What’s in a name?

Social, country, Playford, ceili, ceilidh, twmpath, Irish set, barn, bal, contra, line… some of the folk dance ‘genres’ you might touch on in a Barn Dance Fitness class. Do they all mean the same thing? Not exactly: although some of the repertoire (and terminology) is shared, each has its own characteristics and context, and some are highly stylised such as Scottish Country, and Irish Set, Dancing.

The BDF genre is a radical yet simple approach: it’s about having fun, not taking ourselves seriously, whilst getting some serious exercise. There is less focus on learning steps and more on creating interesting movement as a group – you definitely don’t need to be a (folk) dancer!

So dances are drawn literally from every corner of the world on the criteria that they must:

  • be easy to learn and dance
  • entertaining & exhilarating
  • be aerobic
  • aim to exercise different muscle groups
  • include some warm up/cool down elements
  • build strength & endurance
  • improve balance & coordination
  • improve flexibility
  • address psychosocial aspects
  • include story telling

It’s the team effort and spirit that makes BDF stand out from other fitness classes; there are no mirrors involved, it’s not competitive: it’s about collaborative, supportive interaction.

So, why is it called ‘barn dance fitness’?  Good question! The aim is to make the dancing accessible to all, and finding a suitable name that describes the criteria above is the challenge! We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

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