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Intro to Hip Motion
Exercise 1: Hip Motion In Place (1st Position)

Turn on some Latin music with a good beat and stand in First Position with heels together and toes turned out. To the beat of the music, you will begin to bend each knee, one at a time. Make sure to fully straighten each knee before bending the next one.


Beginners should keep both feet flat on the floor throughout the exercise. Later on down the road, you will begin to learn how to articulate the foot action. But for now, keeping the feet grounded will force your hips to settle into the correct positions when the knees bend.

Things to Remember

Keep the following things in mind as you practice the exercise:

  • Both feet are turned out equally.
  • Keep ankles together.
  • Bent knee bends across.
  • Straight knee and hip push backwards.
  • Shoulder line stays straight; Don't lean or sway.
  • Keep feet flat on floor (for now).
To The Music...

Start very slowly by taking 4 beats of music to bend the right knee, and then 4 more beats to straighten it again. Then 4 more beats to bend the left, and 4 more beats to straighten. Do eight slow repetitions for each leg, totaling 32 measures of music.


Take up all of each 4 beats of music with a bending or straightening action. Don't bend or straighten so quickly that you are left stuck in a "maxed-out" position for 3 out of the 4 beats.

Now double the speed of your hip changes. Take 2 beats to bend, and 2 beats to straighten. Do sixteen repetitions, totaling 32 measures of music.

Keep doubling the speed every 16 measures or so, until you are taking only one beat per knee. At that point you can stop and rest, return to the slow hip changes again, or try out some of the following rhythmic variations:

  • Rumba rhythm (Slow, Quick Quick)
  • Cha Cha rhythm (1,2,3,4&1,2,3,4&)
  • Three Cha Cha rhythm (1,2&3,4&1,2&3,4&)
  • Mambo or International Rumba rhythm (2,3,4 hold 1)
  • Make up your own rhythm!
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