Disclaimer: These tickets were gifted but all opinions are my own.
At the start of the year, we were given the opportunity to go and see Disney on Ice ‘100 years of Magic’ at the 02 Arena. We went last year and were blown away, so I was when I was offered tickets this year, I jumped at the chance!
Last year I took a 5 year old T, and a friend of mine with her daughter. This year, my husband came with me, along with T, now 6, A (2.5) and an 8 week old B! I was a little worried that perhaps A wouldn’t make it through the entire show, or that we would find it too much with B – but fortunately that wasn’t the case! In fact, it turned out it had something for everyone.
T particularly liked seeing Pinocchio (even though he’s not a character familiar to her) and also really enjoyed seeing Donald Duck, who she thought was very funny! A was delighted to see Anna and Elsa and shouted ‘hello’ very loudly before blowing them kisses, and B was kept entertained by the lights and music. For my husband and I, the highlights were the scenes from Aladdin and Mulan – both released in the nineties, so perhaps indicative of our age!
Fit to Dance
In addition to seeing the show, I’ve also been trying out Disney’s ‘Fit to Dance’ programme; a cross-curricular educational resource for schools and families. It aims to use Disney on Ice to develop children’s English and Dance abilities in an exciting and engaging way.
The resources include a four lesson English unit followed by a four lesson Dance unit. They are aimed at KS1 and, in brief, the children will have the opportunity to contribute to the creation of a whole-class story. They will then use this story as the inspiration for their very own dance routine.
The English unit encourages the class to begin by creating their character; then to decide on a suitable setting; to consider what kind of obstacle(s) their character may need to overcome; and to finish by putting it all together. T really enjoyed creating her own character and the included ‘character inspiration sheet’ was a really good springboard, as it helped her to think about the kinds of characters she might create and the characteristics they could have. She went with a comical pirate, but her setting was, somewhat unusually, a desert! T spent an afternoon creating a small world desert which gave her plenty of time to consider how her setting might be used in her story. When she had finished writing her story, she then went on to create lots of props in order to help her retell it!
The Dance resources focus on using movement to explore their character and setting, demonstrating the obstacles overcome using dance, and finally, creating an end sequence. We’ve found this more of a challenge as storytelling through dance is less familiar to both T and I than creating a story, and I suspect this might be a challenge many KS1 teachers would face too. However, Disney have some really useful resources which will help inspire the children (and teachers!) and give them some ideas to work with.
The resources include videos such as ‘Bring Your Characters to Life’ which explains how the type of character affects the kinds of movements children might make, or ‘Let’s Get Expressive’ which explains how to use gestures and expressions to help tell a story. There are also downloadable PDFs with 8-count movement ideas for a variety of characters. These are really useful for helping children to get a feel for how they might express different characters, and also gives them ideas for their own characters! In addition to these, there is music available and images from the shows to help refresh children’s memory and inspire their own creations.
If you are a teacher or home educator and would like to view the resources, they are free to access online. Alternatively, if you aren’t school-based but would like to have a go with your own children, there are resources aimed for use within a family setting. Happy dancing!