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Dance Like No One Is Watching

International Dance Day is on 29 April

by Claire Law

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To identify the benefits of dance and explore some dances from around the world.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the following videos and the means to show them during the assembly:

    - the theme tune for Strictly Come Dancing, available at: (0.49 minutes long)
    - ‘World Dance Day Official Invite’, available at: (1.27 minutes long)
    - African drumming and dance sequences, available at: (2.09 minutes long)
    - Diwali - a traditional stick dance, available at: (2.00 minutes long)
    - Samba - an introduction, available at: (4.26 minutes long)

  • You will also need:

    - three students who have been prepped to act as judges. Each student needs to sit on a chair at the front of the assembly to the side and have available a mini whiteboard, a whiteboard pen and an eraser.
    - three staff members who are willing to perform the dance shown on the three videos. You may wish to give them the video beforehand so that they can practise! If staff members are unwilling to help with this, ask some students instead.


  1. Welcome the students to the assembly. Explain that you are going to play some music that may give them a clue as to the theme of today’s assembly.

    Play the video of the theme tune for Strictly Come Dancing without displaying it.

  2. Ask the students whether they can identify the music and go on to confirm that it is the theme tune for Strictly Come Dancing. Explain that today’s assembly will be celebrating all things dance! This is because 29 April is International Dance Day, a day that was created by the United Nations to celebrate dance and to encourage participation and education in dance.

  3. So, what are the benefits of dance?

    - Dance is unique because it uses and strengthens our emotions, cognitive skills, physical abilities and social connections, all of which are vital skills for daily life.
    - Dancing is a great way to raise our heart rate. It also makes our muscles work hard, which helps to maintain and improve strength.
    - Dancing requires us to use lots of different parts of our body, from our head and neck right down to our toes.
    - Dancing often requires our upper body to move in one direction while our lower body is doing something completely different. This change in pattern of movements keeps both our minds and bodies active, strengthening our concentration, coordination, balance and agility.
    - Research also suggests that dancing has a range of benefits for our mental health and well-being, increasing our mood and decreasing any anxiety.

  4. Point out that dance is full of variety: there are many different styles of dance worldwide. Explain that you are now going to show a brief video from International Dance Day 2019, which shows some of the ways in which people around the world got dancing last year.

    Show the ‘World Dance Day Official Invite’ YouTube video.

  5. So, now that we know what International Dance Day is, and a bit about the benefits of dance, let’s celebrate some dances from around the world by staging our very own Strictly Come Dancing competition!

  6. To welcome the judges, call out the names of the three students who have agreed to be judges and invite them to come and take their seats at the front.

    To welcome the contestants, call out the names of the three staff members or students who have agreed to participate and invite them to come to the front.

  7. Explain that the competition will involve watching three videos, each of which shows a different dance from around the world. Each contestant will be asked to perform one of the dances for the audience, and the judges will provide the scores.

    Note: this is meant to be a bit of fun, so the contestants don’t need to have much more than a quick go at the dances, unless someone is particularly skilled.

  8. Show the first 30 seconds of the ‘African drumming and dance sequences’ video.

    Invite the first contestant to join in with the video and demonstrate the dance for another few seconds. During this time, the three judges should write a score on their whiteboards.

    After the dance, thank the contestant and invite the judges to hold up their scores. Announce the total for this dancer.

    Note: you will need someone to keep a record of the scores so that you can announce a winner at the end of the three dances.

    Show the ‘Diwali - a traditional stick dancevideo for about 30 seconds from 0.40 minutes.

    Repeat the steps for the first dance with the second contestant.

    Show the ‘Samba - an introductionvideo for about 30 seconds from 3.41 minutes.

    Repeat the steps for the first dance with the third contestant.

  9. Thank the judges and contestants for taking part. Point out that they have demonstrated that dance is part of cultures all around the world, and that it is good for our physical and mental health.

Time for reflection

Changing the tone slightly, let’s be still for a few moments while we reflect upon the role of dance, not only for our own well-being, but also as a way of expressing our beliefs.

Dance and religion have been connected for a long time. There are some religious traditions where dance is regarded as something that gets in the way of a person connecting with God. For example, there are some forms of Islam where dancing is considered haram (forbidden), and in some Jewish and Christian communities, dancing between men and women in public is forbidden.

However, there are many other religious traditions that recognize dance as a form of expression and of prayer. In the Bible, Psalm 149 includes the verse, ‘Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp.’ In this way, dance is understood to be one way in which people can praise God and express their love for him.

Let’s think about the following questions as we consider the importance of dance.

- What is our own attitude to dance?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- Is dancing something that we already do and enjoy?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- Are we too embarrassed to dance?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- If we are too embarrassed to dance, do we want to feel more confident to enjoy dancing?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- Do we see dance as a way in which we might express ourselves?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- How do we feel about the idea that we can show our love and praise for God through dance?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Now that weve reflected on what dance means to us, let us conclude our assembly by expressing these thoughts in prayer.

Dear God,
We thank you for the fun that weve had today.
Thank you for the willingness of people to have a go at dancing!
Thank you that we can enjoy ourselves in taking part in many things, even when we may not be talented at them!
Thank you that you have given us the gift of music, and the ability to express ourselves through dance.
We thank you for the ways in which humans around the world have been creative, finding ways to communicate through various dance forms.
We pray that we can find many ways to successfully express ourselves.
We thank you for the gift of dance as one of these ways.


‘World Dance Day Official Invite’, available at: (1.27 minutes long)

The theme tune for Strictly Come Dancing, available at: (0.49 minutes long)

Publication date: April 2020   (Vol.22 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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