Dancing is a great workout that delivers as many smiles as it does full-body benefits. To share those benefits with participants, however, you don’t need to teach a whole dance class. A dance-inspired warmup will help patrons prepare for specific movements while setting a perfect tone for class.
In general, a good warmup includes
- rhythmic and dynamic limbering actions that mimic the day’s program;
- movement through all three planes of motion to heat the upper body, lower body and core;
- simple-to-follow steps that transition to more complex steps, so that you can “read” students’ ability levels and select appropriate modifications; and
- progressions that begin from a neutral foundation, starting with foot patterns, then adding arm work, for more intensity and flair.
Try the following fun and effective warmup progressions in your next class.
See also: Why Do Members Love Dance Fitness?
Figure-Eight Hip Mobility
This is a great move for the hips and torso.
- Start with feet hip-width apart, hands on hips.
- Rock hips right, shifting weight while pushing hips.
- Circle hips back and around to left, pushing hips L and transferring weight.
- Circle hips front and around to R, creating figure-eight pattern.
- Repeat 8x–16x.
- Progression: Add swirling double arm motion or add rhythmic action by increasing tempo—single hip R, single hip L, then double hip R.
- Repeat, other direction.
- Start with feet together.
- Step R foot to side, tap L foot next to R, repeat L.
- Add intensity by bending knees to lower center of gravity. Add double arm pump for more jazz flair.
- Perform 8x–16x on each side, varying intensity by shifting from taller position to squat.
Wide Step-Tap With Ballroom Arms
- From wide stance, shift weight R; tap L toe while grounding R leg. Shift weight L, and tap R toe on ground.
- Repeat, maintaining wide stance.
- Once that’s mastered, add “ballroom arms” by bending one arm at chest height and other arm to goal-post shape at shoulder height. Sway arms from side to side with rhythm of weight shift. (Arms move to weighted side of body.)
- Repeat 8x, each side.
Body Slide With Stomp
- Start with feet together. Slowly step out wide, R (2 counts), sliding L leg.
- Reach arms out diagonally, R arm high, L arm low, toward L leg.
- Stomp feet close together L, R, crossing arms at chest.
- Repeat, other side.
Tap Front With Leg Lift
- Tap R leg over L leg; step R leg back to wide stance and cross L leg over R leg, creating diagonal pattern from side to side.
- Reach arms in opposition to legs, rotating torso.
- For more flair and intensity, replace tap with “flick kick” front, lifting front leg at diagonal to torso. Create “swing dance” feeling.