The best part about dancing for fitness is that it doesn't feel like a workout. Yet, it is one. It’s fun. It’s easy (well, the easy stuff is). Done in a group, it can feel like a party. Just 45 minutes of this, and you have got yourself a cardiovascular workout, complete with stretches, lunges, flexibility and weight training.
Working out to music can also be therapeutic, calming your body and soothing your mind. This is all-important for a city full of busy people rushing from place to place, dealing with the stresses of urban living, heightened competition, endless traffic jams and crumbling infrastructure.
When you spend all day worrying and working, rushing and struggling, it becomes important to take a little time out to acknowledge your body.
Dance is a form of physical therapy that can do just that. It is also important for children, who nowadays go from air-conditioned schools to after-school classes and then home to their computers, TV and video games.
With dance, you have instead a creative form of expression that connects your body and your mind. And the best way to a healthy body, after all, is through a healthy mind.
These aspects are true of almost any form of dance, be it ballet, Kathak, hip-hop, salsa or Bollywood jazz.
As you dance, your body starts responding, your health indicators start improving and your stamina keeps increasing. You find that you are breathing better, tackling pressure better, understanding the language of your body. Dance also improves coordination, concentration and posture. For hesitant people, it improves confidence; for busy executives, it reinforces the importance of working as a team.
Dance teaches discipline, and yet is also a good way to combine a fitness regimen and socialising. Make it part of your weekly schedule and you will find that you have new friends, more of a social life — that you are actually making time for fun.
Soon, you will find that you look forward not just to the dancing and the enjoyment that it brings but also to the way it makes you feel — alive, beautiful, strong.
And then you realise that feeling. It's happiness.
(The author is a performer, choreographer and founder director of Shiamak Davar's Institute for Performing Arts)