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Get Students ACTIVE with DANCE!

Friday, April 29, 2016 - 08:58
students dancing

Dance is a fun and engaging way to get students active. It plays an important part of a balanced Physical Education curriculum because it lets students experience cultures from around the world, work in groups with others to achieve different types of ‘challenges’ (e.g. creating a dance), learn social skills that they will use in life (think weddings, proms and talent shows), make community connections, and learn about body movement while being motivated by the power of music!

For Physical Educators, dance is also a great platform to develop all aspects of physical literacy: fundamental movement skills, positive social interactions, critical and creative thinking, and the ability to confidently express themselves using their body.

5 Tips on How to Develop Physical Literacy using DANCE:

  1. Select and teach dance routines that use Fundamental Movement Skills as movements in the sequences. (See below for free video tutorials!)
  2. Flex the “rules” of dance to maximize student success; let students move around the space and don’t worry about right foot or left foot.
  3. Keep the students ACTIVE as they are learning to dance. Avoid the stand-and-watch syndrome by playing music continuously during the class while students are creating or learning dances.
  4. Develop confidence by keeping dances simple and using positive coaching cues. Use repetitive and predictable sequences that match the music sections and remind students that they can’t get it wrong as they add their own style to the moves.
  5. Integrate Living Skills throughout the dance learning experience. Explore how the dance creation experience allows students to learn about themselves, work with others, learn skills that apply to their personal lives, allows them to become leaders in the community, and demonstrate their understanding of other key concepts from your H&PE curriculum.

Simple Dances and Activities that develop Physical Literacy:

Watch Me (Whip/NaeNae) - Spice up your dance unit by arranging a “Dance Battle” where students can perform Fundamental Movement Skills and show everyone their moves as they add their own style!

Home Run Anthem - Cheer on the BlueJays with baseball themed moves for the song Home Run Anthem by Steve and B.

Sharing Dance - Support a Healthy Schools Approach by joining or organizing a community event with Sharing Dance, an initiative by the National Ballet School. Learn the full dance or the simplified version.

Developing Physical Literacy through Dance (Free Videos)

Be Fit For Life Winter Dances (Free Videos)

Council of Drama and Dance Educators

Ophea’s Instructional Dance DVDElementary, Secondary

About the Author

Melanie G. Levenberg, M.Ed. is a Physical Education Consultant and the Chief PLAY Officer at PL3Y International Inc – an international training and certification company that provides professional development workshops, pre-choreographed resources and in-school residencies on DANCEPL3Y – the world’s leading physical literacy and dance program. Get access to free video resources at and check out

Twitter: @tdfu_ed @melanieg_pl3y @dancepl3y #bubbleofawesome