Dance Teacher Resources
Find Dance educational ideas and activities
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Dance in Hawai`i
Nearly every people group has some type of dance, and those dances usually reflect history and culture. Little researchers write an essay on the cultural significance of the Hawaiian hula dance. They research the role of the hula dancer as it has changed throughout time. Tip: Have small groups each perform a hula dance from a specific time period.
Michael Jackson's "Beat It" Dance
Learn this 32-count line dance. There are four eight-counts that repeat throughout the song. The steps include walking forward, walking backward, pivots, grapevine, and some jumps. All in all this is a simple and quick dance to learn. Practice the steps and then put Michael Jackson's "Beat It" on and tear up that dance floor! There is a video included; watch it to learn the steps yourself, or use the video to teach the class.
5,6,7,8 Line Dance
5,6,7,8 Line Dance is a very simple, but very fast-paced line dance. It is comprised of the grapvine steps, moving forward and backwards, moving diagonally, jumping, and clapping. There is a repeating section of the dance which calls for dancers to be creative and do their own thing. Make sure to teach the basic steps and practice it before putting on the music. Watch the video and use it to teach the 5,6,7,8 Line Dance.
Mayim, Mayim - Israeli Folk Dance
Mayim, Mayim is an Israeli folk dance done to celebrate the discovery of water. The dance is done in a circle with everyone moving the same way at the same time. If your dancers are shy and do not want to hold hands then perhaps use scarves for them to hold. Otherwise, grab hands and get moving in this fast-paced and joyful dance!
Introducing Maps Through Dance
Students are introduced to the key concepts of maps; direction, pathway/line, shape and symbol. They create the pathways and shapes they have "mapped" out on paper on the floor. They dance along the paths.
Dancing With Glee
Slide right, slide left, knee, step, run, run, rolling, pivot, turn, shake those shoulders! These moves make up the 32-count dance to the tune of "Proud Mary" as performed by the cast from the TV show "Glee". Use the video to learn the steps before you teach it or use the video to do the teaching for you. It starts out slow with the music and then picks up the pace. Get those dancers moving!
Two line dances that are similar yet different. These two dances are performed to disco music, fast and upbeat. Do grapevines, heel-toe moves, and even tuck your arms up and flap them like chicken wings. These two dances are sure to get their heart rates up in a fun activity.
Teach some dance moves to "Firework" by Katy Perry. It's such an upbeat song, you will have those dancers moving and wanting to move more! There are four 16-count parts to learn. It's not too complicated. Teach them the steps, then put it to the music. Better yet, watch the video and have the teacher in the video do all the teaching for you.
Who doesn't like playing with a parachute? Get out the CD player, find "Behind the Clouds" by Brad Paisley, and get those youngsters moving. The movements in this dance are very basic: slide steps, walking, shaking, swaying, and skipping. Doing these simple moves with music and a parachute are definitely an equation for fun! Create your own moves for your classes or even have your learners come up with some moves.
Add-On Line Dancing
This dance activity is exactly what the title says it is: add-on line dancing! Each dancer creates an 8-count piece of a line dance. They can pull from anything they have learned so far. After individuals have choreographed their 8-count, they teach it to another dancer. Then the class puts all the pieces together to make an entire add-on line dance.
Dance: Water Dancing
Examine the way water moves, drips, and splashes with an expressive dance. Learners discuss the ways in which water moves, then create dance sequences that show or describe water. There are several suggestions to adapt this lesson to meet the needs of all learners.
Analyzing Two Dances and Making a Dance Map: The Nutcracker
Students discuss dance elements and create a dance map. They choose a dance theme and incorporate movement into their dance maps and choreography. They also experiment with different types of music.
Students study weather and focus on specific dance concepts. They are introduced to different ty es of clouds and how they are formed. Next, they study wind and why it occurs.
Dancing with Dionysus
Sixth graders research Ancient Greek culture by acting in a play for the festival of Dionysus. In this Greek culture lesson, 6th graders study an ancient Greek map and the Sarcophagus Dionysus from the Walters Art Museum website. Students perform a shape movement using Greek deity symbols and study a Greek theater fact sheet. Students learn the Greek Gerenos Dance and act out a performance for the festival of Dionysus.
Summer Activities A Wake-Up-The-Earth Dance
Students practice making music and dancing. In this early childhood lesson plan, students invent music and movements with their bodies, such as clapping and hopping, to mimic how people long ago used to attempt to "wake up the Earth." Students are also encouraged to experiment with rhythm instruments.
Activity Plan Mixed Ages: Do the Animal Dance!
Students create a dance based on animal movements. In this kinesthetic lesson plan, the students will read and imitate animals in a creative way and share their dances with the group. The lesson includes a take-home activity and a math curriculum connection.
Dancing the Colors of Birds
Students explore colors through storytelling and dance. For this visual arts lesson, students view the painting "Bird and Cornstalk Rug" and identify three colors. Students express how the colors make them feel through the rhythm of percussion instruments. Students also use movement to express their emotions they get from the colors.
Arts Impact and Math
Third graders incorporate math into dancing. In this algebra instructional activity, 3rd graders identify different shapes and patterns using dance movements. They relate the different creations to polygons as they incorporate the use of stretchy bands to make the shapes.
Pouncing on Patterns
Youngsters create dances and movements to represent linear number patterns and non linear spatial patterns. In this math and dance lesson plan, learners watch videos and copy what they people in the videos do and discuss the connection between the dancing and the math patterns.
Verbs -- More Dancing Actions
Students dance and write. In this grammar lesson plan students act out verbs through dance. They brainstorm a list of verbs to act out. Students perform and describe their dances.