New Tricks: YEAR 1 - Dance - Explain3

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.

Explain - Respond to dance and consider where and why people dance, starting with dances from Australia including dances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples


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.

In Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 3 ‘New Tricks’, Little J and Jacko use a hula hoop to perform their circus act. Ask students where the hula hoop originates from. Explain that Hula Dancing is a special style of dancing from Hawaii. Its movements represent the sea or fish swimming in water, and the dances tell stories that take place on the sea around the Hawaiian Islands.

From watching the ‘Mauri Polynesia Luau’ video clip, have students notice how the hips of the dancers move and the significance of the arm movements.

Ask students to nominate other cultural dances that they know about, for example:

Divide the class into smaller groups and each group develop a report on a country of their choosing, finding information about a traditional dance from the country. The report should contain four points about the dance, such as:

  1. the style of dance
  2. when was it traditionally performed
  3. the meaning of the dance
  4. the reason dance is important to the country/culture
  5. the music style and instruments
  6. the costumes and props
  7. who participates in the dance

Ask students to identify and describe how the following dance elements are evident in their dance:

  • (Where the dance is performed, how close or separated are the dancers, the types of open and closed movements, etc.),
  • (How does the tempo and metre, etc. to maintain the dance; How does the music influence the timing of the dance?)
  • (Is the energy of the dance, fast or slow, strong or gentle, etc.)
  • (How are the feet, arms and body working as one?)

The group should be able demonstrate some aspect of their researched dance. Remind students to perform the traditional dances with respect and uphold the cultural integrity of the dances.