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Basic Aerobic Dance Steps

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Basic Aerobic Dance Steps
Basic Aerobic Dance Steps Photo Credit: JackF/iStock/GettyImages

Head to any aerobics class and you may feel like the instructor is speaking another language. Many of the basic steps are easy to master, once you know what they are. Familiarize yourself with the movements before heading to the studio so you feel successful in your workout.

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Basic Step

This move can be performed on an aerobics step bench or on the floor. Do several in a row with the lead leg, or alternate lead legs for variety.

HOW TO DO IT: Start with your feet side by side, about hip-distance apart. Step about two feet forward with your lead leg. Bring the back leg forward to meet it. Step back two feet with your lead leg and draw the other foot back to meet it.


This dance step is also doable on an aerobic step or the floor. It gets its name from the wide, v-shape of the movement.

HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet parallel and hip-distance apart. Step your lead foot 2 to 3 feet forward to the corresponding corner of the floor or the bench. Step the opposite foot wide to its corner. Step back to the original position with your lead leg. Bring the opposite leg back to meet it. You may alternate lead legs or repeat the step on the same leg several times before switching.

Step and floor classes have some similar moves.
Step and floor classes have some similar moves. Photo Credit: dolgachov/iStock/GettyImages

Read more: Is There a Difference Between Cardio and Aerobic Exercise?

Step Touch

Step touch is commonly found in floor-based classes. It's an easy move to master.

HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet side by side and hip distance apart. Step your lead leg to the side and bring the other foot to meet it. Switch the direction as you alternate touching side to side. Sometimes, you might do two to four steps to the right, and then an equal number to the left (or vice versa.)


The mambo step in aerobics dance takes its cue from the dance style. It's a fundamental move that has you swinging your hips.

HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. For a right leg lead, take a small step forward on your right foot; keep your left foot where it is. Shift weight onto the right foot, and then shift weight onto the left foot as you step the right foot backward. Shift weight onto the right foot, then to the left; immediately take the step forward with the right to repeat the step.

Box Step

A box step is sometimes called a "jazz square."

HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and parallel to one another. For a right leg lead, step the right foot slightly forward and in front of your left foot. Step the left foot out to the side. Bring the right foot a step back and cross over it with your left foot. Repeat multiple times.


The grapevine offers a way to travel side to side during a floor-based aerobics class. Sometimes, an instructor adds a knee lift or hamstring curl instead of the tap before switching directions.

HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. To move to the right, step your right foot to the side. Cross your left foot behind the right. Step the right foot again to the right and tap your left foot next to it to switch directions.

Read more: The Benefits of Step Aerobics

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