There are literally dozens of modeling techniques in Maya, but one of the first processes beginners are typically shown is how to create geometry by revolving a curve around a pivot.
In the long run, it's a technique you probably won't end up using as much as the extrude or insert edge loop tools, but it's perfect introductory material because it allows beginners to see tangible results very quickly.
Revolving a curve is a quick and easy way to model cups, plates, vases, columns—any cylindrical geometry that radiates from a central point. Using curves, a modeler can generate very complicated radial shapes in very little time.
In the rest of this tutorial, we'll go through the process of modeling a simple champagne flute by revolving a curve.