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can fat people dance
Dancing is not just something people do when they go to a high school dance such as prom. Dance is a form of art and self-expression. It is also a great way to exercise and stay active. There is not one reason or explanation for why people dance, as it is an eclectic way to move our bodies with or without music.
Even though people can dance everywhere from their car to the shower to the club, any quick look at popular culture and you’ll usually see skinny people dancing.

But can fat people dance too?

Fat people can dance! Many popular dances are great when fat people do them because their bodies flow with the movements! Dances such as twerking and belly dancing are perfect for fat people because they require you to shake or wiggle the fat on your body!

Keep reading to learn about all the dances fat people can do and the benefits they may bring!

How Do I Start Dancing If I’m Fat?

One of the first questions you may ask yourself after you realize that you can dance as a fat person is, where do I begin?

Since dancing is considered exercise, you will want to warm up beforehand. Start by stretching your legs, arms, and torso. Do stretches such as side bends, the forward hang, and a standing calf stretch. Take a brisk walk or jog, and maybe do a few lunges! These warm-up activities will help raise your core temperature and increase your heart rate. Warming up before you exercise will help reduce any risk of injury!

If your weight prevents you from being able to complete any of the stretches or warm-up activities, you can modify them to suit your needs.

But always remember to do some type of warm-up before any physical activity.

Choose The Right Type Of Dancing For Your Body

Once you are warmed up and ready to go, you will want to choose a dance that your body can handle. Dancing is a fun activity no matter which style you choose. So be sure to pick one that your body is ready for.

There are so many forms of dance and ways to dance. Some dancing is proper, while other forms of dancing are more casual. Some dances have techniques, and some are completely freestyle. Start by introducing yourself to different types of dancing to see which type you think that you will enjoy and can do with your body type.

The top two things to look at when you begin dancing is whether or not they are low impact or high impact. Below we will compare the two and why one is better than the other for beginners.

Low Impact Dancing

Low impact dancing is great for beginners or people who have never worked out before. Any low impact movement will be easier on your joints and muscles. If you are a fat person who lives a sedentary lifestyle, you will want to start slow with low-impact dances. Your joints and muscles may not be used to excessive movements and additional pressure.

Dancing is quite the workout!

Starting at a slower pace with low impact moves will help ease you into it. Let’s look at some of the most popular low impact dancing styles that are perfect for people of size!

Belly Dancing

Belly dancing is a wonderful low-impact dance style. It is beautiful and elegant and doesn’t require excessive strain on your knees or ankles. Belly dancing is perfect for those who don’t have a dance partner because it can be done by yourself. When you belly dance you move your hips in a fluid motion circling in a figure-eight motion. You can add shimmies into the mix, which is the rapid shaking of your shoulders or hips.

Belly dancing is great for fat people because it doesn’t require quick foot movement or high jumps. You can go at your own pace and make it your own. It is a great way to show off your curves and be proud of your jiggle!


Twerking is another great example of low impact dancing that is fun and modern. Twerking involves shaking your booty, and if you are fat you may have a lot of booty to shake! When you twerk you bend your knees slightly and push your butt back. When you feel comfortable you shake your butt up and down.

Twerking can be a controversial dance because some people may see it as a sensual body movement. But, if you keep it fun and silly it can actually be a great way to dance when you are with friends. To keep it more light-hearted add other movements in between each booty shake like a twirl or spin.


Bachata is also a great low impact dance that is great if you have a dance partner. Bachata originated in the Dominican Republic and has become well known all over the Caribbean and the United States. Fat people can do this dance together because it doesn’t require any lifts or dips. It is a simple dance with repetitive movements.

When you dance the bachata you hold hands with your dance partner and sway your hips. After each hip sway, you step into each motion. You continue forward a few steps, then backward a few steps. Bachata is easier for fat people because you don’t need much room left between each partner. The closer you stand to each other the better!

