New Tricks: YEAR 1 - Dance - Elaborate3

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.

Elaborate - Present dance that communicates ideas to an audience, including dance used by cultural groups in the community


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 to students 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.

As a class, explore the traditions of Shadow puppets, such as:

Ask students to observe that the movement of the puppet is viewed as a black silhouette on a white screen. Have students consider the size of the puppets can appear larger when the puppet is further from the screen, and smaller as they move closer to the screen.

Set up a large white sheet in the classroom with a light/lamp behind it. Have students practise walking between the lamp and the screen to observe the changing size and shape of their movements.

Divide the class into groups of 3–5 students and set them the task of selecting a nursery rhyme to tell through shadow puppetry, using themselves as the puppets. Each group should choreograph the movements of each character in the story, and practise the sequences in the narrative. Remind students that, in shadow puppet dancing, their movements need to be exaggerated so the story is clearly communicated to the audience..

Perform student dance sequences to a live audience (parents, family or other classes in the school). Film the puppet dance sequences. Have students self-evaluate their progress with designing the dance for a purpose.Ask students to identify and explain how they have used positive and negative space in their dance movements.