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Yes, You Can Do Aerobic Dance!
Page 4: Taking Your First Steps

You will encounter these steps in most basic aerobics classes and videos. Read through them - but keep in mind that they'll be a lot clearer once you actually see them being done.

(Article continued below.)

  1. Grapevine
    Everybody does this step. When an instructor is at a loss for another move, he'll make his class do grapevines until he can think of something more creative. Your lead foot steps to the outside (that means your right foot goes right, or if your left foot's leading, your left foot goes left), then your other foot crosses behind. Your lead foot steps to the side again and the other foot steps up to meet (touch) it. Step-cross, step-touch. Then you go back the other way. The second foot becomes the lead foot and the other foot crosses behind. So it goes something like this: Right step-cross, step-touch, left step-cross, step-touch - that's eight counts, by the way.
  2. Step-Touch
    One of the most versatile moves in aerobics. You just put one foot out to the side and bring the other foot up to touch it, then take that foot, put it out to the side and touch it with the first foot. Step-touch, step-touch, back and forth, back and forth. Step-touches can also be done by stepping forward-touch, back-touch. A step touch can become an L-Step - step-touch, then you turn to face inside and step your first foot to the side again for another step-touch (your feet are making an L-shaped pattern). Step-touches are transitional steps, moving you to another pattern or changing into another step altogether.
  3. Hamstring Curl
    Step with one foot and lift the heel of the other foot towards your butt. Usually you alternate heels. Right step-heel, left step-heel (that's four counts). Sometimes the instructor has you do two heels on the same foot. It's still four counts, but you only step once with your lead foot: step-heel up, heel up. Try it while counting - you'll see.
  4. Knee Up
    It's the same idea as the Hamstring Curl, only your lifting your knee towards your waist (or as high as you can lift it easily). Same count. Oftentimes, when an instructor has you do a hamstring curl or a knee up, they are planning to change it into something more interesting. You have the option to follow along, or stay with the original move.
  5. Repeaters
    You already know about repeater knees. Many moves - kicks, leg lifts, etc. - can be done as repeaters. Usually a move is repeated three times, but depending on the music and the mood of the instructor, it can be five (or any other number deemed appropriate).
  6. V-Step
    This looks a bit clunky, but lots of instructors like it, so you'll be doing it often. Your lead foot steps forward and out, then your other foot steps forward and out. Your lead foot steps back in, then your other foot steps back in - you're making a "V" with your feet. Sometimes the lead leg is alternated for each four-count (right step-out, step-out, right step-back, step-back, then left step-out, step-out, left step-back, step-back).
  7. Mambo
    This is really quite simple - step forward and back, forward and back, with the same foot until the instructor tells you to do something else. For example, you can do a Mambo with one foot leading, a Cha-Cha-Cha, and then a Mambo with the opposite foot leading.
  8. Box Step or Jazz Square
    This one is difficult to put into words - it's really better to watch and practice. Cross in front with your lead foot. Step out to the side with your other foot. Step straight back with your lead foot (your other foot should be out of the way, since it has stepped to the side). Now take your other foot and cross in front of your lead foot - cross-front, step-side, step-back, cross-front. Your lead foot ends in back, but you take it around and cross in front again to begin the pattern a second time. It's a four-count step - the first couple of times you try it, it may have to be a really slow four-count. Ask your instructor (or rewind the tape) if you have a problem.
  9. Kicks
    Um, you take a step with one foot and kick with the other one (could anything be easier to describe?). You don't have to kick very high - this isn't the Rockettes. Somewhere between ankle and mid-calf height is fine. Kicks are fun and the instructor will probably have a million different varieties of them.
  10. Leg Lifts
    Easy - stand on one leg and lift your other leg out to the side. It doesn't have to be very high - once again, this isn't the Rockettes. Not as much fun as kicks.
  11. Cha-Cha-Chas, Chausses and the like
    Sometimes an instructor will want you to change the lead leg of a step. This is done by somehow fitting three steps into two counts. That's where moves like Cha-Cha-Chas and Chausses (pronounced shaw-says) come in. With a Cha-Cha-Cha, you're just doing three steps really fast - instead of one, two, it's onetwothree. With Chausses you're covering more ground - you're stepping out to the side with one foot and then sliding and skipping the other foot to meet it. It looks better than it sounds. If you have a dancey instructor, she may throw in a ball-change - it's sort of like a hiccup of the feet. Just do the best you can.
  12. Arabesque
    Some instructors are more dance-oriented than others (you can tell which ones they are - they'll have you doing lots of mambos, chausses, jazz squares and those ball-changes). Chances are they'll toss in an Arabesque here and there. An Arabesque is basically just a backwards kick with your toe pointed, usually done with your hands floating gracefully in mid-air. Don't let your back arch too much and tighten your glutes (buttock muscles) - protect that spinal column!

There are dozens of other steps, but most routines can be boiled down to variations of the above moves. Instructors who have done these steps thousands of times like to turn them into something fancy and creative. Once you have a handle on them, you'll be happy when an instructor tosses something imaginative into the mix. Until then, if something she does confuses you, you always know you can go back to the basics.

Now, here's the reason you're going through all this effort.

Next page >> The Dancer's High (The Reason Why) >> Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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