Students who don’t like to dance

Have a class that doesn’t like to dance? Me too! If my class had a choice, they would rather do anything other than dance! Instead of forcing this group of really reluctant kids to dance before they were ready, I decided to take a different approach this year. Below is how I managed to get my group of anti-dancers moving and shaking one month into term two.

  1. The very first day together all we did was talk about their feelings towards dance. I listened closely to their concerns that dance is very embarrassing. I also listening to their concerns that they would be made to move to music that they found boring or really, really awful, as my one student put it. All in all, I spent day one with my students just listening to their reasons why they didn’t like dance.
  2. On day two, I came back to them and honestly told them that learning dance was not an option at school but that I had heard all of their concerns and had some ideas on how to address their problems with dance. I made a commitment that they could always choose their own moves, own music and that they wouldn’t have to share until they were ready.   (The music comes from a pre-approved list of songs that students submitted to me.)
  3. On day three, I reassured them again that I would never put them in a position where they would be forced to dance in front of other people until they were ready.
  4. On days four and five, everyone made a dance on an app. There is a free dance app that is hilarious, called Toca Dance. Everyone’s dance was hilarious and we laughed and began to look at some of the movements that the dancers made on the app.
  5. On day six, Students watched videos of dances that they liked and shared and spoke about what they liked about the dance.
  6. On day seven, we watched a VERY simple dance together and analyzed it. We saw that there were five moves, some locomotor and some non-locomotor. Their job was to create their own dances with five moves, both locomotor and non-locomotor. Some kids chose funny moves like those from the app and some chose serious moves. All students choose their own music.
  7. On day eight, students created their own dance with a partner to a piece of music of their choosing.

 

The most important lesson for me was taking the time to understand my students’ feelings. This was a group of students that really wanted to make their own creations and not have their creative process dictated by the teacher. They also really needed a safe place to make their creations. Once both of these needs were met, lots of boogieing and shaking started to happen.

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The Author

Tammy Axt

I am a music teacher at Red Willow Public School in the Peel District School Board. I love supporting students through the creative process and grooving to music! My interests include running and trying to learn how to ride a motorcycle.

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