Folk Dances for Social Distancing

Folk dances for social distancing: Examples of folk dances you can do with your students in music class while remaining six or more feet apart!

Are you wondering how to keep students moving and dancing, while also social distancing? Last week, I wrote about singing games for social distancing. In this blog post, I’ll detail five folk dances that could work well for social distancing.

Before I begin, a disclaimer: I’ve heard some music educators discuss how folk dancing might not be safe during COVID-19, because it is a form of exercise, and students might be breathing heavier. It is something to consider, for sure. A solution may be to have students dance for a shorter time. I suggest speaking with your administrator about this, to see how he/she would like you to proceed.

Here are five folk dances that could work well for social distancing:

L'Hereu Riera: A Catalan folk dance

I learned about this dance on Facebook, from my former teacher and mentor Joan Litman. This could work really well for social distancing!

This folk dance naturally sets students up for social distancing! With two flat sticks, like these, you could set students up for success! (Note: the link is a referral link.)

Sesere Eeye

This is a dance from the Torres Strait Islands that I learned years ago and have really enjoyed teaching. The dance can be done in straight lines, with students being social distanced. This video is of my Kodály Level I class at DePaul University performing the dance; if doing with students, you would spread out more than we have here.

I love a Rainy Night

This dance, one of my favorites, can be found here. Typically, the dance would be done in a longways set. To adapt, students could be standing in lines, socially distanced, all facing front. For the 8 counts in which they would switch spots with a partner, you could have them adapt the dance and create another move they can do safely! For example, they could pat their laps 4 times and then clap 4 times instead.


I love that in this video, the dance is being performed while socially distancing! The only part of it that looks like it would need adapted is the part in which dancers walk in. Just like with “I love a rainy night,” you could have students create another move for that part.


This dance is great for social distancing! Students could stand socially distanced in lines (spread out more than in this video), all facing front, and could still perform!

Wanting to index other folk dances? Sign up below to receive a folk dance index for social distancing.

You can find this folk dance index as well as other long-range planning materials in this set: 

I hope you are able to find other dances that students can perform while social distancing, so that they can be engaged, move, and stay safe! Happy planning, and happy dancing!

2 Responses

  1. Hi Aileen☺ Thanks for all the tips during this crazy time. We have just been told that we will be doing music in their classrooms to avoid hallway travel. Any tips for that kind of close space teaching ?

    1. Hi Ruth! I think you could still do some of the same dances, activities, etc. that you’d do in a normal music class but they’d have to be adapted. For example, students could learn a dance where they stand behind their desks in their own space. Students could watch a video of you teaching a song and sing along in their heads. Students could play singing games, without singing (and with social distancing!) Students may be able to play ukulele, but you have to check with your district to see if they could (potentially they’d wash their hands before and after, and you could disinfect the instruments afterwards?) Body percussion could also work well. I am thinking that if I have to be there in person, we may be doing more 1:1 Chromebook work than what I would typically do. Hope that helps!

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