How to Make a Dance Routine

Six Methods:Learning Some Basic MovesForming a Ballet RoutineTrying Ballroom DanceLearning Salsa MovesChoosing Other Types of DancePutting It Together

Making a dance routine can be a fun way to pass time. Dancing is an art, however, and you'll need to spend a lot of time learning and practicing to form a good routine. Learn some basic moves and then spend some time learning about dancing and choreography.

Method 1
Learning Some Basic Moves

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    Learn the strike. Before forming a dance routine, spend some time learning a few basic moves. The dance move "the strike" is a fun dance move that can help with any routine.
    • To start, stand with your feet hip length apart, toes straight ahead, and arms extended forward in front of your chest with your hands forming fists. Have your right arm held on top of your left.[1]
    • Hop on your right foot while bending and turning your left heel on the floor. Bend both arms 90 degrees and turn your right hand to the ceiling, palm facing forward. At the same time, turn your left arm away from your body, palm facing down.[2]
    • Hop again and get your feet in the original position. Extend your arms back in front of your chest again, returning them to their original position. Repeat the process of bending and turning again, this time leading with your left foot.[3]
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    Practice happy feet. Happy feet is a simple move that will help you get into the rhythm of a dance routine. This can be a fun, foundational move for any dance routine.
    • Stand with your feet together and your arms bent to the chest level. Grasp your left wrist with your right hand.[4]
    • Step your right foot to the side, a little further away from your body than your hip. Lean into it while you let go of your wrist. Pull your elbows behind your body, keeping them level with your shoulder. Bend them at a 90 degree angle.[5]
    • Return your feet to the original position. Step your left foot out. While doing so, raise your arms above your head until they're back in the original position. Continue engaging in the original move, alternating sides each time.[6]
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    Do the hopscotch. The hopscotch is a fun, active dance move. Learning it can help you form your own dance routine. ]
    • Stand with your feet together. Bend both arms in towards your body. Cross your right foot in front of your left foot while pulling your arms to the right.[7]
    • Then, cross your right foot behind yourself, placing it behind your left foot. Bring your arms to the left. Bring your feet together and, using three hops, hop in a small circle. Make a full 360 degree turn. Repeat the process using your left foot instead.[8]
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    Try the slap. The slap can be a fun, energetic dance move to add to a routine. Spend some time practicing this move when forming your own dance routine.
    • Stand with your legs about two feet apart and bend your right knee up to hip height. As you do this, hop up on your left foot. Using your left hand, brush the top of your right knee. It's as if you're drying to brush some debris off your pants.[9]
    • Return to the original position. Repeat the process with your left knee.[10]
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    Practice the two step. The two step is a very basic dance move that can help you get into the rhythm of the music. Practicing the two step can help you form a dance routine.
    • This move is very simple. Moving with the speed and tempo of the music, move your right foot to the right. Then, have your left foot step to meet it. Repeat with your left foot.[11]
    • If you want to add a little something to the move, try reaching your heel of your foot out the front as you step while leaning back slightly.[12]
  6. 6
    Figure out what to do with your arms. People are often confused as to how to move their arms when dancing. There are a variety of basic dance move options regarding moving your arms.
    • You can move one up arm and one up down, moving with the tempo of the movement. You can snapping your fingers as you move your arms like this.[13]
    • You can also try what is called a shoulder roll. This is simply rolling one shoulder at a time, moving with the beat of the music.[14]
  7. 7
    Explore other moves. There are a very large amount of dance moves and styles. If you're interested in forming a dance routine, explore. Take a dance class or two. Watch people at a club or look up music videos online. Have fun and be creative. Your dance routine should be an expression of your personal taste and style.

