Dance Workouts That Will Transform Your Fitness Perspective

dance workout video

Transform Your Personal Dance Party into a Workout!


How do you turn a dance move into an exercise and make it a workout? The answer is simple. Learn to let go, love what you are doing and keep repeating it. It’s kind of the same reason so many people love to go out to a club and dance the night away—you get a great workout while doing the same 4 or 5 moves over and over to a DJ with a never ending playlist. Aren’t your best workouts the ones that you forgot you were working out and just got lost in the fun of it? At the end of a good workout you should be happy and proud of yourself, looking forward to the next one. This is probably why dancers are always so upbeat and full of life. Who wouldn’t want to burn calories, stay mentally and physically fit by dancing to rhythmic drumbeats or uplifting vocals? Dancing for your workout is so much more than just fitness, it’s a new perspective, a fresh breath and many times it can change your life.


What Inspires You?

In all my years of teaching dance there have been a couple of styles that always stand out for me. Hands down, a good all-out Hip Hop class will put your entire body through an experience of heart racing, sweat dripping, legs-about-to-explode workout you will be feeling for days later. Now if you are a little shy and don’t really want everyone to see your super dope dance moves, there are plenty of Hip Hop classes on video you can do in the privacy of your own home.


Another style that is dear to my heart is Belly Dancing. Cardio, core control and learning how to move your upper body while your lower body does something completely different are the main focus. Most of you can get a very similar workout from Zumba. What I truly love about Belly Dancing is the sustained motion you learn to do. You can stay on one move for up to 5 to 6 minutes before moving on. There is really no down time, it’s like being at Carnival – dance, dance, dance, sweat, sweat, sweat and by the end of an hour you have this euphoric feeling that has taken over your entire body.

Then we have the styles of dance that require super control, crazy core strength and loads of technique. Ballet, Lyrical, Modern and Pole Dancing all have a common ground, they teach you how to make your body defy gravity and what I call “Dancing Calisthenics”. With Calisthenics, the stronger you are the more amazing the moves you can perform. Just take Pole Dance for instance…the amount of upper body, core and hand strength you must develop in order to do any trick or inversion is insane! Then add the must-have-flexibility factor in the mix and you’re pretty much doing super-human moves.


Let’s Get Moving!

With all of this talk of dancing for a workout let’s get down to business. Here are three dance moves that I and thousands of other dancers use. I have put them in an order that will start you with a good heart-racing warm up, then a controlled total body movement and end with something that keeps the legs going. I have made a little play list of songs to go with each move, we will put them in repetition form to get stronger and make it a workout. The music is purely a suggestion, use whatever gets you going and makes sense to the movement. Here we go…


Belly Dance Quivers (aka little feet, aka football runs)

If you have a belly dance skirt this is a good time to use it.

Music: Arabian Percussion (Drum in Drum Out) Gamal Goma

This move is very cardio based and because of that you don’t realize how strong your legs have to be to last the full 4:39 min.


  • Stand with feet hip width apart and soft bend of knees.
  • Lift heels in a soft relevé (heels slightly lifted of the ground).
  • Without bouncing up and down, try keeping your head at the same level, start moving your legs and feet in “running in place” motion.
  • The balls of your feet should be quickly tapping the ground.
  • Upper body is tall and straight, abs are in.
  • Arms can be down or out to the side.
  • After 1 min. add little hip circles with the reverse.
  • Then add hips side to side.
  • Then add hips front to back.
  • At the last minute go all out and put it all together!


Tips: Don’t forget to breathe. Start slow, this is a lot harder than you think and your heart can get racing very quickly. So be mindful of your body. If you need to stop and take a break, keep walking don’t just stop.


Second Positon Grand Plié (with side bends, front hinge and relevé’s)

Music: World Lounge World Music (Brazilian Adventure) Black Orchestra.


  • Stand in second position (legs open out to the side a little bit wider than hip width).
  • Turn your feet out (only as wide as your hips will allow).
  • Bend your knees into a grand plie (or as low as your body can handle with good form).
  • Knees should not bend beyond 90 degrees.
  • Side-bend to the right with your arms up over head.
  • Come back to center with legs straight.
  • Plié (bend knees) and hinge forward with arms in second (out to the side).
  • Come back to center with legs straight.
  • Plié (bend knees) and side bend left with arms over head.
  • Come back to center with legs straight.
  • Reverse
  • After you have done the reverse, do it all again with your right foot in relevé (reverse).
  • Then with your left foot in relevé (reverse).
  • And then with both feet in relevé (reverse).


Tips: Because this move takes a lot of balance… go slow. Your legs and ankles need to build up strength to go faster.

Crazy Legs (moving side to side, front and back, big circle)

Music: Luau songs of Hawaii (Bora Bora, Tahitian Drums) The Polynesians


  • Stand with legs hip width and a soft bend of the knees.
  • Putting your body weight on your left foot, lift your right foot and move your right leg open like opening a door.
  • As your right leg closes your body weight moves to the right foot and now your left foot comes up as the left leg opens.
  • Keep repeating the same movement. It literally resembles a Hawaiian dancer.
  • Now take this movement and travel right for 8 steps.
  • Then left for 8 steps.
  • Then front for 8 steps.
  • Then back for 8 steps.
  • For the last, take the movement and make a big circle and reverse.
  • Keep repeating until your song is over.
  • Arms can either be down or out to the side.


Tips: Have fun! Move your legs low or high, add some body rolls, arm circles or chest pops. This one will make you sweat!


And this is how I leave you—with a smile on your face, a glow to your skin and an infectious feeling of wanting more, I hope you enjoy these dance moves as much as I do.


Until next time…

Melissa Muñiz

Melissa L. Muniz is a certified Pilates Instructor, Dance teacher, Choreographer, Actor, Model and full time Mom! She has spent over a decade traveling the world studying traditional dance such as Flamenco in Spain and cultural dance in Indonesia to name but a few. She has toured with Nickelodeon as a dance performer and actor and starred in several music videos and movies. Melissa had the opportunity to train teachers for the opening of the first Pilates Studio in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and has been working with Total Gym as a Gravity Master Trainer since 2002. She has loved the inspiration and support that Total Gym gives and lives by. Melissa now resides with her family in Atlanta GA, teaching at a Wellness Center where she infuses life, happiness and understanding of the body, to those with an open heart and mind.

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