Marietta Mehanni

Splash Dance

Aqua article Splash Dance Marietta Mehanni aquatic specialist fitness guru presenter mentor

Written by Marietta

November 28, 2013

Do you like to dance?

Dance is the movement interpretation of music. Most instructors would say ‘Yes’ because we often use exercise as a movement interpretation of music, and perhaps that is why we like this form of exercise.

Do you find yourself dancing, or bopping to the beat, or at least tempted to during a class?

News flash! – Don’t hold back! Often what you desire to do will also be what the participants crave to do as well.

Music, Music, Music!

Music is an effective tool to motivate participants; thus, the choice of music based on the likes and dislikes of class members is essential. Using music with the appropriate bpm and “going with the flow” is less than ideal. Firstly, consider using well-recognised music and songs with strong vocals. Secondly, avoid focusing on genres of music that are indicative of the age of the participants. In other words, using 60’s music because the participants are in their 60s is unimaginative and categorising. That is not to say that 60’s music is not fun, but other genres of music also motivate and excite participants, including more recent releases. Use music to make every class an experience rather than just a workout.

The facility’s acoustics: The acoustics of most pool halls leave much to be desired. High ceilings and tin or concrete walls cause the sound to bounce off them and echo. Not to mention that there are usually children screaming, swimming teachers yelling and PA systems drowning out your instructions. The result is that carefully chosen music can be lost. This is another reason why well-known songs are the most appropriate. If participants know a song already, they can fill in the sections that get “lost in space.” Songs with incomprehensible vocals and large amounts of bass usually won’t work well in indoor pools.


The best way to know whether the choreography works well in a class is to try the moves in the water yourself. Then, as an instructor, you will know whether the exercises will result in a beneficial workout. If you are an instructor who mainly teaches from the pool deck, this will assist you in understanding how the body moves differently in the water. If you are an instructor who teaches from the pool, experimentation should happen outside class as this is the most appropriate time to plan your lesson – not during it.

Consider working with moves you are familiar with and adding a different arm line, rhythm change, or combining two or more exercises to create a new move. An idea that can spark creativity is to write down all your favourite exercises on separate pieces of paper. Put the exercises into a container and, without looking, pick out two or three exercises. Your challenge then is to combine these moves so that they create a new move. This strategy assists instructors who are challenged with thinking ‘outside the box.’ You could also do the same with arm actions. Write these on separate pieces of paper and then pick an exercise out of the container and one arm action and see if these can be combined to create a new exercise. Playing with familiar moves in this way can assist instructors who have classes that are stubborn with trying new ideas.

Working with other instructors

We each have a distinctive pattern of initiating choreography, developing moves, and conceiving concepts for a workout. “Thinking outside the square” can be challenging at times. However, working with fellow peers encourages us to consider other possibilities.

Another reason to contemplate working with your peers is the fun aspect and the opportunity to “talk shop.” If teaching has become a job or chore, it’s time to work with others and revive your initial enthusiasm.

Are you ready to take your aquatic fitness classes to the next level?

The Aqua Immersion Conference is a must-attend event for any aqua instructor looking to up their game. You’ll learn exercises that you can deliver in your aqua classes, discover the optimal methods to keep your head in the game and your body in peak health and performance and connect with other like-minded and passionate people.

Register today!

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  1. Excellent article on music in the water…..I admit I get energy from the music I choose and most
    of my participants seem to like my music…they even suggest songs and moves.

    • I’m glad you found the article on music in water to be excellent! It’s true that music can have a powerful effect on our energy levels and overall experience. It’s great to hear that you choose music that energizes you and that your participants seem to enjoy it as well. It’s also great to know that your participants are engaged and even suggest songs and moves. It’s always a good sign when participants are invested in the class. Keep up the good work and keep experimenting with different types of music to create a fun and energizing workout experience for you and your participants.


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