Method 2
Forming a Ballet Routine

  1. 1
    Learn foot positions. Ballet comes with a variety of positions for your feet, broken down into five different categories. If you're interested in doing a ballet inspired routine, familiarize yourself with the different foot positions. Each position involves rotating the legs at a 90 degree angle from the hip joint. If you're new to ballet, do not expect to be able to do a full rotation right away. Also, third positions is rarely used anymore as it's considered too similar to fifth position.[15]
    • In the first position, you stand with your legs together and your toes pointed away from your body. You should turn your toes as straight as you can, ideally forming a straight line.[16]
    • The second position is a continuation of the first position. You spread your legs apart slightly, keeping your toes pointed outward.[17]
    • Fourth positions involves pointing your toes inward, so your feet are turned to face each other. Then, cross your legs.[18]
    • Fifth position is a continuation of fourth position. Push your feet slightly closer together.[19]
  2. 2
    Practice arm movements. Just as there are different positions for your legs in ballet, there are also different positions for your feet. Spend some time practicing the different placements of your arms if you're interested in doing a ballet routine.
    • In first position, bend your arms slightly at the elbow and hold them out in front of your body.[20]
    • In second position, stretch your arms out on either side of your body.[21]
    • In third position, keep your arms at your side, but raise one arm up over your head.[22]
    • In fourth position, keep one arm over your head. Bend the other arm inward, as you did in first position.[23]
    • In fifth position, raise both your arms over your head. Keep your elbows slightly bent.[24]
  3. 3
    Study how to plie. A plie (plee-ay) is a basic ballet move. It simply means "to bend." Bend your knees, with your feet pointing away from your body. Try to get your knees to bend until they're directly above your toes.[25]
  4. 4
    Practice releve. Releve (ruh-lee-vey) is a ballet move in which you rise slightly. It can be done using one or both feet. Push your feet together while keeping your knees straight. Lift your heels into the air, transferring your body weight onto the balls of your feet. You should not attempt to stand on the tips your toes without proper training as well as shoes.[26]
  5. 5
    Try a saute. A saute (soh-tay) is a basic ballet jump in which you use both feet at the same time. Begin with a plie and then use your feet as if you were going to perform a releve. In doing so, jump into the air. Straighten your legs as you jump and then land on both feet.[27]

Method 3
Trying Ballroom Dance

  1. 1
    Keep your posture proper. If you're going to attempt a ballroom dancing routine, your posture is of upmost importance. Before attempting any ballroom steps, work on developing proper posture.
    • Keep your chin parallel to the floor. Hold your head upright.[28]
    • Lift your chest in order to lengthen your spine.[29]
    • Stand on both feet. Keep your weight placed just slightly forward of your body's center.[30]
  2. 2
    Learn the rock step. The rock step is a basic ballroom move. This can be fun to use if you're creating your own dance routine.
    • The rhythm used in the rock step is "one and two, three and four." You'll have to think of these words while dancing to keep your rhythm steady.[31]
    • Stand with your feet together. Lift one foot. Cross this foot behind the other foot. Place the foot roughly 12 inches behind the other foot, trying to form something of a 45 degree angle.
    • Transfer your weight to your back foot, standing on the ball of your foot. Count "one" as you do this. Immediately shift your weight back to your front foot, counting "and." Return your feet to the original position, counting "two."[32]
    • Three and four follow the exact same steps. You simply reverse which foot goes in front and which foot goes in back.[33]
  3. 3
    Try the grapevine. The grapevine is a simple step for a fast paced ballroom dance routine. One foot steps directly to the side. The other foot crosses that foot. You repeat this process continually, altering feet.[34]
  4. 4
    Use a basic triple step. A triple step is a basic ballroom dance move. You could use this in a ballroom routine or just a dance routine in general. It's a bit faster and less balanced than the rock step, so it may take some time to perfect.
    • Like the rock step, the triple step is counted "one and two, three and four." However, "one and" and "three and" are counted quicker than the other steps.[35]
    • Stand with your feet together and then lift and step forward with your right foot. Count "one" as you do this and then quickly shift your weight onto your left foot while counting "and." Shift back to the right foot, counting "two."[36]
    • Use the count of three to move your left foot forward. For the remainder of the steps, repeat the above motion but use your left foot to step forward instead.[37]

Method 4
Learning Salsa Moves

  1. 1
    Learn to count steps. In salsa dancing, time is kept in 8 counts. This means steps a performed over 8 beats of music. After 8 beats, you return to your original position and prepare to engage in the steps again.[38]
    • The type of steps you would do the 8 beats vary depending on what kind of dance routine you end up forming. However, to give you a basic idea of a dance routine here is an example. If you're the partner's who's leading in a routine, try something like this. Hold the beat for the first step, step forward with your left foot, rock back with your right foot, step back with your left foot, hold the beat, step back with your right foot, rock forward with your left foot, then step forward with your right. After engaging in these 8 steps, return to the original position and start again.[39]
    • For the follower in the above scenario, you would do something like this. Hold the beat, step back with the right foot, rock forward on the left foot, step back with the right foot, hold the beat, step forward with your left foot, rock back on your right foot, and then step back with your left foot. Return to the starting position and begin again.[40]
  2. 2
    Practice leading and following. In salsa dancing, there is one leader and one follower. You'll need a partner to do a salsa dance routine. Establish who leads and who follows between yourself and your partner. The leader usually establishes the moves during the routine, giving the follower small signals via gentle tugs and pushes in the right direction. The job of the follower is to move his or her feet more or less in the opposite direction of the follower. Traditionally, a man leads and a woman follows but you of course do not have to follow this rule in your own routine.[41]
  3. 3
    Learn to dance to music. As salsa follows and 8 step, you need to learn to rely on dancing to music. It would be very hard to do a salsa routine without a song accompanying your dance. Spend some time listening carefully to music, trying to hear the beat in the back of a song. Count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 and follow this beat as you go through the 8 moves of your salsa routine. Keep in mind, when choosing music, you'll need to pick something with a clear, distinct rhythm for your routine to work.

