DIY Dance: Hand Jive

I love using well-known and well-loved dances to inspire something new. These are a great way to connect curriculum themes with movement.

  • Begin by teaching students the basic Hand Jive set-up, saying the name as you demonstrate
    • Slap Slap (hands on thighs)
    • Clap Clap (hands together)
  • Now add one of the following after each Slap Slap, Clap Clap:
    • Hover Hover (at chest level with palms facing floor, hover right hand over left, then left over right)
    • Mashed Potato (with hands in fists, tap right hand over left twice, then left over right)
    • Hitchhike (point right thumb over right shoulder twice, then repeat left)
  • Once students get the hang of this pattern, have them choose their own movement to do, following the pattern and rhythm, ie “slap slap, clap clap, flap arms like wings” or “slap slap, clap clap, hop in a circle”
  • Try it with students in a circle, each taking a turn to demonstrate their move and having others copy it
  • Try it in pairs, with students creating a series of 4 or more movements to fit with the pattern of ‘slap slap, clap clap, something something’
  • Use this to explore themes from other subjects, such as bird habits, book characters, states of matter, land formations, or even moves from different sports
  • Try variations on the Locomotion, YMCA (aka Alphabet Soup) and the Macarena. (See this playlist for the Hand Jive and other classic dances).

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