In this paper, we present an adaptive level set method for motion of high codimensional objects (e.g., curves in three dimensions). This method uses only two (or a few fixed) levels of meshes. A uniform coarse mesh is defined over the whole computational domain. Any coarse mesh cell that contains the moving object is further divided into a uniform fine mesh. The coarse-to-fine ratios in the mesh refinement can be adjusted to achieve optimal efficiency. Refinement and coarsening (removing the fine mesh within a coarse grid cell) are performed dynamically during the evolution. In this adaptive method, the computation is localized mostly near the moving objects; thus, the computational cost is significantly reduced compared with the uniform mesh over the whole domain with the same resolution. In this method, the level set equations can be solved on these uniform meshes of different levels directly using standard high-order numerical methods. This method is examined by numerical examples of moving curves and applications to dislocation dynamics simulations. This two-level adaptive method also provides a basis for using locally varying time stepping to further reduce the computational cost. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.