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3 Fun Workouts That Don’t Involve Irish Dancing

Julia is a champion dancer with the Teelin School of Irish Dance in Maryland. She recently came back to competing after a seven-year hiatus, and is still working on adjusting to being back in the competitive world of Irish dance. When she isn’t training, she works as a journalist in Washington, D.C. You can connect with her on twitter, where she goes by@RussellJuliaD.

Being a dancer in your late 20s requires a lot of work physically. Now that I’ve built my stamina and strength back up to a place where I am able to sustain a training schedule that can support competing at a champion level, I am always looking for ways to get in extra workouts outside of my dance classes that let me mix it up a little while still training the right parts of my body to help out my dancing. So far, I have found a handful of exercise classes that I really enjoy doing outside of the dance studio that definitely help me maintain my hard-earned dance physique:


I discovered how much I enjoy ballet at an older age, when I took the class as an elective in college to stay in shape and try something fun and new with my friends. I liked it so much that I took it through my sophomore and junior years, until I couldn’t fit it in my class schedule any longer. I don’t get to take ballet classes as often as I would like to now that I have a full Irish dance schedule on my plate, but every few months my best friend and I make an evening out of taking a 90-minute advanced beginner class at a local studio. Those 90 minutes are always a really great time for me to focus on my technique for Irish dance, and I’m always sore in all the right places the following day!

Pilates barre:

I have always loved pilates, but it wasn’t until recently that I tried pilates barre — pilates’ ballerina cousin. My sister belongs to a pilates barre studio in my hometown, and now every time I go home to visit my parents, I can’t resist stopping by the studio to take a class! Pilates barre provides me with an opportunity to really focus on my strength training and work my muscles, and because it’s ballet-based, I also get to give things like my turnout and posture a good workout.

Cardio kickboxing:

Right now, cardio kickboxing is my absolute favorite workout that I do outside the dance studio. There is an amazing instructor who teaches the class at my local gym, and the hour I spend at that class gets me sweating and gets my heart pumping in the absolute best way! Even though kickboxing doesn’t sound very dance-like, one of the things I love most about the class is that it consists of several routines of choreography. There is so much jumping and kicking that it really does mimic the kind of workout I get at the dance studio, and I know working out like that is so good for my stamina.

I am always looking to improve my physical ability for dance, but I am also always looking for ways to do that outside the studio so dance continues to be an exciting and fun activity and so I don’t get sick of it (if that’s even possible!). Those are just a few workouts that I’ve found work well for me. Are there any that work for you?
Photo credit: Image is courtesy and belongs to author.

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