Hula Hooping

Hula hooping isn’t exactly a dance but it’s still similar enough to dancing that I feel it should be added to this list!

Hooping is a great activity for people of any size and the skill of hula hooping can carry over to many other types of dancing.

High Impact Dancing

High impact dancing is going to have more rapid movements and be more intense on your joints. When you start dancing high-impact dances you will want to have some experience. High-impact movements will have you lifting both feet off the grounds and you land on your joints with a harder impact than usual. Starting with low-impact dances is recommended before moving into these dances.

If you are fat and active, you may already have built-up stamina that will enable you to last a bit longer and start with high-impact dancing. Even if you are a seasoned dancer you should always start with a warm up to reduce the risk of injury.

Hip Hop

Hip hop dancing is a high impact dance style that incorporates breaking, popping, locking, and funky movements. Breaking requires you to go down to the ground and be able to quickly get back to your feet. The movements can be tricky and may require a lot of knee and hip strength.

Popping is when you jerk your body sharply. When you lock in hip-hop dancing, you stop your body abruptly and hold the position for a short period before completing the dance move. All these moves together make up the foundation of hip-hop dancing.

Swing Dancing

Swing dance is definitely high impact. There are multiple versions of swing dancing but they all are considered high-impact.  Swing dancing involves lifting, swinging, and spinning your partner while quickly moving your body. It is a lively dance with a fast pace and takes a lot of skill. Swing dancing is great for dancers with a little bit of background in dance. It does take practice to become good, but you can start off slow and work your way toward becoming great!


While ballet may look easy, and you may assume it is low impact, it is actually one of the most straining types of dance there is. Ballet uses precise movements and requires the dancer to have proper technique. It can take many years to master the art of ballet. Ballet is traditionally performed to classical music with minimalistic costumes.

When dancing ballet you can burn about 800 calories per hour if you weigh 250 pounds. The more you weigh the more calories you burn. You need to have some form of prerequisite to perform ballet. Since the movements involve leaps and the ability to balance while on your toes, you will need to be conditioned.

Does Being Fat Hold You Back?

Being fat doesn’t mean you are not capable. While some dancing does require strength and agility, it doesn’t mean your body isn’t as strong and agile as a fat person. All fat people are different and there are plenty of strong fat people out there!

If you are starting as a beginner, you may need to put in more work and practice to become stronger and more agile. But that doesn’t mean that you should be held back. Being a beginner only means that you need to practice more to become better at what you are doing.

The size of your body doesn’t hold you back from being a great dancer. The more you dance, the more you will be able to endure! Eventually, you will be able to keep up with fast rhythms for longer periods!

How Can Dance Benefit Fat People?

Dancing is a form of exercise. All exercise is beneficial to our health. While some dances are better than others, all dances are good additions to our health routines. When you start dancing, you can improve many areas of your health.

You can also increase your strength, confidence, and mobility in a way that allows you to try new activities like ice skating, surfing, CrossFit, or just about anything else!

Here are ways that dancing can improve your physical health:

Increases Flexibility

Sometimes people don’t don’t utilize their body to its full potential. You can lose some of your flexibility because you have a limited range of motion or simply because you have stopped doing things that require flexibility. When you dance, you begin with a warm-up. This warm-up has stretches that will help increase your flexibility. As you become a better dancer, you try new things that help to increase your flexibility. All fat people can be flexible and some can even compete in gymnastics!

Increases Range Of Motion

Sometimes your rolls, folds, and extra fat can limit your range of motion. Your range of motion is how far you can move or stretch your joints and muscles and it can impact everything from how you feel to how you walk. When you dance, your train your body to try new movements. Many of these new movements help increase your range of motion.

For example, when you plié in ballet, you have to turn your feet outward and squat down. If you have never done this before, it is definitely a new range in motion for you!

Improves Strength

Dancing will make your muscles stronger because of the new muscle groups you will be using. Squatting to twerk, calf raises for ballet, or hip thrusting in belly dancing will all help increase your strength.

