If you want to do aerobics to a beat, bounce dance gets your heart thumping as your legs pump to the music. One style of bounce dance originated in the Deep South in New Orleans in the 1980s. The main feature of this dance is wide-set feet with balance on the toes, knees bent and turned in and out rapidly to the hip-hop or rap beat. Freestyle arms and interspersed kicks and hops make up this individualistic dance. The ghetto bounce is somewhat less energetic, but does move in double time to club-style music. For beginners, or non-dancers, start with a regular bounce move and improvise as the spirit moves you. The high-energy expenditure of this dance provides an aerobic workout that burns 74 calories in 10 minutes for a 120-pound person, and up to 110 calories in 10 minutes for a 180-pound person.
Wear comfortable, loose clothing for bounce dancing. An informal-style dance, bounce dancing is generally performed in casual sportswear or street clothes.
Consult your physician before starting any type of new physical activity. Bounce dancing is based upon bouncing from the knees, which might not be advised for some people with knee problems.
Warm up for five to 10 minutes before bounce dancing. Do stretches, such as shoulder rolls, leg stretches and head rotations. Clap rapidly to the music to increase your heart rate and prepare your body for more strenuous exercise.
Stand with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart. For a regular bounce move, feet should be a comfortable distance apart. A New Orleans-style bounce move requires feet greater than shoulder-width apart so knees can bounce in toward each other.
Drop your body to the beat, bending at the knee. For a regular bounce, make a deep drop that allows your knees to go slightly beyond your toes. A double-time hip-hop bounce is shallower, allowing two bounces per beat.
Rise slower than you drop when doing a regular bounce. The count goes "one and two and," with the drop on "one" and the rise on "and two and." The ghetto bounce drop-and-rise is different, with each move made on a half beat. Drop on "one" and rise on "and."
Move your arms to the beat, using strokes of your choice. Bend at your elbows and allow your arms to swing back and forth to the rhythm or make deliberate reaches and stretches as you bounce. Add swim arms for variation, making freestyle-swim strokes in the air.
Cool down by walking or stretching. Allow yourself five to 10 minutes of gentle movements while your heart rate comes back to normal.
For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.