Step Training: Breakdown School
Describing step patterns in words

The only perfect way to share your step patterns is making a good video clip from two or three camera positions. Looking at the video other instructors can always catch exactly the choreography in the way that it was created.

The common misunderstanding when writing the choreography in words result of the wrong assumption many things are going right without saying. This is wrong since there are no standards about the names of the moves and about the writing down the choreographies. Things that are evident for you since you are always calling the moves by "right" names will be completely incomprehensible for someone who gets another aerobics education.

Aerobics choreography consists of moves and the manner to put them together. I call it composition. I don't mean the teaching progression now. If you only have the basic moves in your choreography nobody will ask you about the directions or leading foot until you are doing tap free. Intermediate and advanced choreographies need good description of the composition as well.


1. There is no "right" name for any move. Some names are commonly known, the other not. Please try to avoid unknown move titles when writing down your choreography.

2. The move names I'm using on the Stepcenter animated library are not right. They are just unique and systematical. I can't even use them for cueing since they are mostly to long and mistakable.

3. Cueing needs other short move titles (this is not the object of this article). But if you write down your moves using their cueing titles given by you or any other instructor (e.g. "fly away", "skip", "hop"), nobody will be able to read your choreography.

4. Please explain any move you assume understanding problems on count-for-count. Where do you start, where are the feet on every count, facing and turn direction, arm movement. You can describe the move how it is integrated in the routine or separately (starting right from the front). Use points of compass instead of "left" and "right" when describing move directions and step edges. Use "right" or "left" for turn directions where "right" means clockwise when looking at you from the top (right shoulder goes back).

Look at this step move description for one of my most difficult moves Reverse Box + Turn Step to straddle

Reverse Box + Turn Step to straddle (7 counts, self-reversing)
Start at the front facing north, all counts are right-left, always turn to the left
(1) Start reverse turn (turn to the left), right foot on the west corner (keep some distance from the west edge), facing west
(2) Cross both the legs on top (left in front of right) facing south
(3) Right stomps right down to the floor off the west side of the bench, facing south
(4) Start turn step left, left foot on the west edge, facing east (turn to the left)
(5) Continue turn step, right foot on the east edge, facing north (turn to the left)
(6-7) Left-right exit to the astride facing west
Next move starts left

Look for my new step routine I Feel Your Pain (Part 1) for integration sample for this move.


1. Composition is how you put your moves together in the routine.

2. Please take at least a line for every move.

3. Always write the counts and the leading foot for every move.

4. If you are doing taps between the moves please point all them out.

5. If you make any turns or room movements write always the move and turn directions. Use the point of the compass for all move directions and "right" or "left" for turn directions where "right" means clockwise when looking at you from the top (right shoulder goes back).

6. Give the new, difficult and generally unknown moves some name (systematical or just a cueing title, it doesn't matter) and describe this move count-for-count like in the sample above.

Please read my main breakdown article for the basic breakdown ideas and terms.

Author:Alexey Contact:alexey at stepcenter dot com
Views:25825 Written on:2003-08-08