some steps have been ‘fitified’ so you will often repeat your steps on the other foot.  For instance our ‘Basic 10’ steps in Quickstep start with the mens steps on the right foot and are followed by the ladies steps on the left foot, whereas in the Waltz we mainly use forward steps which are more often used by the gents in partnered ballroom dancing.  And some of the Latin steps have also been slightly adapted to work both left and right muscles. However, we use the same Ballroom & Latin timing and technique, such as rise & fall, sway, Latin hip movement, and arm positions.  And if you decide to go to Ballroom & Latin lessons once you have done some Strictly Dancercise classes, you will have a huge headstart as you’ll already know lots of the steps.

No - Strictly Dancercise is danced as a solo dance, so just bring your friends - and a BIG smile!

Strictly Dancercise is a great way to dance yourself to fitness using steps from all the Ballroom & Latin dances that you see on Strictly Come Dancing.  Real Ballroom & Latin dancing to real dance music, with real dance technique and style, but without the need for a partner.  It’s suitable for men and ladies, all levels of fitness, and any age from 16 upwards.  And to help you get going, you can just copy your Instructor who will be dancing in ’mirror image’ at the front of the class. It’s fitness by stealth!

You should wear lightweight trainers or ‘dance sneakers’ for this sort of exercise.  ‘Dance sneakers’ or trainers with a spin spot are ideal, whereas ballroom shoes or ‘dance heels/practice heels’ are definitely not suitable.  If you are staying on afterwards for an American Jive class, then please bring a change of shoes with you as conversely, trainers are definitely not suitable for American Jive where you need to be able to spin.