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A Step in Between

Is this you sometimes?


You are looking at your class 20 minutes into the choreography and realise that it is not going so well.


Your front row participants are movin’ and groovin’, there is one participant in the front right corner embellishing the choreography and adding their own turns, and then the rest of the class is trying to pick up the choreography. And then… there is definitely three people who look completely lost and are standing still more often than they are moving.


If you are like me, you are not too happy. After all, you are a great group exercise instructor who enjoys having the whole class move successfully and not just the handful that are sure to return back next week.


The challenge for any freestyle instructor is how to cater for different levels within the one class. The beautiful thing about being a freestyle instructor is that we have the opportunity to try, so we do. The question is HOW?


There is no one foolproof method, but consider the following options.


The workout


Everyone wants the workout – well at least in Australia. In fact, as a culture, we highly prize the workout and if a class does not achieve the target sweat mark, then participants will eventually make choices about how they want to spend their workout time. So if it is a regular participant or a new comer, the workout is definitely a high priority. To an instructor this means repetition, which is good news for the beginner. Regulars should be encouraged to work on their technique and range of motion. When the class is focused on the workout, then there is not as much attention placed on the choreography – which gives beginners an opportunity to pick up unfamiliar foot patterns.



Comfort level


No one likes to feel uncoordinated. Regardless of who is participating in the class, everyone wants to feel comfortable - whether it is because they are able to complete the routine or are confident in the instructor’s ability to teach them choreography. What is important to appreciate here, is that beginners do not have to get every single move in a class to feel successful. They also realise that they are beginners, and they will not get everything, just as long as the instructor provides the encouragement that they will in the near future.

Your goals for the class


This needs to be addressed as often our primary goal is to get the choreography out there and completed. If we are talented with creativity, we are often challenged to cater for those who ‘just don’t get it’.

Another concern is participant boredom. As instructors we know what we are going to deliver. In fact we usually perform the choreography several times in preparation for the class. Rehearsed, we teach our classes, but our participants are seeing it for the first time. We are usually over it before they get a chance to really get into it. Bored – it is usually ourselves that we are trying to please, so consider how many times the class has had an opportunity to perform what you have prepared.


Consider what makes us really happy. Happy participants, sweaty participants, regular participants.


Ok, so how do we deal with regular members and keep new ones coming back???


Firstly start with looking at your choreography and ask…


  • Is this a workout?
  • Are there moves in there that do not help raise or maintain heart rate?
  • Are there moves that would take several learning curves before reaching the final move?
  • Are the learning curves a workout in themselves, or simply ‘a march’
  • Are there moves that you just don’t know how to breakdown simply?
  • Are there moves that are going to be ‘watch me’ and then several attempts until success is achieved?


Do you have to teach complex choreography to be considered a successful instructor? The answer is a big NO. If you ask regular members what they want and what makes them happy, the answer will usually be “a great workout”.









Rocking horse, 1x push back, 1x stomp



2x leg curl repeater switch, gallop bwds



Mambo to side and 1x knee lift “Low L”



Basic run




  1. 3x knee repeater
  2. Layer - 3x knee repeater to a rocking horse
  3. Teach alternating tap
  4. Layer – Alternating tap to a push off on floor
  5. Layer – Push off on floor to 2x repeater push with 4x marches
  6. Teach alternating leg curl
  7. Visual preview – 2x rocking horse with 1x push back and 4x marches, with 5x alternating leg curls
  8. Layer – 4x marches to 1x stomp
  9. Teach 5x leg curl repeater and 1x basic step

10)  Layer – 5x leg curl repeater, to 2x leg curl with ½ time mambo and 1x leg curl

11)  Layer – 2x leg curl with ½ time mambo to 2x leg curl with gallop backwards

12)  Layer – 2x leg curl with gallop backwards to 2x leg curl switch and gallop backwards

