Kashmir's Warm-up

This is my warm up for my beginner class. This warm-up was presented part of an assignment for Safe Dance Practices at QUT and received a favourable response. The text has been adapted for a general audience.

The class is 60-75 minutes in duration once a week. Most students have no prior dance background and have come to dance later in life. Many students take no other exercise.

Cardiovascular Warm-up

The warm up begins with walking, gliding, sashaying, stalking, flirting, grapevining in time to music for about five minutes. The pace will vary from slow to quick. The texture will vary from loose to tense. Walking styles will include normal walking forwards, walking forwards with adduction of the hip, walking backwards, skipping forwards and backwards, stepping sideways with and without hip flexion and extension. Direction changes and turns may also be introduced. Arm movements include swinging and large swooping movements.


Next the joints are moved from head to toe. Each of the following is performed about five times (these may be done with gentle demi pliés for those who are fitter and need more large muscle movement):

The neck is flexed and slightly extended. (ie chin to chest, head slightly back)

The neck is laterally flexed to both sides. (ie ear to shoulder)

The head is rotated. (chin remains parallel with the floor, look over one shoulder then the other)

The shoulders are elevated and released. (ie lifted and dropped)

The shoulders are elevated, retracted and the scapula brought together and released.

The shoulders are both rolled forward then back.

The arms are swung from crossed in front of the body to overhead.

The forearm is rotated at the elbow.

The wrist circles while the fingers flex and extend and the arms are raised above the head.

The torso is rotated, arms wrap around the body and head turns towards the shoulder. Students are encouraged to start this in the upper spine and move it down the back with each rotation then move back up the spine again.

The pelvis rotates while the torso remains facing forward like an agitator washing machine.

The pelvis circles horizontally clockwise and anticlockwise.

The pelvis rocks up and down.

Standing on one leg. The non-weight-bearing hip and knee is flexed and laterally rotates and abducts then medially rotates and adducts. Repeat on other leg. (ie the free knee describes a figure 8)

Standing on one leg, the non-weight bearing calf is rotated at the knee then the ankle circles. Repeat on the other leg.


Walking provides a cardiovascular warm-up. Stark (1999:44) considers walking an ideal warm-up exercise and five minutes of walking a good warm-up. While Shelloch (1983:10.11.134-139) suggests continuous movement for fifteen minutes or longer using large muscle groups. However this is impractical in an hour-long class.

However, the QUT notes (2002) consider a cardiovascular warm-up to be just a start. This warm up follows the outline by Geeves (1990) without the explicit stretching, which is included at the end of the class after further drilling. The circulation is increased by large muscle activity (walking and moving arms). This also increases the internal temperature of the muscles. The joints are then mobilized.

The joints exercised from head to foot to help the student remember to move all the main joints when practising on their own. The sequence does not include small movements such as rib cage shifts or precise technical movements such as horizontal hip slides. This is because at this stage the emphasis is on large muscle movements.


Geeves, T (1990) The Difference between being warm and warming up. In Safe Dance Report, Canberra: A.A.D.E. National November
Queensland University of Technology 2002, KDB198 Safe Dance Practices notes, Brisbane, QUT
Shelloch F.G. (1983) "Physiological Benefits of warm-up" The Physician and Sportsmedicine Vol 10, No 11 pp 134-139

Return to www.bellyraqs.co.nz
for those with a general interest in the dance
"Safe Dance" page Return to www.raqs.co.nz
includes articles for the dedicated convert

© Copyright 2007
Updated by JEWEL