Taster - Lesson 2: Perfomance Skills

60 mins


  • 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.

    Structuring Your Dance and Performance Skills

    During this lesson you will have created another section of movement for your dance, so now you will have two different sections of movement, both of which explore conflict. Part of creating a whole dance involves the process of structuring movement. All this means is that you have to decide what order you want to place the movement patterns in. There is a suggested structure for this dance in this lesson plan but of course you can make whatever decisions you and your dancers think are best.

    To perform to the best of your ability requires more from a dancer than just knowing when to do what moves and at what time. Each performer needs to understand exactly HOW to perform each moment and everyone needs to make their movements as big and expansive as possible. The dancers will also need to be reminded that their faces form an important part of the performance not just their movements.

    Your dancers will need to perform the dance as many times as possible so that they feel very secure and are able to project and perform the work to show it off at its best. If the dancers do not know the order of the dance they will struggle to perform it well.

    You need to help the dancers think about HOW to perform well and to some extent this will depend on where you are performing. If you are in a big space and you are reaching out to a lot of people then your dancers will need to be reminded that they will have focus and project their movements out so audience members on the back row can see them. Sometimes dancers need to be reminded to lift their eye lines so that the audience can see their faces and the expressions they are making.

    Lesson Outcomes:

    • Understand how different pathways can be used to develop movement patterns.
    • Use different dynamics.
    • Understand how to structure your dance.
    • Performance skills.

    Curriculum Outcomes:

    • English: Rehearse for presentation and performance. Work on verbal introduction to the piece with the teacher.
    • PE: Develop flexibility, strength and technique.
    • PSHE: Prepare children to perform publicly, acknowledge emotions before, during and after a performance.

  • Nutcracker Video: Performance Skills

    5 mins

    Radzi recaps on what we've learned so far and gets some final tips from the professionals, including former Royal Ballet Principal, Darcey Bussell.

  • Warm Ups

    Give the dancers time to review all the work they have created. It’s useful at this stage of the process to set a warm up task that allows the dancers to think about their performance skills, to extend movement and create clarity of intention.

  • Creative Exploration

    Really key to a good performance is the clarity with which the movements are performed. As well as giving your dancers time to perform the dance in its entirety several times, this final lesson is about helping your dancers achieve a good performance state. In order to make a whole dance we need to develop some of the ideas that were used in the last lesson. This way your dance will be coherent and the theme of conflict will be reinforced in an interesting way. In this lesson you will be doing creative exploration tasks that involve travelling on different pathways.

    You will need to think about where you are performing your dance and whether you have made all the adjustments necessary. For example, will you have to dance in smaller or bigger space for the performance? This will change the amount of time you have for transitions as well as spacing. Just make sure you have briefed your dancers and if possible, mark out the space of your current rehearsal room with tape. Likewise, you can do this for any adjustment, so for example, if you are performing outside and there is a tree that you are dancing around, then mark this out in your current space.

    Sometimes rehearsing can feel less interesting than the process of creating since it involves a lot of repetition so try and break this process up with some of the invigorating warm up tasks you have used in these two lessons. Also intersperse the rehearsing by allowing the dancers to watch clips of professionals in rehearsal. Take a look at the ‘Find out more about The Nutcracker’ clips that you looked through in the first Taster lesson, or there are lots more options on the ROH YouTube channel. You can create questions and discussion points for the dancers to comment on what makes The Royal Ballet dancers’ performance so engaging. Your dancers will also be really interested to see footage of themselves in the dance so try and film them to play back in order to get their feedback.

  • Creative Exploration: Piecing it All Together

    10 mins

    This exercise will help you rehearse and bring all the elements you have been working on together.

  • Perform and Evaluate

    During your final rehearsal:

    Rehearse your dance a few times and then film it and play it back to the group. Get each group to offer a positive comment on their work and a comment that will help them to perform it better next time.

    The most important thing when it comes to a good performance is ENJOYMENT! Hopefully given that your dancers have made this dance, they will be invested in it and therefore they will enjoy showing if off. Tell them how fantastic it looks and if you get the chance, get another class teacher or another class to come and watch them and feedback before the main event. This will help to boost their confidence.

    Cool Down

    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.