Taster: Lesson 1 Getting Started and Developing Movement Patterns

60 mins


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

    One of the most exciting, climatic moments of Act 1 is the tremendous battle fought between the toy soldiers who are defending the Nutcracker doll himself and the Mouse-King alongside his dastardly team of mice. All have been brought to life by the magic summoned by Drosselmeyer. In this lesson you will be using ideas and movements from this section of the ballet to inspire your dance.


    • To understand the aim of Create and Dance: The Nutcracker programme.  
    • To understand the story of The Nutcracker
    • To understand and explore the chosen theme for your dance.
    • To developing movement patterns to create non-contact group work – understanding how we can make positive physical connections with our peers.
    • To understand the concept of ‘motif’.
    • To understand how spatial directions (forward, backwards, sideways, up and down) can affect group work.
    • To develop collaborative skills.


    • History: To engage with the theme ‘conflict.’ This could relate to WWI and II, Romans, Vikings, Egyptians…etc back in the classroom.
    • PE: To master basic movements, as well as developing flexibility, strength, agility, balance and co-ordination in a range of activities. They will also become familiar with moving to music. 
    • PE: To reflect on their own and others performance and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best.
    • PE: To create and work towards a performance using simple movement patterns.
    • PSHE: To work towards shared goals and expressing a range of feelings.

  • Developing Movement Patterns

    10 mins

    Radzi talks with David Pickering about the evil Mouse King in The Nutcracker. They explore dance motif and what movements and gestures can be associated with that character.

  • The Story of The Nutcracker

    5 mins

    Introduce your class to the story of The Nutcracker through this animated video.

  • The Nutcracker - Meet the Characters

    5 mins

    Meet the key characters who bring the story of The Nutcracker to life.

  • Warming up is very important to prevent injury and to focus the mind and body for the creative activity ahead.

    The warm up is a good opportunity to introduce the characters and themes of the dance you will be creating, and begin to create movement material.

    If you were doing a dance about being in a winter wonderland, you might like to think about different activities that we can do in the snow (throwing snowballs, building a snowman, sliding and falling, sledging, etc.).

    You could create some very brief movement actions depicting these activities and ask the dancers to enact them in pairs. Any theme or idea can slot into this structure and of course your dancers’ ideas can be incorporated into the activity too.

  • Getting Started Warm ups

    10 mins

    Warming up is very important to prevent injury and to focus the mind and body for the creative activity ahead.

  • Discuss the theme you have chosen for your class, or decide as a class which of the themes you will explore. Think about your theme and ask yourself what can it do and what shapes can it make, as a starting point for your creative exploration. Remember to use very clear instructions when setting your dancers a creative task.

  • Performance and Evaluation

    10 mins

    Make time during every session to look at as much of the work created as possible. It’s great for the dancers to be able to see everyone’s responses to the tasks set, and it also gives you time to think about what is working and which direction you want to take the dance.

  • It is good practice to give the dancers the opportunity to transition from ‘dance space’ to classroom, and it may also offer some calm after an active session. You might want to use the cool down as an opportunity to discuss the dance so far, or to initiate a fun way of getting shoes and socks back on.

  • Ballet Cool Down

    5 mins

    The purpose of the cool down each week is to lower the heart rate and focus the children at the end of an exciting lesson.

  • Plenary

    5 mins

    Make time at the end of every session to discuss the learning outcomes of the lesson.