DIY Dance: Action Words

Creative DancingAction Words

Practice language and communication skills by indentifying and acting out verbs

  • The class will choose a song (or a story) to interpret through dance
    The teacher will lead the group in identifying the verbs (action words) in the song
  • Individually or in small groups, students will create a dance move for each action
  • Students will practice their movements in time with the music (or following along with the story)
  • If there is time, have the students create movements or poses to fill the rest of the song

DIY Dance: Body Twister


Body Twister

Students mix & match body parts to create unique poses

  • The teacher will call out a series of limbs and locations on the body or in space, ie “Hand to hip,” “Knee to floor,” and “Toes in the air”
  • Students will interpret the instructions to create a pose. As long as the basic instructions are followed, students may choose their own unique way of expressing the pose
  • Try in partners or groups, indicate Right and Left, or use other body parts such as ribs, eyes or kidneys

Dance Basics Workshop

Dance Basics is an introduction to dance for students of all ages. Students will explore the curriculum’s elements of dance (body, space, force & time) through basic dance movements in a chosen style of dance. Modern, Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, cultural dance and combinations of styles are available. The movements will be combined in sequences and students will explore different pathways through space. Working together to create a short composition, students will learn basic dance vocabulary and experiment with creative movement and improvisation.

DIY Dance: In A White Room

Level-I-dancing-1.19.12-001In A White Room

Students will explore contrasting emotions and qualities of movement in imaginary coloured rooms

  • Divide the room into two spaces, using tape or furniture to show the separation between the two
  • Teachers and students will choose a colour for each of the two “rooms”, ie Black & White or Red & Blue
  • Students will brainstorm ideas and emotions associated with each colour, ie Red: fire, heat, anger & Blue: cold, water, sadness
  • Students will dance between the two rooms, using their movements to show the ideas and emotions for the colour of room they are in
  • Try labeling the rooms with animals or geographical locations, or use 3 or 4 different rooms at once

DIY Dance: Body Sculpt

IMG_1524Body Paint

The teacher will call out a body part, and students will use that part as a paint brush in creating a 3D work of art

  • Students move around the room to music that reflects the theme of the painting
  • Students will lead all their movements with the body part identified by the teacher, (ie, hands, nose, hips, right knee)
  • Working in partners, students may guess what their partner is painting
  • Try sculpting instead of painting: have students use various body parts to carve and shape a block of stone or wood to create a sculpture

DIY Dance: Freeze Dance


Freeze Dance

Students never grow out of this classic game!

  • Have students spread out in the space. When the music begins, student will move around the space in any way they choose
  • When the music stops, students must FREEZE immediately, until the music begins again
  • You can have students dance like their favourite animal, slide their feet across the floor, crawl, skip or hop while the music plays. You can also use this game to explore the elements of dance (body, space, time, energy, relationship)
  • Students can freeze in various kinds of shapes: animal poses, flat, round, long, high, low, angular or one-legged poses
  • You may have the last student to freeze (or the first one to move before the music) sit out until there is only one student left in the dancing area, but this is optional. Students who are “out” can help the teacher choose movement and freeze styles for the remaining players.


DIY Dance: Human Snowflakes

Human Snowflake

Students work together to create unique snowflakes using their bodies. I recommend a soundtrack of holiday tunes from a variety of cultures.

  • Have students draw snowflakes on large pieces of paper with markers
  • Moves desks and chairs aside or find a large (and relatively clean) floor space
  • Choose a simple drawing to begin with, and as a class, discuss how they lines in the drawing can me created by the students bodies, either by standing and linking arms or laying on the floor
  • Choose one student to be the Snowflake Director. The Director will tell their classmates where to place their bodies as part of the snowflake pattern. (The Director may need to stand on a chair to get a “bird’s eye view” on the design as it develops)
  • Once the design is complete, have the snowflake students give the Director a round of applause. You may also wish to take a photo or show other students and teachers your Human Snowflake
  • Move onto more challenging designs, or add a time limit for the Director. You might divide the students into groups to try and create more complicated designs with less bodies

DIY Dance: Flocking


This intermediate exercise teaches students to move together and communicate without speaking.

  • Have students stand in a clump, all facing the same direction. Choose a student at the front of the clump to be the first leader.
  • The leader begins to move their arms slowly, and the group behind follows. Depending on the size of the group, students at the back of the clump may not be able to see the leader, but that is not a problem. They simply need to follow the students directly in front of them.
  • After a few minutes, the leader will turn slightly and the group will follow until they are facing a new direction. The student who is now at the front of the clump will become the new leader and continue from the movement of the previous leader.
  • Once students master changing leaders as the movement turns, they can add travelling steps to their arm movements. Move slowly at first, especially with a large group, so that the students learn to move together and shift seamlessly from one leader to the next.

DIY Dance: Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror
  • Have students choose a partner and decide between them who will be partner A and who will be partner B.
  • Have the pairs stand facing each other. Partner A will begin moving, and partner B will follow, mirroring A’s movement. Then switch and have Partner B lead while A follows.
  • Try different variations in which the partners move just their arms or legs, move from sitting to standing, travel through the space. You can even try it with groups instead of pairs and have students stand in two lines, facing each other.

DIY Dance: Alphabet Abs

LOIO AbsCreative Problem Solving

  • Begin sitting on the floor with the legs straight out in front – this is your “L” shape
  • Bring the knees into the chest and hug them with the arms, head tucked in – this is the “O” shape
  • Lengthen out the legs and lie flat on your back, arms overhead – this is the “I” shape
  • Practice moving from L to O to I, and back to O.
  • Try the LOIO pattern in different amounts of time, for example: 4 counts to get from one position to the next, then 2 counts, then just one count.
  • Let students create variations on the shapes and patterns, maybe an X or a Y!