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Name of Activity:

Pata Pata Pat Pat

Purpose of Activity:

The purpose of this activity is to provide students with a simple, introductory rhythm/dance activity which can lead into the traditional Pata Pata folk dance, or dance in general.

Suggested Grade Level:


Recommended music:

" Pata Pata " by Miriam Makeba (can also be done without the music)

Beginning dance formation:

Students can be sitting in a line formation on the ground/floor or even at desks or tables.

Description of Idea

This is a dance I came up with to teach my students as an introductory rhythms/dance lesson. The dance is very "non threatening," as it is easy to perform and can even be done in the classroom at their desks. It is a great way to lead into the actual Pata Pata as the steps mirror the Pata Pata. Be sure to teach each step one at a time, adding on as each step is mastered (which does not take long at any grade level).

The steps/counts are as follows:

Count 1: right hand reaches out to the side and pats the ground

Count 2: right hand comes back in to pat the thigh

Count 3: left hand reaches out to the side and pats the ground

Count 4: left hand comes back in to pat the thigh

Count 5: both hands go out to form a "V" (no sound is made)

Count 6: both elbows go out to make the arms parallel (no sound is made)

Count 7: both elbow come in to form a "V" (no sound is made)

Count 8: both hands come in and clap (to make another "pat" sound)

Count 9: both hands reach up and out to the right with a clap

Count 10: both hands reach down to the left with the left hand patting the ground once

Count 11: repeat 9 (to the right & up again)

Count 12: repeat 10 (to the left & down again)

Count 13: "kick"/ push the right arm out in front of you
(halfway to raising a hand)

Count 14: right hand comes down to pat the floor in front of you

Count 15: left hand comes down to pat the floor in front of you

Count 16: right hand comes down to pat the floor in front of you

Repeat 1-16 until the music ends and have fun!


The dance can easily be done to the music or at half speed or double speed based on what would be appropriate for your level of students. On step 13 as you "kick" do a 1/4 turn to the left by spinning on the ground. After doing 1-16 a few times, skip a round of 1-16 and allow the students to simply move to the music, then begin again. Be creative and make up your own modifications.

Assessment Ideas:

Ask the students to compare and contrast the Pata Pata Pat Pat and the Pata Pata after doing both. Observe students' abilities to follow the rhythm and tempo of the dance. Ask the younger students to draw pictures of them doing their favorite part of the dance. Have older students teach the dance to a group of younger students.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities

Modify the speed of the dance as needed. Children may sit and perform this dance. They can also do this dance sitting to provide the music as others do the Pata Pata standing.

Submitted by Roger Sondergaard in Pasadena, CA. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 9/24/2001.
Viewed 50236 times since 8/24/2001.

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Pata Pata Pat Pat

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