by Mirko Turla
Vertical step is a great way to spice up your step classes as it requires your students to focus on directions more than they would have to in a traditional horizontal step class. It also adds challenge to you, the instructor, as the teaching and the breakdown have to be thought out very carefully and logically. This is because, as the participants face the sides rather than the front of the room, they will find it harder to look at you whilst you teach, whether they are stepping on the left or the right side of the step.
So while you layer the changes, you must always make sure that participants
are able to see you comfortably without having to strain their necks. I like to include a few moves that face the back of the room to stimulate my advanced participants. If you opt to do this, you must break down the moves facing the class first so that everyone can follow, and then insert them later on in the routine when your participants will be facing the back. This is why it is so important that you plan the finest details of your breakdowns and never leave any aspect of them to chance.
Another key element in designing your breakdown is balance. Generally, holding patterns like ‘switch curls’, ‘cut corner’ and ‘over the top’ will make your participants go from the right to the left side of the step while balancing the leg work. By using these moves, you will ensure your students have a balanced workout and are still able to look to the front and follow the breakdown.
The following block of choreography includes rhythm changes, direction changes and athletic insertions to give you lots of fun elements to play with. The breakdown (inclusive of all its holding patterns) is designed to balance the legwork, maximise student’s visual perspective so that they can see you at the front of the room, and make your life easier. Enjoy!
Currently based in Hong Kong, but originally from Italy, Mirko is a group fitness instructor, teacher trainer, aqua fitness lecturer and international presenter who has worked in the fitness industry for the past 10 years.
NETWORK MAGAZINE • WINTER 2007 • PP59-62