Learning to Box? Consider Signing Up for Dance Lessons Too

26 August 2016
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Television boxing analysts often refer to pugilists as "dancing" across the ring, but the connection between boxing and dancing can be more than just a play on words. If you're learning the "sweet science," it can also be advantageous to seek out a local dance studio in your community and sign up for dance lessons. While the parallels between boxing and dancing can depend on the exact dance steps that you learn, learning to dance can benefit your footwork and body movements as a boxer. Here are some specific areas in which you can expect to see improvement in the ring because of your time spent taking dance lessons.

Fluid Foot Movement

In boxing, your ability to traverse the ring relies on fluid foot movement; good boxers are often said to be "gliding" around the ring. When you're dancing, the movement of your feet is critical. In each discipline, you'll often take a step ahead with the front foot, and then follow up with the back foot by sliding it forward. And, in both activities, you don't want your feet to get too far apart; in boxing, this will make you off balance and at risk of being knocked over, while in dancing, you'll look ungainly.

Crisp Change of Directions

Whether you're dancing or boxing, you'll need to be able to change direction quickly. In many common dance steps, you'll turn about 90 degrees in a fluid movement; in boxing, your ability to change directions quickly and smoothly is valuable whether you're pursing an opponent or evading one. Your dance instructor will teach you—first on your own and then with a partner—how to change directions by pivoting, often by planting and turning your front foot and moving your back foot in time. These foot movements are almost identical to boxing.

Movement in Your Hips

The average person who has stiff body mechanics will struggle to get accustomed to having fluid hip movement in boxing and in dancing. In each discipline, the proper—and sometimes, exaggerated—movement of your hips is necessary. When you box, you get punching power from turning your hips into the punch; when you dance, your hips can add flow and some panache to your movements. When you think about signing up for a dance class, explain that you're learning how to box, learn about the particular types of dance that are offered, and then decide which will be best for you. Contact studios such as Jazz Unlimited Studio of Arts to find out what types of dance classes are available in your area.