Movement Class Basics

From arm exercises to drop swings, core explorations to stretching, all of your dance/movement class basics are here!


It is important to warm up your core and back to ensure you’re engaging proper muscles. Use this short exercise to get you ready for class, prevent injury and help with back pain! You can do this exercise in silence or to one of your favorite songs

Daniel Do shares an exercise that he uses before classes and performances to prepare his body to move.

Lauren shares a spinal warm up that can be used for any advanced modern dance class.

Tyler Orcutt teaches a short warm-up for a modern class with shoulder rolls and drop swings.

Feet Exercises

RDT dancer Daniel Do teaches a center tendu combination perfect for any class to concentrate on feet technique.

Created by Lauren Curley

Feet – Seated

If you have access to a Theraband all of these sequences can be done with the band wrapped around the ball of your foot.

Sit up tall (spine in neutral). If you need support for your back, place your hands by your hips on the floor. Flex and point your right foot 8 times. Flex and point from only your metatarsal 8 times. Flex and point from only your ankle 8 times (keep your toes pointed). Circle your ankle 4 times clockwise, and 4 times counterclockwise. Shake it out and then do the left side. Repeat this exercise once more on both sides.

RDT Dancer Lauren Curley shares a warm up designated for feet and ankles that also targets one-leg balancing.

RDT Dancer Jaclyn Brown teaches a foot articulation phrase that is perfect to get the feet warmed up and ready to move.

Tyler Orcutt shares a tendu phrase he created for RDT Company class.

Center Exercises

RDT Dancer Jaclyn Brown discusses the concept of stability in lower body vs. mobility in upper body.

Requires the ability to properly twist with hips facing forward while shoulders find freedom to move elsewhere. Recommendation: repeat the phrase 3 times with a different approach to size each time: small, medium, and large on both right and left sides.

Music: “Tuesday (Feat. Danelle Sandoval)” by Burak Yeter

Created by Lauren Curley

Arms – Seated

Cross your right leg in front and sit up tall with your elbows bent at your side body palms facing up. Initiate a reach forward with your right shoulder 1, follow through your elbow 2, to your wrist 3 fully out on 4 (allowing your spine to curve to the left). Retract your arm back starting from your shoulder again 5-8. Repeat on the left side 1-8. Right side in 4 counts (2 counts out, 2 counts back), left side 5-8, right side 1-4, left side 5-8.  Initiate from your right side again but this time let it take you all the way down to lay on your left side body, stretching your left arm out in line with your left shoulder. Continue circle your right arm 5-8. Repeat for two more full sets of 8, then on the third set of 8 use your arm circle to bring yourself back up to a seated position and repeat the circle initiating with your left arm.

The music Lauren used in this video is Centre – Pirouettes ll – 4/4, 128 bars, 108BPM by Michael Wall. You can purchase the track on Apple Music HERE or find it on Spotify HERE.

Tyler Orcutt as he teaches and demonstrates a drop swing combination.

The music used is Leg Swings by Fat Coda Studios. You can find the track on Apple Music by clicking HERE or on Spotify HERE.

Created by Lauren Curley

Hips – Seated

Lay down on your back with your feet planted near your sitting bones, hips width apart and your arms extended out in line with your shoulders. Drop your right leg out 1 and pull it in on 2, then repeat left 3-4, right 5-6, left 7-8. Pick your leg up (creasing at the hip) 1 and drop it down on 2, repeating left 3-4, right 5-6, and left 7-8. Drop your right leg out 1, pull it in on 2, pick it up 3, and drop it down on 4. Repeat it to the left 5-8. Repeat it to the right, lifting your hips up and you set your leg down on 4 and hold here 5-8. Roll down one vertebrae at a time and bring your arms into first position 1-4. Circle your pelvis from right to left 5-8, repeat half of a circle to end with your hips up 1-4, then roll down and open your arms 5-8. Drop swing your leg to the right 1-2, and come back in to the center 3-4. Repeat to the left 5-8. Repeat once more right and left 1-8 and then begin the whole combination again beginning on the left side.

The music Lauren used in this video is Barre – Leg Swings – 3/4, 128 bars, 194BPM by Michael Wall. You can purchase the track on Apple Music HERE or find it on Spotify HERE.


Hips – Standing

You can do this exercise holding on to the back of a chair or with a hand on the wall to help you balance. You can also leave the arms out altogether and just focus on the legs!

