General Exercises

Disclaimer: These exercises are provided for information purposes only. Please consult with your physician before undertaking any program of exercise. 

Here are some exercises to warm up from head to toe before dancing.

Neck and head

  • First check posture and make sure body is properly stacked up.
  • Head to left, hold. Back to center. Head to right, hold. Back to center. (Keep body properly stacked up.)
  • Roll head and neck in circle. Reverse direction.

Arms and Shoulders

  • R arm reach to floor on the side (make sure chest don't collapse forward or bend backward), L arm reach up above head; repeat for L arm
  • Both arms out and parallel to floor, R arm reach to right side as far right as you can go (rib cage shifts to R too), keep both shoulders down; repeat for L side.
  • Roll shoulder front, then back. One shoulder at a time first, then roll both shoulder front and back.

Rib cage isolation

Start: stand with legs a little more than shoulder width apart.
Keep hips still and only move rib cage. (To help to make sure hips don't move, the exercise can also be done when sitting on the edge of the chair.) 
  • rib cage: Left, Right (with arms extends to both sides), move hips as little as possible, shoulders and head flat. Need to compress one side while extending the other side. 
  • rib cage: Left with L shoulder diagonally up, Right with Right shoulder diagonally up
  • rib cage: Front, Back. Head and shoulders stay upright. Contract and expand rib cage. 
  • rib cage circle: L, F, R, B - separate distinct positions first, then smooth circular movement. Then, reverse direction: L, B R, F.
  • rib cage diagonal circle: turn body diagonally to L and do the ribcage circle diagonally

Hip isolation

Keep upper body still and only move hips:
  • Hip to left and right side (lateral), twisting/rotating,  pendulum.
  • Hip circle: Left, Front, Right, Back; then, Left, Back, Right, Front; (first stop at distinct point, then try circular continuous hip circle movement)

Leg Swings

The exercise will help loosen the hips. In a standing position, swing one leg forward and back, keeping both knees bent. 
  • Swing arms in opposition to the swinging leg, as if you were running. 
  • Start with small swings, and gradually increase the range of motion and speed. Straighten the knee as you do so. 

Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel or lunge with left leg in front of the right, with toes pointing forward. Left leg and hip should be bent at 90 degrees. Raise right arm, and tighten right buttock, shifting weight forward. Hold the position for 10-15 seconds. Switch sides.

Foot Strength, Rise and Fall

This exercise helps with balance and posture, develop the strength and flexibility of the feet.

Remind yourself with the posture elements at all times during the exercise, butt cheek tight, center collected in, neck/head tall.

Stand with feet together:
  • Practice body rise and fall with foot flat but with weight on ball of foot, body pitched forward throughout exercise.
    • Practice bending knee and straightening knee (not locked) while keeping flat foot with weight on ball of foot.
  • Practice foot rise and fall with leg straight (not locked), weight on ball of foot throughout exercise.
    • Practice going on demi-point as high as possible, hold, balance, then controlled lowering of the foot to flat (still weight on ball of foot). Repeat.
  • Combined foot and body rise
    • Rise onto demi-pointe (hold), lower to feet flat, continue to lower to bend knees (keep weight on ball of foot throughout).
    • Start straightening knee, then continue to do foot rise, get onto demi-pointe (hold). 
    • Repeat
Do the exercise on one foot at a time

Practice with feet about shoulder apart, weight on ball of foot in: demi-pointe position
  • Rise onto demi-pointe, straight leg, and hold the position.
  • Bend knees, but still keep heels up, hold the position. Make sure to use core and keep back straight, not slanted
  • Straighten knee, on demi-pointe,  hold
  • Lower heel to flat, but still weight on ball of foot.
  • Repeat.