How to Do the Wave

Two Methods:Starting the WaveDoing the Dance

A wave is a disturbance that travels through a medium. You can see waves at the ocean, a football game, or even at a dance competition. The process begins at the equilibrium state, or when the audience is fully seated. Then a disturbance, or a person, causes a pulse through the audience, or a wave.[1]

Method 1
Starting the Wave

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    Attend a game. You need to be present at a sports game to truly create the wave. It doesn’t matter the caliber of the sporting event you’re attending. If there are bleachers and fans, you can start the wave.
    • Professional and college games tend to have the most team spirit, but high school and middle school can also pass. It only matters how willing the crowd is feeling.[2]
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    Coordinate with a group. An easy way to begin momentum for a wave is by having a group of willing participants. The wave is completed smoother when more audience members know about the wave. Make a plan with your group to talk to the surrounding people in the stands.
    • Talk to a group of friends you're planning to go with.
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    Project your voice. To help inform the people in your section, you’ll need to project your voice. Consider using a megaphone so you don’t have to strain your voice.[3]
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    Stand in front of your section. The best ways to start a wave is to stand in a visible spot in front of your section. From this front spot, you can coordinate with the audience members in your section.
    • It helps your chances of reaching more members, if you coordinate with the audience with a group.[4]
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    Tell the audience. Now it is time to countdown to the audience. You need to tell the audience, “do the wave in 3-2-1.” After counting down throw your hands up. If you have a group helping you, other people could be in the aisles. Once you start counting down make sure your group is synchronized.
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    Try again. Even after organizing, it can take a few tries to get a successful wave started. Stay in front of the audience and try again. Wait about a minute until trying again. If you’ve tried three or more times, the crowd might not be into it.
    • When your team is performing poorly or there is low morale, it can be hard to start a successful wave.[5]

Method 2
Doing the Dance

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    Choose the music. The wave is a classic hip hop dance move originated with B-Boys and break dancing. You don’t need to listen to early hip-hop to do the wave, but it doesn’t hurt. If you want to listen to the authentic stuff, put on Funk You Up by The Sequence.
    • You could also listen to contemporary rap or anything that has a groovy beat.
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    Position your arms. Hold your arms out so you’re making a “T” shape with your body.[6] Be sure that you stay loose while extending your arms. Dancing is all about staying loose.
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    Relax your shoulders. While in the “T” position, attempt to relax your shoulders. Don’t drop your arms, but try to rest the shoulder muscles. Your arms should be able to still hold with relaxed shoulders.
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    Start the pulse. Start with your right arm and flop it down so that your fingers point to the floor while your elbow points up. You could also begin by pointing your hand up and your elbow down.
    • Feel free to start with your left arm, if that feels more comfortable.
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    Move the pulse. Imagine the crest or trough of the wave must move through your arms.[7] Move the wave through your shoulders. The key is for one shoulder to move up and have the other down. Then, as you move the wave you will switch shoulders.
    • The shoulder that was down will go up and the one up will move down.[8]
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    Continue moving the wave. Once the wave passes through your shoulders, it must enter through your other arm. Once the shoulder is up, move the elbow down and move the wave into your hand. When the wave is in your hand, your hand is up while your elbow is down.
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    Bring your arm to equilibrium. Once you’ve sent the wave through one arm, it must return to the “T” shape. Only keep your arm in position until the wave comes back to this arm.
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    Practice the movement. Practice sending the wave to both sides and then reverse the process. You may need to practice a few times before you can send the wave through your arms and reverse.[9]
    • The key is to move with the music. The aforementioned song is slow enough that you can practice each piece of the wave.


  • Wear comfortable clothing instead of a tight shirt as they can tear.


  • Don't do this too much as it can cause muscle strain.
  • Don't twist your elbow the wrong way as it can hurt badly.

Article Info

Categories: Dancing