SEL Movement Game: May I Have This Dance?

In addition to offering programs that help students build Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills through dance, Dancing with Class has developed a series of movement games that any educator can use to reinforce SEL skills in a fun and active way.  “May I Have This Dance?” is a relationship skills game that help students develop teamwork and social engagement skills.

May I Have This Dance?SEL Journeys

SEL Competency: Relationship Skills > Teamwork & Social Engagement

Objective:  To elevate energy and to practice listening while thinking about different dances through a fun elimination game

Space:  Big and open floor space with no dangerous objects

Equipment:  None

Preparation:  Make sure you know the commands well

Follow the guidelines from the video.  

Dance Game: May I Have This Dance?


  1. First, run through all commands as a “warm-up” round with no eliminations.  During the real elimination round, first call out commands everyone can do.
  2. The first command:  “May I Have This Dance?”- students cannot move until “thank you” is called out.  “Thank you” means students can relax.  Call this command in between each dance to reset the students.
  3. After “thank you” is called, a dance command with the number of people per team (ex:  waltz 3) follows.
  4. Dance commands:
    1. Salsa 2:  Team of 2 students dancing salsa.
    2. Waltz 3:  Team of 3 holding hands taking one step towards each other, and on same foot take a step away back or away from each other.
    3. Merengue 4:  Team of 4 holding hands doing a traveling side march in one direction of the circle.
    4. Tango:  Point to a wall without hazards and students tango to that wall.  Last one to reach it is out.
    5. Swing:  Jump in the air and yell “Chicago JUMP”
    6. Breakdance:  Point to the ground and student show off their best breakdance moves.
  5. To end a current dance command call “May I Have This Dance?”  and “thank you” (ex:  “Salsa 2” “May I Have This Dance?” “thank you” “Merengue 4” “May I Have This Dance?”).
  6. Eliminate students who do not find a team during the dance commands or when a student moves in “May I Have This Dance?” position without waiting for the “thank you” command.


  1. Remind students inappropriate behavior (pushing or pulling others in an unsafe way) is an automatic elimination.
  2. Can replace commands with other dances the students have learned.

More SEL Movement Games from Dancing with Class:

Additional Resources

EduMotion: SEL Journeys – experiential learning for  classrooms around the world.

Also, check out some of our videos from our programs!

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