I've been hearing a lot about Zumba lately and I've been doing a little bit of research on it. From my understanding, many forms of dance can cause weight loss. I'm trying to find out if it is more effective than just taking dance classes. Obviously this would depend somewhat on the type of dance you were practicing, but how would it line up in comparison to standard dance lessons?
The most effective dance form will be the one that you like the most. Zumba can definitely work up a sweat, but if you don't enjoy it and aren't motivated then you'll most likely give it up eventually or skip workouts.
Something like ballet might not get you moving as fast, but the jumps and balance moves are going to probably build up stronger leg muscles, which will help you burn more calories when you're at rest.
Again, it all depends on which form of dance you're most likely to stick with. A good idea might be to try several different forms. You can then either pick a favorite or keep with several different forms so that there's always some variety. This might also help due to the concept of muscle confusion.
The question is a little awkward to answer, but I'll do my best. Net weight drop is going to depend on how many more calories you've burned than you've taken in, and the heart rate you maintain while exercising (since that influences whether you burn fat or sugar). Zumba in and of itself isn't going to be any more or less effective than any other form of dance if the two keep your heart at its target rate (70-80% of its max) for roughly the same amount of time.
Dance as a whole is a very good way to accomplish these ends, though, since most dance styles are developed to be fairly easy to pick up, sustainable for at least a good 20-30 minutes, and fun to do. Zumba definitely fills these points, so chances are pretty good it'll be quite effective at busting weight.
As far as 'more effective', that's going to depend on the dance style you're comparing it to. Swing dancing is probably just as effective, break dancing...likely not so much.
Zumba is a high impact dance workout, and compared with an equivalent form of dance like hip-hop or salsa dance it probably doesn't have any special properties. However, it is higher impact than some of the more traditional ballroom dances.
The bottom line is that if you are psyched to do it and be more consistent with it, then yes it will be more effective for weight loss.
My wife is a Zumba instructor and she says it all comes down to how hard the individual practices. Most dances in Zumba are designed so you can go through the moves at mild levels or really push yourself, so those who are well motivated to do that will see an effect.
The reason she became a Zumba instructor was that a year of going to Zumba classes helped her drop 3 dress sizes and increase her fitness immensely - as compared to trying various other aerobics, dance and fitness classes over the years which didn't have anywhere near as good an effect.