As the longest serving female professional on Strictly Come Dancing, Karen Clifton has been dancing on our screens for over eight years and has won numerous ballroom awards. When she’s not competing on Strictly, Karen stays in the swing by incorporating dance moves into her everyday routines. Here are some top tips from Karen to follow in her footsteps and keep dancing all day!
1. Try your local dance classes
Stepping into your local dance class might seem a tad daunting at first but any good teacher will make you feel at home on the dance floor after a quick spin and a chasse! From street-dance to waltzing, there are all kinds of dance lessons taking place in community centres and gyms across the country where you are sure to find your stride. If you’re trying to get the kids interested in dance, Karen particularly recommends Charleston classes as she found when she was teaching that children responded best to its quirky nature.
“It has so many different moves that mimic animals. It’s like you’re allowed to be funny and silly and it’s very liberating in a way because you can make the [animal] sounds as well which is something that the kids really love.”
Karen also cites the jive and paso doble as some of her most popular dance classes. Whatever type of dance class you pick you can expect your cardio, coordination and flexibility to improve in just a few lessons, not to mention the social benefits of meeting new like-minded people. Give it a whirl!
Find out more about how to get into dance here.
2. Have a clean routine
Does anybody actually like doing the household chores? Well, Karen’s answer to getting them done is to create a dance routine around them which acts as a fun distraction,
“Cleaning the house can be fun when you’re dancing, I really like sweeping and mopping. A mop is a great [dance] partner to have!”
And it can be a useful way to rope the kids into tidying up too.
“I think it’s a lovely idea to put a routine together for [children]. If they’re picking up their clothes they can do a turn to the closet or putting their toys away they can do some dance steps, almost like Mary Poppins would do.”
3. Create a playlist
What better way to spark a spontaneous dance session than a playlist of all your favourite tunes? Here are Karen’s top five in case you need any inspiration:
5. Cosmic Girl – Jamiroquai
4. Formation – Beyoncé
3. Mr. Brightside – The Killers
2. Wannabe – Spice Girls
1. Everybody – Backstreet Boys
Music and dance are great stress relievers so check out BBC Sounds for all kinds of mixes.
4. At home video tutorials
If like Karen, you’re not a member of a gym and find it easier to fit workouts in at home – there are countless online workouts and dance tutorials that you can do in your living room which will take you through a routine at your own pace. Karen thinks that the beauty of online classes is that you can take as many as you like whenever you get the urge – footloose and fancy free.
“If I don’t have time to go out, I love to do my little workouts at home. Sometimes I do 10 minutes, sometimes I do 20 minutes, it depends on how I’m feeling that day. I do a lot of stretching which is really good for circulation and elongating my muscles. Or jumping jacks or jump rope which gets your heart rate up and builds up your sweat. Sometimes it’s nice to have a guided video, and then you can take those ideas and mix and match them to create your own routines”.
If you’re looking to get the kids involved, give Super Movers Just for Fun videos a try – they can help with the fitness and coordination essential for all aspiring dancers!
5. Dance based exercise classes
There are also lots of exercise classes that are based on traditional dance movements. Zumba, for example incorporates elements of merengue, salsa and reggaeton in most classes so you’re learning Latin American dance steps without even realising. Check out your local gym or community centre to see what’s on offer and shake up your routine.
By the time Strictly’s back on – you’ll be a pro!
Super Movers aims to get children moving throughout the day with lots of free, easy-to-use video resources and great football-inspired incentives like a visit from the Premier League Trophy. Brain Booster routines star famous faces and cover key areas of Numeracy and Literacy. They can be used in the classroom or at home to help children feel refreshed and energised whilst learning. The Just for Fun routines help get the whole family active together. Why not have a go?