Marietta Mehanni

Splash Dance

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 are drawn to 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 can be used as an effective tool to motivate participants, and thus the choice of music based on the likes and dislikes of class members has a significant level of importance. The idea of using a CD with the appropriate bpm and “going with the flow” is less than ideal. Firstly, consider using music that is well recognised and songs with strong vocals. Secondly avoid focusing on genres of music that is indicative of the age of the participants. In other words, using 60’s music because the participants are in their 60’s is unimaginative and categorising. That is not to say that 60’s music is not fun, but there are other genres of music that also motivate and excite participants including more recent releases. Consider using music that will make every class an experience rather then just a work out.

Acoustics of the Facility: The acoustics of most pool halls leaves much to be desired. High ceilings and tin or concrete walls causes 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 will be able to fill in the sections that get “lost in space”. Songs with incomprehensible vocals and large amounts of bass are usually the types that won’t work well in an indoor pool environment.


What better way to know whether the choreography works well than to try the moves in the water yourself. 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 time as this is the most appropriate time to plan your class – not during it.

Consider working with moves that you are familiar with and adding a different arm line, rhythm change or combining two or more exercises together 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 exercise 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. 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 had turned into a job or chore, it’s time to work with others and relive your initial enthusiasm.

“Love Changes Everything”

  1. Wide jog with alternate arms scooping to chest
  2. Right and left leg tap to side and then feet together
  3. Chorus: Single leg kick to the front, side, back and side, repeat on opposite leg
  4. Chorus 2: Single leg kick to the front, side, back and side and 4 x alternating straight leg kick to the front, repeat sequence on opposite leg

“Sunglasses At Night”

  1. Cross country ski with knees lifting to chest and both arms scooping across chest
  2. Single leg tapping in front and behind body with knee lifting up and swivelling around. Same arm as leg scooping across body in opposite direction
  3. Chorus: Cross country ski with a double bounce action. Arms pushing to front and side in opposition to front leg

“Running Up That Hill”

  1. Pendulum with figure of 8 arms
  2. Rocking horse with double arm scooping back and butterfly forward
  3. V kick with single and double arm reach to each foot

“Pleasure And Pain”

  1. Alternating flick kick with alternating arm swing
  2. Asymmetrical straight leg swings – right leg swing back, left leg swing to side. Repeat in the opposite direction
  3. Chorus: Feet wide, elbows at side, palms pushing in and out from waist – 2x slow, 3 quick. Option 2 – add jumping jack legs. Option 3 – add knee lift jacks on slow and straight legs on quick action

“Morning Train”

  1. Swivel scissor legs with arms swinging around body
  2. Feet wide, single arm push across body and scoop back. Alternate sides
  3. Chorus: Mambo jog on the spot and travelling up and down pool. Change legs

“Hungry Like A Wolf”

  1. Jogging with alternate bicep scooping action pulling up water from behind the torso
  2. Feet astride, both arms scooping bicep scooping action pulling up water from behind the torso
  3. Chorus: Donkey kick – alternating, 4x on each leg and a combination of 4x alternating and 4x repeater

“White Wedding”

  1. Jogging with alternate arm action to front and side
  2. Single leg kick to front and back – starting small and slowly getting a larger range of motion
  3. Chorus: Double jump jack – in, in, out, out with knees lifting and both arms breast stroke in and reverse stroke out
  4. Alternate leg kick to front and back with arms pulling forward and back in the opposite direction to legs

“Let’s Go All The Way

  1. Feet wide, 2x upper cut punch on each arm. Option 2 – open hand into a cupped position. Variation – 2x upper cut and 1x scoop back across body to swap arms
  2. Chorus: Double kick on each leg with arms pushing to front and side in opposition to front leg

“Turning Japanese”

  1. Jumping jack with rolling hands
  2. Asymmetrical kicks – right to the front, left to the side, with opposite arms reaching to either foot. Repeat on opposite side
  3. Chorus: Jogging with arms moving forward, forward, side, side and 4x down. Turn the body 90° after 2 repetitions
  4. Frog jump – knees coming up together and opening out as the body comes down, with feet still together. Arms imitate similar action to either side

” The Stroke”

  1. Feet wide, alternate arm horizontally adducting and abducting
  2. Feet wide, single arm reach across body x3 and scoop back across torso. Variation – add 3x knee repeater as reach is being performed
  3. Chorus: Feet wide, single arm reach across body x3 and breast stroke with a knee tuck jump at the same time

“Ride Like The Wind”

  1. Right knee pulling into chest whilst left knee jumps up. Both arms scooping water towards torso from left side. Repeat on opposite side
  2. Chorus: Side to side kick with both arms scooping downwards
  3. Feet together, ariel jack
  4. Charlie Chaplin scissor legs with straight arms pulling fwd and back
  5. Combination of ariel jack and Charlie Chaplin scissor legs

“Back To Life”

  1. Single leg horizontal adduction and abduction with arms moving water in opposite direction
  2. Chorus: Figure of 8 with straight leg
  3. Jogging single, single, double (hold)
  4. Single leg swinging forward and back with arms alternating forward and back

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

  1. Feet wide, sway arms across body
  2. Hamstring stretch
  3. Hip flexor stretch
  4. Rotation back stretch
  5. Quadricep stretch

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