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FitPro chats to founder and creative director of Fit4Tap, Sue Allen Hudson, about the fusion of dance and fitness and how it’s evolved to take its place in the fitness industry.

FitPro: Why should fit pros train as dance fitness instructors?

Sue: There are a lot of alternative programmes now being offered and instructors are always looking for the next new programme they can bring to their classes. The dance fitness platform is ever-growing and evolving and you would now expect fitness/leisure centres to have just as many dance fitness programmes on their timetables alongside all the fitness, circuit, HIIT, weights and toning classes they have always had on offer. If you have a passion for dance and fitness and want to share your love of dance with your local community, then an alternative dance fitness programme is definitely worth looking into.

As there is a skill involved, there are of course prerequisites that a dance instructor or dance teacher would need in order to do the training. You would need to be skilled or experienced at your chosen genre of dance fitness programme. Look out for a training that is recognised and endorsed by a national governing board for group exercise. Dance fitness events are definitely worth attending to see and experience all the new programmes out there, and a great place to actually meet the founder/event instructor.

FitPro: Sue, how has dance fitness brought the world of dance and fitness together?

Sue: We have achieved this by creating a non-intimidating, friendly environment and offering alternative fun dance fitness programmes that encourage beginners to try something new, where they can benefit from a workout and learn a new dance skill at the same time. We guarantee a head-to-toe exercise workout that combines all the benefits in one class, therefore bringing the worlds of dance and fitness together. Dance fitness instructors and dance school teachers are adding dance-based sessions to their timetables to offer current clientele something new and to attract new clientele who would like to learn to dance while receiving a dance fitness workout.

FitPro: What are the health benefits of dance fitness?

Sue: By choreographing routines that incorporate a specific dance style, you can actually teach the basics of a dance skill in a class without compromising on the fitness workout. Tap dance is not only fun to learn and enjoyable to dance, but there are so many health benefits too! Learning the skill of tap dance combined with a cardio dance fitness workout increases cardiovascular conditioning, strength, flexibility and co-ordination. Tap dancing especially builds strength in the feet and legs in addition to increasing flexibility in the ankles, knees and hips. Cognitive abilities are also enhanced as mental and muscle memory becomes proficient.

Incorporating tap step combinations and choreography develops co-ordination and a great sense of rhythm and timing. The skill of tap dance teaches you how to balance through the shifting and transferring of weight from the heels to the balls of the feet and many of the steps involve keeping your bodyweight over your feet, which means using your deep postural muscles. This in turn provides core strengthening, tones, builds posture and enhances balance. Tap dancing also imparts bone-building benefits by using bodyweight through accented tap steps and repetition. Finally, tap dance is good for overall long-term health, including social capabilities, and you don’t need a partner!

Where tap dance alone can lack strengthening for arms, shoulder girdle and upper body, our cardio dance fitness fusion works those areas with a dance and fitness arm choreography to complete and balance the workout. Unlike a traditional tap dance class, Fit4Tap keeps the heart rate pumping through an hour of constant music and workout, with few breaks in between, burning up to 500 calories per class. Using the main lower- and upper-body muscles also helps to sculpt, tone and add flexibility. Together with the cognitive benefits of learning to tap dance, this really puts co-ordination to the test, giving an all-round physical and mental workout.

FitPro: What dance skills can be learned through dance-based fitness? 

Sue: Fit4Tap features the skill of tap dance, but there are other great programmes out there such as ballet, street/hip-hop, Latin American and ballroom, and national world dance, which also successfully teach a dance skill or style that combines a fitness workout.

I always encourage others to step out and try something new. Don’t save it for your ‘bucket list’. Life is too short and what can you lose? You can only gain!

FitPro: Tell us about the inspiration behind your concept.

Sue: I’m a trained dancer with over 35 years’ work experience in both teaching and performing. After stepping onto the fitness platform in 2012 and offering dance fitness programmes to my local area of Surrey, I had the idea of fusing my love of tap dance with a fitness workout and so, in 2015, Fit4Tap Tap Dance Fitness was founded. In 2018, our instructor workout training programme was endorsed, enabling instructors to teach the skill of tap dance alongside a cardio fitness workout, giving the instructors a chance to share their love of dance to their class through tap and therefore receiving more out of the class themselves. There is nothing more uplifting for an instructor than when they see their class grow in confidence and they are able to perform a chosen dance skill.

FitPro: What is the future for dance fitness? 

Sue: These programmes are evolving all the time and I see much more varied career opportunities and options for dance instructors and dance teachers. As I have personally been both a dance teacher and dance instructor, I’m excited that both worlds can actually come together and benefit from each other!

Did you know our insurance covers dance-based fitness sessions too? Check it out now.

A little more about Sue…

Headhsot of Sue Allen-HudsonSue Allen Hudson is the founder and creator of Fit4Tap, the fun ‘n’ funky tap dance fitness fusion, a great alternative tap dance fitness class aimed at beginner or refresher tappers who want to learn to tap with the added flavour of a cardio dance fitness workout. The Fit4Tap programme brings dance, fitness and a specialised dance skill together through rhythm and beat. This unique Fit4Tap format incorporates tap and dance fitness choreography breakdown that work towards set routines, instilling confidence which helps to improve both mental and physical fitness. This instructor-led, fun ‘n’ funky, non-intimidating tap dance fitness class will have your feet tapping to a new beat! “Don’t just work it … Dig it!”

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