Improves Posture

Extra weight can cause a shift in your posture because you are accommodating the new pounds. This can lead to back problems or posture issues. When you add exercises such as dancing to your routine, it can help you regain good posture.

Increases Stamina

Stamina is our body’s limit of how much exercise we can endure. When we dance, we build our stamina each time. If you start dancing and can only dance for one song, continue dancing. Eventually, you will build your stamina to be able to dance to multiple songs or even hours!

Improves Balance

Fat bodies can sometimes become unbalanced if the weight gain is sudden. Your body isn’t used to the weight and the shifting. When you dance, your body learns how to shift your weight, which helps you balance your body.

Benefits Heart Health

Your heart is a muscle that needs aerobic activity to help it stay healthy and strong. Dance is a form of aerobic activity that is perfect for a healthy heart because it reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Can Help You Lose Weight

If you don’t want to lose your thickness, that is okay. But, dancing is known to burn quite a lot of calories. The calorie deficit may make you lose a few pounds along the way!

Dancing isn’t just great for your physical health, but it is also great for your mental health. It encourages you to do more and helps you find what you like and what you are good at. Here are other ways that dancing can help you with your mental health.


Dancing helps you gain confidence. When train to learn a new dance and master it, you become proud of yourself. You overcome your shyness and blossom into a more confident person with dancing. Dancing is a great way to express who you are and allows you to be who you want to be!


Dancing in a group will require you to be social and can be a great way for people of any size to make friends. Socialization is great for your mental health because it teaches you how to be part of a group and make decisions with other people. Being social is a positive way to increase your friend group and learn how to be part of a team.

Can A Fat Person Take Dance Lessons?

Absolutely! Starting dance lessons is a great way to learn how to dance. Sometimes YouTube videos aren’t as good as having a professional instructor teach you how to properly execute each move.

If you would feel more comfortable in a fat-friendly environment. You can start by finding a dance studio that specializes in teaching dance lessons for fat people. All over the United States, plus-sized dance classes are popping up. These studios give you a safe and judgment-free place to learn how to dance.

Don’t feel limited to only using establishments that cater to your curves. You can take lessons anywhere as long as you are comfortable!

Will I Be Able To Be A Professional Dancer If I Am Fat?

While I would love to say that every company would hire a fat dancer, I’d be foolish to believe that there are no companies that still discriminate based on your size. But, just because all companies won’t hire fat dancers, this doesn’t mean that some companies won’t hire a plus-sized dancer!

Every day fat bodies are becoming more accepted and embraced. Commercials on television have begun adding fat dancers and music artists have begun to add fat backup dancers on stage! While some companies may miss out on your grace and agility, many won’t and will for sure hire you to become a professional dancer!

Are There Any Well Known Fat Dancers?

Music artist Lizzo is quite the dancer! She is an amazing and talented plus-sized woman who is known for singing, dancing, and playing the flute! She not only proves that plus-size ladies can dance but also that bigger people can also be amazing singers!

Not to be confused with Lizzo, Lizzy Howell is a well-known dancer with over 200,000 followers on Instagram! She is a trailblazer with a positive outlook on life and an amazing dancer.

Last but not least we have John Lindo. John is a professional swing dancer and instructor, he is well known for his west coast swing style dancing and his seamless moves. John has won awards and is even internationally recognized!


Dancing isn’t just for thin people, fat people can dance, too! Not only can fat people dance, but they can dance with grace and ease! With a proper warm-up and a few lessons, all fat people can take on the world of dancing to help gain physical and mental benefits. Dances such as bachata, ballet, or hip-hop can all be done by plus-sized dancers.

Camila R.

Camila is a body positive blogger and fat activist that's focused on helping people of all sizes live life big! That means accepting yourself at any size and just enjoying life! She lives in New Mexico with her husband and two chihauhuas.

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