Dancing Vectors

'Explore and practise the concept of position vectors through dancing!'

Moves you never knew you had! Dancing Vectors introduces the idea of vectors as units of movement using the analogy of a dance routine! Each move from the routine is defined by a displacement vector (embellished a little for fun). Practise and perform a dance routine to music based on the instructions given as vectors that tell you how far to move and in which direction. Then use the analogy to help solve vector problems!


You will need these  Routine Cards to help. There is a printable  Dancing vectors quick guide for teachers, a  follow up worksheet and  Dancing Vectors teacher notes for this activity. You will also need a coopy of 'Hot Stuff' by Donna Summer to listen to!  Hot Stuff on Youtube.

Activity in Action

Here is a video of a class doing the dancing vectors routine. Notice that some of the students are holding the vector map as their guide!

The Moves

Four dance moves are defined and demonstrated, with the use of volunteers.

  • Vector a – the jump
  • Vector b – the slide
  • Vector c – the diagonal reach
  • Vector d – the diagonal twist

Here is a short video demonstrating the four different vectors involved in this routine to help get the class going!

These moves are practised without music and then with. Volunteers/students are given Laminated ‘Routine cards’ with dance routines shown as Vector combination diagrams.

Discussion – vectors c and d can be expressed as combinations of a and b.


This activity can be a little heavy on preparation but it really, really is worth it! Not only is it a lot of fun but it is really powerful way of understanding the concept. There are a few things needed to make this activity really work;

  • A print out of the vector maps, ‘Routine Cards’ and ‘Five went Dancing’ (link included above)
  • A space large enough for the class to move freely in
  • A copy of 'Hot Stuff' by donna summer (available also through youtube here)
  • Some speakers!
  • Access to the video on the website to demonstrate
  • Some preparation time
  • A video camera if possible!


The combinations are ‘Introduction’, ‘Verse’ and ‘Chorus’ and these are practised individually before being combined. This is then done to music ‘Hot Stuff’ Donna Summer.

The introduction uses only a and b, the verse introduces a different combination with some negatives and the chorus uses c and d.

5 Went Dancing!

For the second ‘verse’, there is an alternative routine, where 5 dancers each have their own routine to follow involving – in one case - half vectors. This is performed  between the intro and the chorus for the 2nd verse.

The whole routine can be put together for a run through the first 2 verse and chorus cycles!

Routine Cards

Follow up Worksheet

The following is just a screen shot of the follow up worksheet to give an idea of what it contains. The worksheet builds on the ideas from the dance.


Here follows an outline of the task; 

  • Teacher introduces and defines the concept of a displacement vector and uses the four vectors a, b, c and d as defined by the activity to help them.
  • Students practise the four different displacement vectors and some simple combinations.
  • Teacher and students begin the put the routine together by doing an 'introduction' as defined by the routine first without and then perhaps with the music.
  • Then the next part of the routine without then with music.
  • Try to run through the whole routine a few times working towards a final performance (this should be recorded on video!)
  • There should follow a discussion on the collective effect of the different combinations of vectors.
  • Students complete the associated worksheet.
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