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Name of Activity:

Heads Will Roll / Thriller Halloween Dance

Purpose of Activity:

To offer a dance that provides children opportunities to choreograph movements to match the theme of the song.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Music: Artist: Glee Volume 5 Song: Thriller/Heads Will Roll

Recommended music:

Artist: Glee Volume 5 Song: Thriller/Heads Will Roll - Available on Itunes

Beginning dance formation:

Scatter or line

Dance source:

Parts of this dance use Michael Jackson's "Thriller" Dance Moves

Description of Idea

Start when the song says "Off with your head"

Section One:
1-8 cts: Take left arm, circle it around your head (over face and back of head) 2 cts and then put arm out to left side straight with head tilted to left-2 cts. Hold four cts
1-4 cts: Pivot on right foot to move 4 cts to right (1/2 turn facing back)
5-8 cts: “Dance till you're dead” hold a “dead pose” for 4 cts REPEAT

Section Two: Start this section when the song says "Off with your head" for the third time
1-4 cts: 2 gallops forward, right then left, with arms out to sides shaking the hands low - "spirit fingers"
5-8 cts: In a wide stance, hands on knees, step back, right, left, right, left (4 of these steps back)
9-16 cts REPEAT cts 1-8
17-20 cts: Lead with right –step touch on a diagonal with the right leading, then left leading. rt hand “deal the cards”, and left hand “deal the cards” (hand shakes low as if dealing cards)
21-24 cts: Step back with left foot facing the side wall, perform two step touches as “breast stroke swim arms” 2 X’s
25-32 cts: REPEAT (cts 17-20)

Section Three: 1-8 cts: “You tried to scream.” Long slide step L and while the R comes together “shimmy” shoulders put arms by side on ct 4 (4 cts.) then clap overhead on ct. 5, arms down to side ct 6, clap overhead 7, then down ct 8.
9-16 cts: REPEAT to right side,
17-32 cts. Repeat two more times

Section Four: Chorus: Thriller
1-8 cts: Michael Jackson Thriller walk ~ Monster Claws…with hands in monster claws- walk to left 3 ct’s and hold on 4, turn claws to right (ct 5), to left (ct 6), to right for cts 7-8
9-16 cts: REPEAT other direction
17-32 cts REPEAT two more times

Repeat Section One-"Off with your head"

Repeat Section Two Shimmy forward, monster mash back, deal forward, swim back

Repeat Section Three MJ shimmy with claps

Repeat Section Four-Chorus Monster Claw walk

Repeat Section One: "Off with your head"
1-16 cts: “Darkness falls” Drop down to floor on ct 1. Take the next 16 cts to move body to a stand.
17-32 cts: Zombies walk
8 cts music has a fast beat section. Students can perform a quick jog with arms moving from sides of body to overhead. Children love to scream so allow them to add extra effects with their screams.

Repeat Section Four: Thriller

Repeat Section One: "Off with your head" to finish the dance.

Video (opens new window to YouTube)


Students have the opportunity to choreograph 32 counts in the middle of the dance, offering many opportunities for variations.

Assessment Ideas:

In the middle of this dance there is a section students can be asked to create 16 cts using non-locomotor moves, levels, and tempo changes as they become zombies. Students can be asked to create symmetrical or asymmetrical shapes with their bodies. They can move every two counts as they progress from the floor to a stand. They will create a total of 8 different shapes. They can also create their own zombie walk and perform it for 16 cts.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities

For children with mobility difficulties: This dance can be performed sitting in a chair using claps or shaking bells. Stomps or slapping on the thighs are additional movements that can be added to the dance steps. Bright scarves would also add to the movements. To meet the developmental level of K-2, facing different walls could be difficult. Adapt the steps so they stay facing forward for section one & stomp in place after arm movement. Slow the tempo down and repeat each section twice instead of four times.


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Heads Will Roll / Thriller Halloween Dance

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:


Why wont the videos work now? You need to login?

Dennis Burns

Can you resolve the video issue?


The video no longer is available. Can this be fixed? I use the tutorial.

Malos davie

this is intresting and funny


It was really fun to watch the kids.


It looks like fun. I am going to give it a try.


Did this for a Halloween themed dance lesson.. super fun! Everyone loved it :)

Jen Reid

I used this dance with my MS boys and girls classes and they all loved it. Even the guys got into it! Easy to learn. Fun to dance to!


Looks awesome!!


great dance, can't wait to try it out! thanks Susan!

Chris Reed

Dance looks very fun!

“D”. Robinson

I just got done watching the video of the dance and it looks great! I will definitely try this out with my 5th grade students. Thank you for sharing this wonderful dance choreograph.

Gina Orlowski

This is such a FUN dance!!! My kids loved falling to the floor and acting like zombies. I love the variety of speeds and levels that it offers. I am excited to teach this again when Halloween gets closer. What a great way to motivate kids into liking to dance!!

Ashley McClure

This is great! My students will love this. Thanks for sharing.

Fred Pelley

Susan is at it again. What strength and endurance. Please try it out and pass it on.

John atchison

I love it Susan, I can't wait to do this dance with my kids! The love faster tempos and MJ ;)


This is great stuff. Thank you

Miss williams

Awesome. My kids would live this.

Victoria Gatlin

I learned this dance with you at the TAHPERD conference and love it! It's a great dance. I'm going to try it with my 3-5th graders. Thanks for the creativity and ideas.

Mandy Nurrenbern

Dance is my favorite unit to teach. I haven't had the chance to try this dance yet, but it looks like some cool dance moves are incorporated, and using music from Glee has to be motivating! I can't wait to try this!

Jason Cook

I miss my dance class at Purdue!
I think I might have to teach this to my English classes if they are falling asleep on Red Badge of Courage.

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