Comrades on Trail

Shall we dance?

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The life
of professional dancer and instructor Nadia Katz revolves around long days in
the studio, either giving classes or rehearsing for upcoming shows and events,
and she says nothing beats a good run after a hard day’s dancing. “When dancing,
your mind is always busy, you are concentrating on getting the routine right,
so sometimes I like to run for the purpose of clearing my mind and to mull over
the days events. It’s also a great way to remain healthy and lean, and most of
the dancers in my company use running as their cross-training.”

 

In turn,
Nadia also believes that more runners should take up dancing as a fitness
activity. “Since I run, do crossfit and dance, I know what the different forms
of exercise do for your body. I would suggest dancing as a brilliant method of
cross-training for runners, because in conjunction they work well together. Dancing
works and tones the muscles, and elevates your heart rate and brings it down
again rapidly, which enhances your running fitness.

 

She adds
that dancing makes a great break from your normal running routine. “Dancing
also exercises your mind and concentration levels, whereas some runners tend to
get a bit bored with only running day in and day out. I think that runners do
such an intense form of exercise, where you are constantly aware of how hard
you are working, so to cross-train using dance is a fantastic change of scenery
for the mind and body, as with dance you often don’t realise how much exercise
you are doing until the sore muscles appear the following day!”

 

TONE IT UP

Having
danced since the age of eight and tried so many different dance styles through
the years, including ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, Latin and ballroom, Nadia knows
a thing or two about getting a good workout on the dance floor. She recommends
that runners who would like to use their cross-training sessions to tone up
more than gain cardio fitness should take on some contemporary dance or pole
dancing.

 

“These
forms of dance for strength training create long, lean, strong muscles. Contemporary
dancing includes some ballet and new era modern dancing. I put this dance form
in the category of strength training because ballet itself is a lot of work and
some dance routines include lifts. For those who want to strengthen the legs
and especially calf muscles, Latin dancing and Ballroom keep you on your toes
exercising multiple muscles in the legs. This is also a great way for couples
to cross-train together.”

 

“In pole
dancing, you are carrying your own body weight a lot of the time, especially
when you get to the more advanced stages. For the beginners, pole dancing
focuses on the core muscles, whereas the advanced levels place a lot of
emphasis on muscle groups in the lower part of the body as well as in the arms.
It is a very controlled dance movement.”

 

For those
runners looking to work on their cardio fitness, Nadia suggests Zumba. “It most
certainly ups your cardio levels and you get a good sweat out of these
sessions. It is also a dance form that any beginner can get into. In an
activity like running, you don’t necessarily use your core as much, but in
Zumba you work the core muscles extensively, creating a lean mid section. Another
great benefit that dancing gives you that other forms of cross-training don’t
is that it helps improve your balance – not many exercise forms do this for me.
So go ahead and book that dance class!”

Nadia is
the owner of the Katz School of Dance in Sandton, Johannesburg and runs the
Corporate Dance Company SA. She has featured in music videos for the
Parlotones, Lloyed Cele and Mandoza, amongst others, and her dance company performs
at corporate events, functions and parties. For more info, contact Nadia on
082 572 0563 or nadia@katzproductions.co.za, or visit www.katzproductions.co.za.

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