New Tricks: FOUNDATION - Dance - Engage2

Little J dreams of being an acrobat in a circus when he grows up. With the help of Jacko and B-Boy, he practises circus tricks in the backyard after school. Uncle Mick, a Search and Rescue officer, comes to school to talk about his work. Little J uses his circus skills to demonstrate a search and rescue procedure.

Engage - Explore, improvise and organise ideas to make dance sequences using the elements of dance


After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 3 ‘New Tricks’, engage students with the following activities to support their understanding about personal and social strengths, dance elements and techniques.

Prepare a safe working environment by uncluttering the area so students can move safely without bumping into each other, and the classroom furniture. Adhere to safe performance guidelines of the school and the education authority.

Explain that when playing sport or dancing, participants should use warm-up with stretching routines to protect their bodies from stress and damage. A warm-up and cool-down is an essential part of any movement lesson.

Invite the class to play: Balloon Bop

  1. Divide the class into smaller groups of 5–10 students and have each group form a circle and hold hands.
  2. Give an inflated balloon to each group and tell them that they must keep the balloon in the air for as long as possible without letting go of each other’s hands.
  3. Students can use their body to keep the balloon afloat but not their feet.
  4. Select a student to model how to gently keep the balloon aloft.
  5. Play the games for 5–10 mins, or until the students have warmed up.

Suggested alternative resource: School of Fish Lessons – Ocean Song Warm-up Dance,

Revisit Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 3 ‘New Tricks’ and concentrate on the demonstration of skills by the search and rescue officers. Have students note the skills each officer needs to demonstrate, and the equipment they are required to work with. Develop a class list of skills and special equipment.

Invite students to form pairs, and each pair to sit on the floor facing each other with their feet touching. Instruct students that this is a mirroring activity which means that one person in the pair will create a movement and the other will mimic it. The pairs will practise the movement three time, so that they are performing the actions identically, as if they were facing a mirror. Each person in the pair instigates two movements that the other follows. The actions to interpret are: fire, water, lost, found. Repeat the actions in sequence.

Ask all pairs to stand, facing each other. Again, they are to mirror each other’s actions for the terms: helicopter, rope climbing, hosing, and waving, etc.

Students are asked to sequence their movements so that the two sets become one set of movements. The pair can decide whether their sequence starts with them standing and moving to sitting position, or starting on the floor and moving to standing position.

Add the title music to Little J & Big Cuz and have the pairs perform their movement sequences at high, low and medium levels. Video the dance as a class performance. Play the video for students to self-evaluate what elements of the dance could be improved.

For definitions of each element, refer to: The Arts Glossary, Australian Curriculum 

Introduce the following dance terms:

  • elements of dance: space, time, dynamics and relationships.
  • locomotor, and non-locomotor movements
  • sequence

Discuss how the dance elements and concepts were evident in the students’ performance.