Method 5
Choosing Other Types of Dance

  1. 1
    Consider a hip-hop routine. If you want to make your own dance routine, spend some time exploring different dance types. One fun type of dance his hip hop. Look into forming a hip hop dance routine.
    • Dubstep is a type of music that involves percussion beats and bass patterns. Many hip hop dancers move to the beat of dubstep during their dances. Watch YouTube and other tutorial videos that show you how to "pop" to dubstep. This is important when compiling a hip hop routine.[42]
    • Breakdancing, which involves full use of the body, is also popular in hip hop. There are many online resources that show you basic break dance moves and how to incorporate them into a hip hop routine.[43]
    • Attitude is important in hip hop as well. Make sure you commit to each move and have confidence. Even if you don't feel like you've mastered a move yet, if you perform with confidence people might not notice.[44]
  2. 2
    Look into modern dance. Modern dance can be another fun type of dance to incorporate into your dance routine. If you're concerned about coordination, modern dance can be fun as it encourages free movement.
    • You can free style to modern dance routines. You can move your body in response to themes like "Peace" or scenes like "the ocean." Move freely and pick positions that seem to reflect the theme.[45]
    • You can also make a modern dance routine with a group. Try to coordinate moves together or freestyle moves one at a time in response to a central theme or idea.[46]
  3. 3
    Look into dance classes. There are many different types of dances you can use in a personal dance routine. Depending on your personal interests, look into different types of dance classes.
    • If you're interested in classic dance routines, the kinds of dancing that requires a partner, consider a ballroom dancing class. You'll learn classic routines like the waltz, tango, cha-cha, rumba, and more. You can manipulate these dances to your liking in your own personal routine.[47]
    • Jazz classes can teach you dances like the Charleston, the swing, and other fun routines. Once you master these types of dance routines, you can manipulate them and make them your own.[48]
    • Latin dances, like the salsa or flamingo, can also be fun. Look for latin dance classes in your area.[49]
    • Dances like ballet and tap dance require a certain level of mastery and come with very specific rules. If you're interested in tap dancing or ballet, taking classes is important if you want to create your own routine.[50]
    • If you want to learn a very specific type of dance and form your own routine, classes are important. You can learn some from watching videos online, but if you want to create your own routine based on a specific dancing tradition that requires a certain level of mastery. Having one-on-one instructions from a professional can really help you form your own routine.

Method 6
Putting It Together

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    Pick a song. If you're forming a dance routine, you'll need to choose a musical accompaniment. Choose a song that you like, first of all, as you'll dance better if you're enjoying yourself. You're more likely to have fun dancing to a song you love. Also, keep in mind the style of the music and how it matches the routine you're creating. If you want to do a graceful, ballroom style routine choose a slow song. If you want a fun, peppy routine look into dance music and club music.
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    Learn through observation. Dancing is like any other practice. You can learn a lot through simple observation. If you want to create a dance routine, spend a lot of time exploring dance routines online.
    • You can explore dance routines on YouTube. Simply typing in "dance routine" in the search bar should yield a lot of results. You may even find tutorials on how to to do specific moves on YouTube and other video sharing sites.
    • Consider attending a dance class just to watch. You can catch a lot in terms of form, choreography, and dance moves simply by observing a class. Talk to a local dance instructor and see if he or she would let you come watch a class.[51]
    • Watch for events in your town or area that involve dancing. If affordable for you, consider buying tickets to events that involve dancing. This can help you find inspiration.
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    Study dancing. Dancing is an art and people study for years to dance properly. Even if you're just forming a dance routine for fun, studying dancing can help.
    • Enroll in a dance or choreography class. Learn about the art and style of dance from trained professionals.
    • Go to your local library or bookstore and find books about dancing and choreography.
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    Put your moves together in a way that feels fun for you. After getting inspired and studying a variety of dance styles, put it all together. Using the moves you've learned, altered, or created, put together a fun routine for yourself. Remember to pay attention to the beat and style of the music. It might be a good idea to record yourself dancing and watch the recording. This way, you can see where your routine might need improvement.
  5. 5
    Practice consistently. Dancing requires a certain level of mastery that can only be achieved through practice. Try to make time each day to dance. Work practicing your routine into your schedule as you would brushing your teeth or eating dinner. Set aside an hour each day to work on your routine.


  • Stretch and warm up before dancing, especially before attempting any difficult movements. Not stretching could cause muscle pain.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Beginning Dance | Dancing