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4 tips to help boys engage in Dance

Dancing is expressive, trendy and exciting. It is also daring, healthy and stimulating. But dance is also not for everyone. So how do we get through the obstacles of kids not wanting to participate in a Dance class, when they need to. I will discuss this in this blog and provide you with a few tips to help.


When students choose to dance, they build many different skills, such as:

- creative skills

- expressive skills

- collaborative skills


They also build an awareness in different areas, such as:

- body awareness

- spatial awareness

- health and safety awareness

- emotional awareness

- spiritual awareness



To dance effectively, it requires movement, energy and enthusiasm. The movement part is achievable, but the energy and enthusiasm parts require taking risks and having confidence in yourself. Without these components, it is very unlikely a student will want to participate.

So how do we get students on board?

Here are the reasons why students don't want to participate in a Dance class:

- they didn't choose the subject and are required to do it e.g., junior students

- they don't like the genre

- they don't like the music

- they don't feel safe around the students in their class

- they don't know the students in the class

- they don't think they are capable of doing movement at all

- they think other people will mock them for it / isolate them / seclude them

- they are worried they will be put in a spotlight / worried everyone is watching and/or judging

- they feel it goes against their cultural beliefs / moral beliefs

- they are worried about body odour and other health implications

- they are worried about their body moving and people responding to that e.g., body image

- fear of injuries and/or fatigue

- lack of interest

- doesn't link to their goals / job aspirations

- it's not trendy / not socially acceptable in their social circles

- they fear being a "goody two shoes" when they are socially known for being naughty



Some common trends within these reasons are judgements and self-esteem. So, if you are going to try and get a student to take risks and participate in Dance - when they won't - these reasons should be your driving force for finding solutions.


Here are some of my tips:



1. Find a way where they can hide away from others, so they take risks comfortably



This group of boys made a fort out of chairs and then created a fantastic "touchdown victory dance" sequence. They felt more confident behind the chairs where the girls outside practising couldn't see them.


To help student(s) hide away from others, they could practice in another room or if you have time during your breaks, you could let them come into class to learn the dance before the class learns it. But my all-time favourite is allowing them to make a fort and dance in there. The reason I like this is because boys' express feelings through actions. By lifting chairs and creating, they are diverting their anxiety and also sharing ideas with their friends. During this chatting time, they could be discussing what kinds of movements they could do. Once they are in their fort, no one can see them so they can practice and be silly with their friends - and you'll be surprised how happy they are when given that chance. Without the fort, the students above in the photo appeared to not be able to choreograph movement. With the fort, they showed not only how to choreograph successfully but they also came up with perceptive ideas where they incorporated a Drama scene of the rugby game into the Dance sequence as well!


...boys' express feelings through actions. By lifting chairs and creating, they are diverting their anxiety and also sharing ideas



2. Give them silly music so they can make light of the situation



This group of boys were nervous to perform, but when they had the Chicken dance playing, they could do the Chicken Dance and then add Fortnite movements to it. The Chicken dance made light of the situation and they had a great time performing.


To help the student(s) make light of the situation and remove anxiety, allow them to dance with funny music so that they are focusing their attention on the silliness of the song, rather than the fear of judgement from the audience that is watching them dance.


Some songs could include:

-"The Duck Song" (Lemonade stand)

- Crab Rave

- The Chicken Dance

- Hamster Dance

- Crazy Frog





3. Use Tik Tok elements



This group decided to do the JGeeks dance from Tiktok and add their ideas to the ending



It is likely that students know and have rehearsed how to perform Tik Tok dance sequences with their friends. If you apply the songs or the movements that they are aware of, then they feel like they already know something and feel less anxious about learning an entirely new dance to an entirely new song. Relevance is always a game changer in the classroom, in any subject!





4. Let students have choice(s)



This group is making Bacon and Eggs out of their bodies.



Whether this be movement choice, genre choice, song choice or group choice... choice is a way where students don't feel pressured into something. Choice also alleviates pressure to make overwhelming decisions. If there is a choice between two things or there is a choice to use things that they are familiar with, this will help alleviate anxiety.


Choice also alleviates pressure to make overwhelming decisions.

I wish you luck with your Dance classes. In all situations, if something is out of the ordinary, investigate it and always try to communicate with your students to find out where the issue lies before reverting to discipline. Learners engage when they are heard.




Time, Experience, Manaakitanga.



Tovah O'Neill

Tovah's Tutoring Company Ltd



Summer holidays and 2023 afterschool online tuition is available.






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