Teaching Dad to Dance


When asked, “Who can dance worse than you?”, often the answer is “Dad” (with apologies to fathers out there, many of whom are really, very good movers and shakers). 

Photo of Yellow Wheel , Photography by Maylei Hunt

Teaching Dad to Dance (TD2D) was developed by Ausdance VIC, with prior support from Independent Schools Victoria (ISV). The program was launched and introduced to a cohort of generalist teachers during ISV’s Arts Learning Festival 2017 in early May. Through support from ISV, Ausdance VIC successfully delivered a pilot TD2D program at St Mary of the Cross MacKillop.

In this program, roles will be reversed – the primary school students become the teachers and leaders. Students show their ability to comprehend the basics of the dance moves and work on effective communication skills by teaching others the routine. The program provides students with artistic and collaborative opportunities in an enjoyable, supportive environment, and enables students to be the leader, building on leadership skills.

We understand that not all families have a paternal figure. Students can encourage their grandfather, uncle, brother, male principal or teacher in the school to participate.

Where this is not possible, Mum can pop on a fake beard or moustache, but we encourage Dad to have a go and be the best dance man around for miles.

Themes explored through this program are:

  • Improved communication skills – Before teaching Dad to dance, students must learn the movements and short routine, process and be familiar with the movements physically and internally. Using verbal dance cues, students will translate the dance movements into clear instructions to teach Dad. The student takes on the role as the teacher, and will work on their ability to teach (communicate) the dance moves. This also builds on the student’s leadership skills.
  • Inspired creativity – Drawing inspiration from the dance style learnt, students will be introduced to basic choreographic skills and work together (or on their own) to choreograph an additional 16-counts to add onto the existing routine. Students will be guided through basic choreographic tools which include the manipulation of time, space, relationships and dynamics, along with simple choreographic devices such as canon, unison, contrast and repetition.
  • Cultural understanding: Knowledge of diverse dance styles – Students will be introduced to basic moves from diverse dance styles – Jazz, Urban, Ballet and Latin Fusion.

The program addresses the Australian Curriculum; the Arts – Dance: Bands 3 and 4, and Bands 5 and 6. It also addresses General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum – Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability, and Intercultural Understanding.

In 2018, Teaching Dad to Dance (TD2D) is delivered through Regional Arts Victoria’s Arts & Education program.