“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” - Martha Graham

Unlike what some may think, dancing is for all ages. We’re not saying that you’ll be able to go pro, but that’s not the goal. Anyone can learn to dance if they want to.

Dancing comes with benefits for your wellbeing, self-confidence, and mental health. Of course, not every type of dancing is advised, especially if you have certain health conditions.

Here are the types of dancing that anyone of any age can do with the right adaptation.

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Solo Dancing for Older People

Solo dancing is easier to adapt to those over 50 and the most obvious one is contemporary dance. Contemporary dance, for example, became popular in the USA and Europe after the Second World War. It prioritises freedom of expression while integrating ideas of theatre, literature, and cinema. This is why it’s a great type of dancing for older people. It allows you to express yourself through dance.

Which are the best kinds of solo dances for older people?
You need to adapt the moves and style to your level and overall fitness. (Source: rlbachma)

Of course, contemporary dance covers a broad range of styles. Some teachers may be more traditionalist and include moves that wouldn’t feel out of place in a ballet routine. Others might afford you more freedom in terms of your movements.

In addition to contemporary dance, there are other styles you can practise on your own:

  • Oriental Dance
  • African Dance
  • Dancehall
  • Cabaret
  • Modern Jazz
  • Ballet
  • Flamenco
  • Indian Dance
  • Tap
  • Tziagane

Not every type of dance will be recommended more those with inner ear issues, especially those that require a lot of balance or head movements. Others aren’t recommended for those with knee, hip, or ankle problems, either. In any case, you can talk to your teacher or instructor to help you find the types of dancing that would be best for you.

The advantage of dancing is that you can find fusions and blends of various styles like contemporary African, Eastern jazz, or hip hop.

There are also types of dancing devised with seniors in mind:

  • Slow yoga to strengthen joints and muscles while also relaxing.
  • Seated dancing for those with reduced mobility.

After all, one of the best ways to look after your health, especially for older adults, senior citizens, and the elderly, is through movement. Any activity that gets you moving your body can build up strength in your muscles, improve the health of your heart and work on your balance.

Find out more about dancing when you're older

Styles of Dancing for Couples

Ballroom dancing is probably the first style of dance a lot of think of when it comes to older people. After all, there are a lot of classes out there for seniors looking to pick up ballroom dancing.

Which are the best partner dances for older people?
Dancing with a partner is also a way to stay social in later life. (Source: fsHH)

Similarly, there are a lot of different styles that can be done in couples. You can sign up for ballroom dancing lessons and learn about Viennese Waltz, tango, quickstep, etc. These are all great for working on your memory.

Waltzes are usually 3-beat rhythms, but there are exceptions. It can be physically demanding and require a lot of concentration to get right.

Tango is a very social style of dance that originated in Latin American and Argentina, in particular. You can also learn the tango outside of South America, though. Both the lead dancer and their partner need to be focused and skilled.

Ballroom dancing can also include the foxtrot and the quickstep. Again, these styles can take a lot of practice to get right.

The quickstep, as the name suggests, is rather fast. It developed from the foxtrot and the Charleston. The foxtrot includes slow, fluid, continuous movements on the dancefloor.

West Coast Swing probably won’t be offered in traditional ballroom dance classes. This is a style that evolved from the Lindy Hop. While the movements are gentler than those of the Lindy Hop, it still lends itself to a lot of improvisation and fun. There are moves from swing dancing and is often danced to a 6- or 8-beat rhythm.

The Lindy Hop arguably inspired rock and roll dancing. It’s quite similar to swing and boogie-woogie dancing with quite a bit of jumping involved.

Couples dance classes are particularly good for older adults, senior citizens, and the elderly as they can encourage them to work on their fitness while also socialising with the other participants and being more active in their local community.

Find out why you should keep dancing as you get older

Latin Dancing for Older Couples

For this article, we’ve divided the styles into ballroom dances and Latin dances, but there’s no reason you couldn’t learn a bit of cha-cha-cha, paso doble, rumba, or samba is a more general dance class, too.

Which are the best Latin dances for older people?
Latin dances are usually lively and complex, but that doesn't mean that older people can't do them. (Source: Bernard-Verougstraete)

While these types of dancing are usually more physical and intense, if you have a decent level of fitness, there's no reason that older adults, senior citizens, and the elderly can't participate and further improve their fitness.

Find out where older people can go dancing

Simple Dances for Beginners

The paso doble is an excellent place to start. For beginners, these are some nice basic steps to get started with. This Spanish style of dancing isn’t without its difficulties, though.

The cha-cha-cha is a Cuban style of dance and is sometimes simply referred to as cha-cha. It’s quite simple to learn but the basic steps are probably more complicated than those of rumba, mambo, or salsa.

Rumba is another Cuban style of dance, but it’s a bit more sensual than cha-cha. It’s a slower style of dance that includes a lot of close hip movements.

Salsa also has Cuban roots, but there are Purto Rican and Colombian variants. The music is quite high-tempo and might leave you short of breath.

Complex Latin Dances

Your dance school may also offer samba lessons. This Brazilian style of dance shares its name with the music. It’s an important part of Brazilian culture and can be found all over the country and in Rio de Janeiro in particular.

Can older people do complex dance routines?
As long as the moves aren't physically dangerous, there's no reason that older dancers can't learn and perform complex routines. (Source: sgrunden)

There are complicated steps and intense movements to contend with. You’ll learn steps like Botafogo. Perhaps your dance teacher will teach you the Samba de Gafeira. In any case, you’ll be moving around quite vigorously.

There’s also rock ‘n’ roll, rock, and jive dancing. These types of dancing are also done to 6 or 8 beats. These are dynamic styles that require a lot of dexterity, especially in your legs.

Find out where older people can get dance lessons

Line Dancing for Seniors

Line dancing is very popular in the United States, especially amongst older participants. It’s a collective style of dance, but the dancers are not in physical contact with one another.

There are different routines and moves to learn. You can find classes for various levels. Similarly, there are also country styles of dance where you can dance with a partner. Country can be done in dance halls and even danced to more modern music. This is sometimes called new line.

As you’ll have understood, as long as the style of dance is adapted to participants, anyone can do any kind of dancing. If you have any doubts, it’s always a good idea to ask your teacher or your doctor.

So which style of dancing would you like to try?

If you're interested in learning to dance or getting dance lessons, consider looking for a private dance tutor on the Superprof website. There are tutors for all ages, levels, and budgets, so start looking today and find the perfect dance teacher for you.

There are different types of lessons offered and since each comes with a series of pros and cons, you'll want to think carefully about which is right for you, your level, your physical fitness, and your budget.

Face-to-face tutoring can be very effective as you have a dedicated teacher focusing completely on you and what you want to learn. They can tailor every session to you and what you want to learn. However, the extra time they spend planning outside of the lessons results in their tutorials being more costly. However, these are arguably the most cost-effective types of lessons out there.

Group tutorials are an excellent option for those on a tight budget or looking to meet other people. By sharing the cost of the tutor's time and expertise with a group of other students, you'll end up paying less per student per hour than you would with a one-on-one tutor. While lessons won't be fully tailored to you, you do have the benefit that the lessons are perfect for learning couples dances or group dances.

If you can't find any suitable or available private tutors in your local area, you can also broaden your search to include online private tutors. As long as you have a decent internet connection and a webcam, you can learn to dance from tutors all over the world. While we wouldn't recommend this for those with certain health conditions or a risk of falling, you can be taught more about dancing from an online tutor quite safely as long as you're supervised when you do try out your new moves.

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Joseph

Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.