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Name of Activity:

Michael Jackson's Beat It Dance (September 2010)

Purpose of Activity:

The students will be able to correctly perform the 32 count Beat It line dance, staying with the music, and be able to list facts about the 1980's. This dance would make an excellent warm-up activity!

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Music player

Recommended music:

Michael Jackson's Beat It song

Beginning dance formation:

Students are randomly spaced on the gym floor.

Description of Idea

Introductory Ideas:

Life in the 1980's: Average salary was $15,757; a BMW cost $12,000 and a Mercedes 280E was $14,800; AIDS took the lives of many talented citizens and spread among the population; Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman on the US Supreme Court; the space shuttle Challenger exploded 74 seconds after liftoff and killed all seven astronauts aboard, including school teacher Christa McAuliffe; Cabbage Patch dolls and Rubik Cubes were popular toys; Beat It won the 1983 Grammy Award for Best Record of the Year and Best Rock Vocal Performance; the lyrics to Beat It are about life on the streets.

Dance Steps:

Counts 1-8 - Walk forward RLR, raise the L knee (1-4)
Walk forward LRL, raise the R knee and pivot 1/2 turn to the L (5-8)
Counts 1-8 Place feet apart and sway hips R for 2 counts, L for 2 counts, and RLRL for 1 count each
Counts 1-8 - Grapevine R (1-4) and Grapevine L (5-8)
Counts 1-8 - Walk backwards RLRL (1-4) and jump out-in-out-in. (5-8)
Repeat the dance to a new wall.


If you are teaching younger children, you can take the turn out of the first 8 counts and continue to face the same wall for the entire dance.

If you are teaching middle school or high school students, a second turn can be added. The students will do the initial 1/2 turn during the first 8 counts and the second turn comes during the grapevines. Simply add a 1/2 turn to the L at the end of the second (L) grapevine. The students are now facing the wall that was originally to their R. You can even ask them to figure out the total number of degrees that they turned: 270!


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Michael Jackson's Beat It Dance (September 2010)

Post a Comment:

Let others know how this idea went when you implemented/tried it with your kids. Include any variations, suggested teaching tips, positive comments, etc. so others can benefit from your tips. Please be helpful and positive with all comments. Look below to see all posted comments.



Previous Comments:


Awesome Lesson. Great job presenting it.


There was a ad that kept playing over the video? Please fix that! I tried to stop the ad but for some reason it didnt work.


I couldn't access the video

Mark Manross

Can you try viewing the lesson idea on Google Chromebook or Firefox browser? Let me know if that works. Thanks. Mark Manross
Contact me at "" to let me know if that works or not. thanks.


videos are not playing...can anyone help please?

Cameron Tucker

My kids, who are from the inner city, absolutely loved this dance. It was simple enough for the less coordinated, but rhythmic enough to where more advanced students could improvise a little bit in parts of the dance where it allowed for it!

Thank you for sharing this!

Cameron Tucker
Covington Holmes High School
Health and PE Teacher


Omg amazing dance love it for the real I think that the camera was a little bit off but. Love the dance. You should make more.


Really loved the dance. But same here I don't like the angle of the camera bc I cant figure out which way to turn.


thanks i dont like the view either lol


I like your dancces but not the angle of your camera!!!
p.s. my gym teacher doesn't like the angle eather!!!


Nice Dance!!!!

seceret peson

the video isn't showing up just an empty white blank!


I love to dance all the song i hope you'll like it very much (:

Dave Hinman


Great dance! We tried it at our Harvest festival this morning and the children loved the idea. I had pre-taught the sixth grade and they in turn shared it with the rest of the students (K-5).

Thanks for sharing,

Dave Hinman
PEC Senior Editor

Linda Witt

Professor Goodwin,

Thank you for the instructional video! This is a new line dance for me and I cannot wait to teach it to my students!

I really like the concept of teaching the sequence without the turns first. What a great idea.

PLEASE continue sharing your expertise and the videos of you and your students!

Thanks, again,

Linda Witt, Brentwood Middle School
Weld County School District 6
Greeley, Colorado 80634


Is there anyway you can post a video of this dance so that I may implement in my Physical Education class. Thanks

Terri Booth

For our 2010 Spring Fling in April, we used the Al Yankovic version of Eat it, which is a changed version of Michael Jackson's Beat IT and our fourth grade danced to it. Our theme was Food Glorious Food! They were amazing! It was a dance with an opening and then after so many beats we finished our dance in the dark using only flashlights. The audience went nuts! It was really fun!

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