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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.)
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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).
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).
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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