Widcombe Infants School in Bath had us in for their Arts Week, to teach some book themed dance workshops. We have taught there for the last 10years for their themed weeks, and we totally love going there and catching up with the teachers, who now feel like friends!
This year their theme was Julia Donaldon (which would be a great one for World Book Day too). She’s written so many amazing books – such as the Gruffalo her most famous children’s book, that it was hard to choose which one to base our dances on…
For our book themed dance workshops we went for Cave Baby for the two Reception classes, and a poem called ‘A Day in My Life’ for the year 1 and 2 classes.
Cave Baby is a story about a baby who gets told off by his parents for painting his cave when he is bored. He then gets taken in the night by a woolly mammoth, and they pass various animals along the way. At the Mammoth’s cave he encourages Cave Baby to paint the cave in his bright wild style before delivering cave Baby back home. At the end we are left wondering did it really happen, or was it all a dream?…
We used a piece of music which started creepy (as we were in a cave) and then went all frantic and upbeat for when were were doing the fast painting motifs, which the kids found really funny. We also did some animal dances based on the Mammoth, Hare, Bear, Hyena, Tiger that he encounters in the book.
The second dance was based on the poem above. We used some of the literal words and actions to inspire and create the dance, and some of the rhythms that were in the poem, to give the movement some pace and different speeds. The end of the dance we got really imaginative and ended up in the bath (not literally) writing our inspirational poems to finish. (Read the poem and it will make more sense!).
We were going to read the poem out loud while we danced, but after trying it, we decided in the end to use a piece of jolly instrumental music and just represent the poem through the dance and not have it read out loud. This worked well and the children especially enjoyed the mentions of the popular books they recognised in the poem.
It was all great fun and I hope Julia will be happy that she has inspired a day of dance workshops!
Looking forward to the next World Book Day, on March the 5th 2020.