Dance Your Way to Fitness

They say that sitting is the new smoking. Which means, moving is good for you! There are plenty of options for walking and hiking in the Sonoran Desert, but you can also get up and dance!  

For those of you who want to boogie down, two-step, toe tap, belly dance, tango, and more, there are dozens and dance floors and regular gatherings in Tucson. Here are just a few:

Get your groove on at the very groovy downtown Floor Polish, 408 N 4th Avenue. Not your everyday dance studio, this one comes with a disco ball and flashing colored lights to transport you back to the 70s and 80s. But its class offerings aren’t stuck in the past. Do everything fromBurlesque to bachata, Bollywood to belly dancing. Floor Polish also offers several yoga classes and a long list of creative workout classes, including Ab Fab, a 30-minute core workout; Total Bod, a low-impact, high-intensity workout done on a yoga mat; Strong Butt, a mat-class all about the booty, and the well-known Cardio Party-O, a high energy “dancerbox” combining hip hop, cumbia, disco, Bollywood, and more.

BreakOut Studios, 5811 E. Speedway Blvd., has a reputation for high-energy, professional, and fun classes for dancers of all levels in hip hop, jazz, ballet, tap, and lyrical (contemporary). For fun try out specialized classes like Dancing in Heels, Jazz Funk, and Leaps & Turns. You can also dance your way to fitness here with classes designed to tone and build cardiovascular strength, from Dance Cardio to Musical Theater, where you learn choreography and dance Broadway tunes or movie/TV songs. BreakOut also offers classes in TRX, a form of exercise using suspension and body weight to help you develop strength, flexibility, and balance; and BootCamp, which combines interval training, TRX, cardio and muscular training.

Zuzi! Dance, housed in Tucson’s Scoundrel and Scamp Theater, 738 N 5th Ave, is one of the oldest modern dance companies in town. Known for their high-flying aerial dances, Zuzi offers classes for kids and adults in modern dance and aerial trapeze, along with improvisation and Skinner Release technique, an approach developed by Joan Skinner in the early 1960s that “utilizes image-guided floor work to ease tension and promote an effortless kind of moving, integrated with alignment of the whole self.” Zuzi! also offers a youth summer camp and special workshops throughout the year.  If you want to show off your stuff, there are also opportunities for performing with Zuzi!

Got rhythm? Ritmos Latinos is a University of Arizona organization promoting Latin music and dance to UA students and community members. The group offers workshops and ongoing gatherings to teach primarily Rueda de Casina (Spanish for “casino wheel”), a Cuban form of salsa done in a group.

The sensual and powerful art of belly dancing celebrates a traditional form from the Middle East while also keeping you fit.  Xanadu Belly Dance Studio, 2408 N. Loretta Dr., was founded by the late Kathryn Ferguson in 1973. Carried on in her memory, the studio offers classes that “blend of traditional Mideastern Dance with a dash of Western drama.” Dance forms are influenced and informed by movement traditions of Middle-Eastern North African, Hellenic, and Turkic cultures. Classes include beginning and advanced belly dance, technique, and choreography and are designed to share the form while offering toning, stamina, and joy.

Learn the passion of Argentine tango from two of Tucson’s best tango dancers, Rusty Cline and Joanne Canalli, who’ve been bringing tango instruction and performance to Tucson since 2005. They’ve danced together all over the world, studying with over 100 master teachers. They offer weekly group classes and privates at the Tucson Dance Academy, 2850 W. Ina Road #100. Or join their monthly “Yo Soy La Milonga,” gatherings to dance or watch the form.

If you fall in love with this passionate dance, there’s also the annual Tucson Tango Festival, with workshops, performances, and all things tango!

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Many other local studios offer movement classes and can be found online.

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