Written by Georgie, TRS South Kent Franchisee
Last term I had the pleasure of going along to Harcourt Primary School to lead some Educating Dance sessions. After a discussion with the Year 5 teacher we decided to focus on the story they were currently reading in the class, The Wedding Ghost.
I hadn’t actually heard of this before, so the teacher kindly printed me off a copy so that I could read it too!
Their first task was to create the haunted mansion from the story! So as a whole group they became, doors, a big clock tower, a gaint bell, pillars and turrets and more to create this wonderful freezeframe. This would then become our started each week, seeing how quickly they could arrive and get into the freezeframe before we start the session.
The first session and I was SO impressed at how they all just dived right in a got involved! We did a lot of creative dances, that the choreographed themselves and honestly they looked so good, teachers were stopping by and just watching in awe!
Each session was building on more of the story, so initially we focused on the adjectives for ‘ghost’. I created a little competition to see which group would come up with the most adjectives in under a minute. The winning group had 17! They then chose a few of these words to create small motifs to later use in our dance.
I then began teaching them the beginning section of our dance, we used the idea of the creepy forest and then a select few were chose to be the main character, “Jack”, of the story exploring the woods. The groups found different ways for ‘’Jack’’ to move around them as they were all linked and intertwined. I loved seeing the different connections they created and different ways the crept and crawled through them! It really was great team work and the acting was brilliant.
Their next challenge was to work in pairs. The Wedding Ghost has some wonderful illustrations and I wanted to use this as part of their dance too. Each illustration related to a different part of the story, but I challenged them to focus on just the illustration and how they would tell that part of the story themselves. The pairs worked really nicely together, again coming up with great ideas. This was probably the most challenging section for them, but they progressed with it each week, and the results were great!
To bring our dance into its conclusion, we recapped our adjectives we had previously written. As a group we decided what words to use and then I chose someone to give us the movement we would all do. Again it was great to see how well they all worked together and supported each others ideas in this.
To end each session we played a game, one that I had completely made up myself called “Presence”. The group sat in a circle with their eyes closed, I then chose one person to sneak and stand behind another. They had to guess and see if they could feel someones ‘presence’ standing behind them! This game actually worked really well and they loved playing it (so did I!).
The Teacher was also so impressed, that they invited along another year group to come and watch the final week. Year 5 were quite nervous but more excited to show their wonderful dance. The other year group were also very excited to watch. I could see them all completely focused as the group were performing (honestly you could have heard a pin drop the concentration was great!) Now as it is a ghost story, I thought it maybe good to end in a very scary way. So, at the very end of their creepy dance, they slowly walk backwards staring at a particular audience member until they all.. SCREAMED!
And it worked! The poor class watching jumped out of their skins, but luckily they also found this very funny! And so did year 5!
It was an absolutely wonderful term working with year 5. I was so impressed at their supportiveness, choreography and their memory (the dance ended up being almost 10 minutes long WOW!). they worked so hard and they all came up and thanked me individually, which was so lovely. I cannot wait to go along again to Harcourt Primary soon!