Most types of dance are an aerobic workout, as they include jumping, running and spinning, all of which work your heart. Usually, the faster the dance form, the more calories you will burn, leading to more calories burned. Some types, like ballet, also include moves that build muscle, giving you an anaerobic workout as well. Because dance classes include breaks to learn the choreography, you may not be working out nonstop for the full class.
According to Harvard Medical School, slow ballroom dances such as the waltz and the foxtrot burn between 90 and 133 calories in just a half hour, depending on how much you weigh. Other slow types of dancing can include contemporary and modern, which burn about the same number of calories. Since many dance classes are an hour, you can burn 180 to 266 calories in a single workout session.
If you try faster dances you can burn nearly double the number of calories in the same amount of time. Square dancing and disco dancing can burn between 165 and 244 calories in 30 minutes if you weigh between 125 and 185 pounds. Fast dancing, like the twist or ballet, burns 180 to 266 calories in 30 minutes. In an hour class of fast dancing, you can burn up to 532 calories.
According to the American Council on Exercise, Zumba Fitness classes are one of the most popular exercise classes on the planet. More than that, they are a way to bring dance to the masses -- you don’t have to train for years to burn a ton of calories per class. Zumba Fitness classes can burn an average of 9.5 calories per minute, or 369 calories per class, according to ACE. Zumba Fitness is an aerobic workout, but other specialty Zumba classes, like Zumba Toning, include weight training.
Despite the large calorie burn you can enjoy from dancing, if you eat more calories than you use per day you won't see any weight loss -- in fact, you may see the number on your scale rise. Losing weight is all about balancing your calorie equation. You can do this by decreasing the number of calories in -- eating less -- and increasing the number of calories out -- exercising more. Dance can help you with the second part of that equation, but you will also have to be mindful of your calories in to see any results.