13)  Add Rocking horse with 1x push back and stomp to 2x leg curl switch with gallop backwards, and 3x alternating kicks

14)  Teach 3x knee repeater, 2x basic step

15)  Layer – 3x knee repeater to 1x mambo and 1x knee

16)  Layer – 1x mambo and 1x knee to 1x mambo to side of step and 1x knee back

17)  Add Rocking horse with 1x push back and stomp, 2x leg curl switch with gallop to Low L and 1x basic step (or run)







1x Mambo



Reverse 2x knee skate



1x Kick on the step and 1x kick on the floor



2x Rhythm squat “Monster”



1x Knee balance




  1. 2x (4x marches on step), 2x (2x leg curl repeater) and 3x leg curl repeater
  2. 2) Layer – 2x (4x marches on step) to 2x (2x knee skate)
  3. Add – 1x basic step, 2x knee skate, 4x alternating flick kicks and 2x leg curl repeater
    1. 4) Layer – 1x basic to 1x mambo
    2. 5) Layer – 2x knee skate to reverse 2x knee skate
    3. 6) Layer – 4x alternating flick kicks to 2x (1x kick on step, 1x kick on floor)
    4. 7) Layer – 2nd Kick on the step and kick on the floor to 2x alternating taps
    5. 8) Layer – 2x alternating taps to 2x alternating side push
    6. 9) Layer – 2x alternating side push to Rhythm squat “Monster” to side of step

10) Layer – 2x leg curl repeater to 2x knee repeater

11) Layer – 2x knee repeater to knee balance








1x knee to side of step and ball change behind



1x Straight leg hop, turning out to face end of step, straddle down



3x Leg curl switch



2x Cut the corner



Kick, lunge, kick




  1. Teach 3x knee repeater and 2x alternating leg curl
  2. 2) Layer - 3x knee repeater to rocking horse
  3. 3) Layer – Rocking horse to knee, tap together, knee
  4. 4) Layer – Knee, tap together, knee to knee, lunge behind, knee
  5. 5) Layer – Knee, lunge behind, knee to knee, ball change behind, knee
  6. 6) Layer -  knee, ball change behind, knee to knee, ball change behind, straight leg hop
  7. Add – knee, ball change behind, knee, 2x (3x leg curl repeater) and 2x alternating flick kick
  8. 8) Layer -  1x knee to side, ball change behind, straight leg hop, straddle, 2x (3x leg curl repeater and straddle) and 2x alternating kicks
  9. Teach 3x leg curl repeater

10) Layer – 3x leg curl repeater but stay on one side of the step (facing the left side)

11) Layer – 3x leg curl switch

12)  Insert - 1x knee to side, ball change behind, straight leg hop, straddle, 3x leg curl switch, 2x basic step and 3x kick repeater

13) Layer -  2x basic step to 2x mambo

14) Layer – 2x mambo to 2x cut the corner

15) Layer – 3x kick repeater to kick, lunge, kick







4x Pendulum swing and straddle down



2x slow or 4x quick toe taps and 2x knee repeater



2x Pogo




  1. Teach 4x marches on top of step, 4x knee repeater and 4x alternating single leg curls
  2. 2) Layer  - 4x marches to jog for 4 counts
  3. 3) Layer – 4x jogs to 4x pendulum swing
  4. Change direction -  4x swings facing end of step, straddle down, 4x knee repeater and 4x alternating single leg curl
  5. 5) Layer - 3rd and 4th knee repeater to 2x alternating toe taps up
  6. 6) Layer – 2x toe taps to 4x fast toe taps
  7. 7) Layer – 4x alternating leg curls to 2x step over step and 2x alternating leg curls
  8. 8) Layer – 2x alternating leg curls to 2x alternating cha cha
  9. Holding pattern – leg curl, visual preview 2x (step up, cha cha down and 1x leg curl)

10)  Add together – 4x pendulum swing, straddle down, toe taps, 2x knee repeater and 2x Pogo around step


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