Begin with your feet in first position and your arms in second position. Leg swing in attitude front 1, back 2, front 3, back 4, and continue 5-8. Let your arms close when you swing to the back, and open when you swing to the front. Leg swing front 1, side 2, back 3, and side 4. Parallel leg swing on the left diagonal 5, turned out to the side 6, fan picking the arms all the way up 7, drop your leg down and let your arms wrap closed on 8. Start to the left side.


The music Lauren used in this video is Centre – Grande Allegro – 3/4, 256 bars, 169BPM by Michael Wall. You can purchase the track on Apple Music HERE or find it on Spotify HERE.

Created by Lauren Curley

Spine – Seated

Instructions and breakdown of movement sequence:

  • In a cross leg-seated position, sequentially roll through the spine from the top of your head 1-3 then reverse that pathways 4-6. Sway to the right side and put your forearm down on 7 then reverse and sway to your left side on 8.
  • Half circle your torso from left to right bringing your left arm along 1-2 then brush your left arm across your chest to open up on the high left diagonal on count 3. Starting from your fingertips reverse the path of your arm and curve your upper back forward on the low right diagonal on count 4. Grab on to your knee with your left hand and open your chest up on the high diagonal 5 to then pull yourself back forward on count 6. Sweep your right arm around as you circle your torso from right to left 7 and use the arm to come up through your side bend on 8.
  • Repeat it on the left, and then switch the foot that’s crossed in front to do it all again.


The music Lauren used in this video is Centre – Terre a Terre – 2/4, 128 bars, 95BPM by Michael Wall. You can purchase the track on Apple Music HERE or find it on Spotify HERE.

Spine – Standing

Instructions and breakdown of movement sequence:

  • Begin with you feet in parallel hips-width apart from one another. Roll down from the top of your head into a forward curve, keeping your pelvis in a neutral position for 8 counts.
  • Demi plie 1-2 stretch your legs 3-4 double bounce 5-6 roll up sequentially through your spine 7-8.
  • Repeat to the right, to the back, and to the left. When going to the side (right or left) use your arm (opposite arm from the direction of your side bend) to swing you back up to neutral.
  • Option to turn your feet out to first position and repeat the exercise in full.

The music Lauren used in this video is Degage 3 – 4/4, 72 bars, 115BPM by Michael Wall. You can purchase the track on Apple Music HERE or find it on Spotify HERE.

Leg Exercises

Daniel Do walks through a leg swing combination that challenges and trains your balance.

Jaclyn Brown teaches a plie combination mixed with adagio elements, perfect for working on balance and leg strength.

Lauren Curley teaches a demi-plie combination that focuses on the movement of the upper with references to several modern techniques.

Lauren Curley shares a combination focusing on jumps and battements, pulling a lot of concepts from Limon, Horton, and Taylor techniques.

Lauren Curley uses elements from Horton’s Elementary Balance to train stabilization and strength in the legs. Perfect if you are not jumping a lot and still want to keep the legs strong.

Across the Floor

Follow Lauren Curley with this creative exploration of patterns and large loco motor movement.


Pick a spot in your yard or driveway where you have room to move.


Think of a verb. Below are a few suggestions to get you started!

  • Fly
  • Scoop
  • Swing
  • Vibrate
  • Skitter
  • Slide
  • Jiggle
  • Dart
  • Slash
  • Bounce

Explore moving with the verb you have chosen. Try investigating moving just one body part using your verb, using your whole body to explore the verb and using your verb to travel you through space.


Pick a new verb and explore all the different ways it can travel you around your yard or driveway.


Put your verbs together to create a pattern. For example, if you chose “fly” and “scoop” as your verbs your pattern would be: FLY-SCOOP-FLY-SCOOP-FLY-SCOOP.


Use your movement pattern to travel you throughout your yard. See how much space you can cover! Once you have tried your pattern a few times pick some new verbs and try again, or create a pattern made up of more verbs for an additional challenge!

Lauren Curley teaches a stationary triplet exercise that uses elements from the Limon Technique.

Feel free to share these videos, embed them for your students, or link to this page. New online educational resources are being developed every day. If you have suggestions for what you’d like to see let us know:

RDT appreciates the generous funding provided by the Utah Legislature and the Utah Board of Education that help make our Arts-in-Education Programs possible in Utah’s Public Schools.

Skip to content