Dance in SchoolsEducating DanceSchoolsVolcanoes and Pompeii

February 21, 2023by R.Ashton

This term I have been working with year 2 at Greenvale Primary School and our topic has been Volcanoes, Vesuvius and Pompeii. This has been my favourite topic for Educating Dance so far and the children have been absolutely amazing from the beginning of the lessons.

We started our dance by looking at volcanoes and the process of how they start to erupt. We began our topic with a visual game using 2 very long strips of red material and some scarfs on top. All the children held on to a piece of the fabric and I gave them instructions of how to move it relating the different stages of a volcanic eruption. This was a great way to help them visualise the process which we then used in the first section of our dance.

Each group created a volcano shape to start their dance and we then added in coloured scarfs – red, orange, yellow and blacks to show the colours of the lava. The children absolutely loved using scarfs in their dance and it gave a lovely layer to the meaning of the movement.

They learnt a motif as a class to show the different elements of the volcano and then they created their own volcanic eruption sections. For this each group had a piece of paper and some colouring pens – they drew their volcanos and then had to pick 5 words that represented the eruption. Each group produced some fantastic ideas and used their scarfs within their sequences too.

We then focused on Pompeii. We explored life in Pompeii and the jobs that the people of Pompeii would have done at the time. I asked the children to think about how they are moving in the space and we used different formations and floor patterns whilst creating movement to represent different jobs. We then added in a moment of stillness in the dance to represent seeing the ash cloud gather above them before using different movements to show people fleeing the city. We then looked at a variety of pictures of what Pompeii looked like before and recreated some of the shapes of the buildings – we represented our buildings by using different balances. I was really impressed by the variety of balances that the children created and how well they worked together in their groups. The last task was to brainstorm some key words to use to show the devastation of the city and they used these to create their final sequence of movement into their ending position.

I have loved working on this topic and really feel that the children learnt about their key topic through their dance activities.