Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Kinesiology and Health Promotion

First Advisor

Dr. Heather Erwin


The first part of this study sought to validate the System for Observing Dance Activities in the Classroom Environment (SODANCE) based off the System for Observing Fitness Instructional Time (SOFIT). Female students age 11-17 years (N=42) participated in an activity protocol of SOFIT activities and common dance activities to validate appropriate coding categories. Each student wore a heart rate monitor and accelerometer while participating in the activities lying, sitting, standing, walking, running, single leg balances, leg swings, pirouettes, and leaps. Heart rate, maximum heart rate percentage, heart rate reserve percentage, vertical axis accelerometer counts, and vector magnitude accelerometer counts for each activity were classified as light, moderate, or vigorous. Ultimately heart rate reserve data was determined to be the best indicator of physical activity. The chi squared test was used to determine if there were significant differences in the proportion of subjects whose heart rate reserve data classified the activity as light vs. moderate vs. vigorous. Based upon the heart rate reserve data, each activity was assigned a SODANCE activity code of 1-5. The dance activities were coded as single leg balances 4, leg swings 4, pirouettes 5, and leaps 5.

The second part of this study aimed to use the SODANCE instrument to collect data about the physical activity levels, time spent in MVPA, time spent in different lesson contexts, and frequency of teacher promotion of activity. Four different secondary (grades 6-12) dance technique classes (ballet or contemporary) at a public performing arts school were each observed four times using the SODANCE instrument. Students engaged in MVPA 40.62% of the time. Percentages of time spent in SODANCE lesson contents are as follows: management 9.53% (n=280), knowledge 22.29% (n=655), fitness 6.94% (n=204), technique 44.04% (n=1294), choreography 17.19% (n=505), and other 0.0% (n=0). Percentages of teacher interaction are as follows: promotes in-class activity 27.67% (n=813), promotes out-of-class activity 0.27% (n=8), and no promotion 72.06% (n=2117). These data suggests that dance technique classes offer equitable or more MVPA than physical education classes, but still short of the national recommendations.