Aerobic dance terminology prompts movement in numerous directions during a single class.
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From "Sweatin' to the Oldies" with Richard Simmons to "Joining the ZUMBA Party" with Beto Perez, aerobic dance has helped people burn calories, lose weight, tone and have tons of fun for decades. Perhaps you've witnessed the fun from a treadmill across the gym and are considering giving an aerobic dance class a whirl. Although a class is sometimes comprised of countless choreography cues, understanding the terminology of steps commonly used will help you feel better prepared and will allow you to get comfortable in an aerobic dance class more quickly.
The First Step
There are many types of aerobic dance classes to choose from. If you're not sure where to start, think about your taste in music. A dance class that involves your favorite genres and songs will be more fun to attend. It's also important to start with a class that's designed for novice dancers. This will keep your expectations realistic and practical, especially if you haven't worked out in a long time. Plus, according to noted exercise physiologist Richard Weil, you'll be more likely to keep doing aerobic activity if it's simple and practical.
Aerobic dance classes are typically progressive: they start with the most basic steps and conclude with the most advanced before you cool down. Steps that you perform in place usually begin a class and are often referred to as on-the-spot steps. These include steps such as marches, high knee jogs, front kicks, squat taps and jumps.
Forward and Backward Steps
When your instructor sees that the majority of the class is performing the basic on-the-spot steps proficiently, she will cue you to bring it forward or take it back. Forward and backward moving marches, jumps, kicks and gallops are among some of the most commonly cued aerobic dance steps that allow you to move closer to the front and back of the room.
Much of the aerobic dance terminology you hear in class will direct you to move side to side. Step touches, side gallops, grapevines and glides are all aerobic dance steps that allow you to move from right to left during class. To make side-to-side steps easier to follow, aerobic dance instructors will often face you, providing a mirror image of how the steps should look.
Turning steps allow you to make quarter, half, full or multiple rotations so you change your orientation. You can perform pivots, two-foot spins and soutenu turns by keeping your weight on both of your feet. You perform other turns, such as pirouettes and one-foot spins, with your weight on only one foot. As you progress into more advanced dance aerobic classes, you can try turns that use different body parts, such as knee spins.
In advanced dance aerobics, jumps and hops are more complex. They allow you to do a pose or movement as you push yourself off the floor. For example, a double stag allows you to jump with two bent legs. You can also do a stag leap by jumping with one bent leg and one straight leg. A more challenging move is a fouette, which allows you to hop, turn and lift one leg at the same time. Compared to basic dance aerobic steps, jumping steps involve more coordination, focus and strength.