28 May, 2013

Shall we dance?

Shall we dance?

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!”



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, or visit