Jingle Bells Dance

If you're looking for a great dance to teach this time a year, I have a simple, easy-to-do one for you.  It's called the Jingle Bells Dance, obviously it is performed to the popular holiday song, Jingle Bells.  The nice thing about the Jingle Bells song is that it is a non-religious holiday song.  Most people think of Jingle Bells as a Christmas carol, however the song itself is about a sleigh ride through the snow, with no mention of Christmas.  So the song really is about celebrating winter without attaching any religious significance.  Below is a description of how to perform the dance.  I've done this dance with 1st grade through 6th grade, but you can basically do it with any level.  Best of luck with it.

The Jingle Bells Dance

Have the dancers form pairs and stand in a double circle (concentric circles) with the inside partner facing out and the outside partner facing in, hands joined.  Begin with both partners going counter-clockwise (CCW).  The outside partner will travel to the right and the inside partner will travel to the left.

Part 1: Heel-Toe

Verbal Prompt: Heel-toe; heel-toe (Dashing through the snow...over the fields we go...).

With hands joined, both partners extend one leg out in the direction they will be traveling, touching their heel to the floor.  They then both bring that same foot slightly behind them and touch their toe to the floor.  Repeat.  This is done with a slight bounce in the supporting leg.

Part 2: Slide

Verbal Prompt: Slide, slide, slide, slide, stop (In a one horse open sleigh...laughing all the way...).

After two "heel-toes" the partners, with hands still joined, slide around the circle CCW (inside partner is traveling to the left and outside partner to the right).  After four slides they stop (the stop is part of the 4th slide) and perform Part 1 (heel-toe) again with the opposite leg, which prepares them to slide back in the direction they came.  Parts 1 and Parts 2 are then repeated once again.

Part 3: Hand Clap

Verbal Prompt: Right, right, right (Jingle Bells); Left, left, left (Jingle Bells); Both, both, both, both, both, clap (Jingle all the way).

After the last slide the partners are back to where they started. They drop hands, then pat each other's right hands together three times; then their left hands together three times; then both hands together five times; then they clap their own hands together one time.  After doing the hand clap routine one time, the partners join right elbows and skip in a complete circle clockwise (CW) in place.  There are eight beats to the music to do this, which is more than enough time to do a complete circle, so tell them not to go fast, but to listen to the music and move to the beat.  After they complete the circle they drop elbows and repeat the hand clapping routine.  Once done the hand clap routine the second time, they join left elbows and skip around in a complete circe in the CCW direction.

Part 4: Switch Partners

As part of the eight beats used to complete the second circle (while left elbows are joined), you can have the dancers switch to a new partner.  To do this, have the inside partner remain in the same place once the skipping in a circle part is complete.  The outside partner, after skipping CCW around the circle, disconnects elbows from the inside partner and continues to skip in a CCW direction to the adjacent partner on the inside of the circle.  They have eight beats of music to complete the circle with one partner and then travel to the next partner.  As soon as they reach the new partner they must joinn hands and be ready to start the dance again with Part 1 (heel-toe).

Tips:

Teach the dance one part at a time and then add the parts together.

Don't add switching partners until the dancers can do all other parts.

As the music plays, sing the prompt words, for example "heel-toe, heel-toe" instead of "jingle bells, jingle bells", so that they are reminded of what to do.

If you have ankle bells (elastic straps with bells on them) let the dancers wear them...it sounds awesome as they dance.