Create and Dance Nutcracker Taster

In this taster course, introduce your class to the story of The Nutcracker, learn how to warm up the body, and stage a scene.

Introduction

Welcome to Create & Dance Nutcracker! During this taster course you will take your class through two dance sessions that will help you establish and develop movement patterns and character. Once you and your class have completed this programme you will have your very own piece of choreography.

As you go through the instructions that make up the lesson plans, you will notice that the class participants are referred to as dancers. Everyone involved in this project will be a dancer and at times a choreographer. You, the teacher, will be the creative director!

Aims of this two-lesson course:

  • You will create a dance a with your class based on the theme of conflict.
  • You will explore the soldier and Mouse King/mice characters from The Nutcracker and use their movement as inspiration for your dance.
  • You will introduce various activities to your class that will encourage your children to respond creatively both individually and collaboratively, to ideas around conflict.

Before you begin working with your dancers, think of where your dance will be performed as a conclusion to the project. Think creatively about where this might be. It doesn’t have to be a theatre. A school hall, a classroom, the yard or school field are all possible performance venues. As a small-scale project, this might work well in a school assembly or another school event such as a summer fête, a Christmas show or even a less formal performance offered up to another year group in a classroom.

The two lessons are accompanied by a film, taken from The Nutcracker Immersive course, which you can watch with your pupils and will help to support and enhance your creative process. In these films, you will meet key people who work at the Royal Opera House, including professional ballet dancers, and you will be helped to think about important strategies that will help you and your children create a really successful dance.

Please note, in these films there are references to additional features of the Immersive course. If you are interested to explore these further, you’ll find the course here.

  • Taster: Lesson 1 Getting Started and Developing Movement Patterns

    60mins

    Requirements

    • Lesson Film
    • Clear empty space
    • PE kit and bare feet
    • Choreographic ideas

    In this lesson you will explore some of the characters and one of the themes from The Nutcracker. You will be developing some movement patterns based on characters from the ballet, which you can then develop and structure in the second lesson ready to perform at your chosen event.

    Units/Activities

    • The Story of The Nutcracker
      5mins
    • The Nutcracker – Meet the Characters
      5mins
    • Nutcracker Video: Developing Movement Patterns
      5mins
    • Find out more about The Nutcracker
      5mins
    • Ballet Warm Up: Getting Started
      10mins
    • Creative Exploration: Character Poses and Travelling
      15mins
    • Ballet Cool Down
      5mins
  • Taster - Lesson 2: Perfomance Skills

    60mins

    Requirements

    • Lesson Film
    • PE kit and bare feet
    • Clear empty space
    • Costumes
    • Music
    • Means of capture

    From your previous lesson, you now have some really useful movement that can go in your dance. This week you will finish your dance so it is ready for performance! It will be useful to watch the ‘Performance Skills’ film before you begin this lesson, which is taken from the Nutcracker ‘Immersive’ project.

    Units/Activities

    • Ballet Warm Up: Structuring your Dance
      10mins
    • Creative Exploration: Travelling Across the Space
      10mins
    • Creative Exploration: Piecing it All Together
      10mins
    • Ballet Cool Down
      5mins