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Social Dis-Dancing:

The Dance Routines You Should Master Right Now

Which dance routines are the most difficult to learn?

With much of the UK still in lockdown and indoor gyms and leisure centres remaining closed for the foreseeable future, many people have found new ways to get active during these unusual times. 

Iconic dance routines have been unearthed and replicated over and over again across social media, while new viral challenges have sprung up, pitting TikTokkers against each other. Whether it’s to keep fit or get lots of likes and views, dancing has become one of the most popular internet crazes of 2020, with loads of us heading to the apps on our mobile phones to view the latest efforts and viral challenges.

With that in mind, we’ve crunched the numbers on the top 10 most popular routines at the minute, so you can get involved and work your way through the levels of difficulty from beginner to expert. And you can get fit and active while doing it. 

We have taken the top five most iconic dance routines and the most popular TikTok dance challenges. And, with the help of expert dancers, Jane White, Dance Course Leader and Senior Lecturer at Arts University Bournemouth and dance teacher to the stars, Andrea Rose, we’ve rated them on a difficulty scale of 1-10, with one being the easiest to learn. 

The two experts rated each dance independently with average in ratings taken from both of them, focusing on the length of routine, amount of moves and difficulty of transitions.

We have also worked out the calories burnt in learning each routine, with our experts analysing the moves and predicting how long the routine would take to master and using a calorie counting formula to work out a figure. The full research can be found below:

Aspiring TikTokkers can rejoice. In just five minutes, they could be raking in the likes after mastering the ‘Out West’ TikTok challenge. Or for those that want to go the whole hog and really make the most of this time indoors, MC Hammer’s ‘U Can’t Touch This’ routine could be the antidote to a life without the gym, burning a huge 35,269 kcal in the process of learning it. That’s the equivalent of the average person running for more than 54 hours on the treadmill or cycling for 137 hours.

It isn’t just the kudos on social media or non stop notifications on your mobile phone when you become a viral sensation. Dancing can have much wider benefits, now more than ever before as personal trainer, nutritionist and author, Stuart Roberts explains

“Dancing is one of those rare forms of exercise that ticks all the boxes. As well as improving cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, joint mobility, coordination and balance it’s also something you can do at any time of your life. 

“Most types of dancing are low impact which minimises the risk of injury. And by putting less pressure on the joints it’s great for older people. It’s also a great form of exercise for improving motor fitness. This is your body’s ability to transmit impulses from your nervous tissue (nerve cells called motor neurons) to your muscular tissue. Improving the efficiency of these nerve cells can help to:

  • Increase agility

  • Improve balance

  • Enhance coordination

  • Increase muscular power

  • Improve speed of movement

  • Enhance reaction time

“As well as the many physical benefits, dancing has a host benefits for mental health. Learning a new dance routine and then perfecting it provides a great challenge and focuses our attention. Concentrating on learning the steps enables us to switch off from our day to day concerns and forget about the news headlines for a while. Our brains have the ability to learn and grow, even as we age, making new neural connections. This ‘neural/brain plasticity’ can help to maintain and build cognitive skills such as memory and spatial recognition. 

“Dancing can also make us feel happier by boosting our mood and has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety. The physical exercise releases mood enhancing endorphins and the feel-good hormone serotonin, whilst reducing stress hormones such as cortisol.  Another great benefit is that dancing provides us with a challenge.”

Rehan Ali, mobiles expert at commented on the research: 

“If you are looking to take on one of these viral challenges and then share it with the world, you are going to need the right equipment. Ensure you have lots of space to practice. You might want this to be somewhere private for the outtakes! You’re going to need a handset that can record quality video, with a big display in order to analyse the dances you are trying to replicate. If you already have the phone, you might need to ensure you have the ability to stream these videos over and over again while you learn the moves, so ensure that you have a data package that can handle the demand! Good luck!”