La Fille mal gardée: KS2 Schools Workshops in Birmingham

In February 2011, we worked with four schools across Birmingham to explore the ballet La Fille mal gardée. Rachel Hester, a former Birmingham Royal Ballet First Artist, and pianist Ian Richards visited Kingsland Primary School, Bourneville Junior School, Oval Primary School and Grendon Primary School and gave KS2 pupils an introduction to the classic ballet.

Through the workshop the children:

  • gained an insight into the ballet's themes and characters
  • learnt steps and mime from the ballet
  • listened to and interpreted to ballet's music using their own movements
  • learnt to work together in a team and with professional artists

  • The project challenged the perceptions of ballet, inspired to children and teachers and gave them an insight into the world of ballet.

    'The artists addressed the stereotypical view of dance and looked at the collaboration of music and dance very successfully, in an enjoyable environment. ' Teacher, Grendon Primary School

    'What a fantastic experience for the children – it gave them a glimpse into another world. ' Year 6 Teacher, Grendon Primary School

    'A small group of the boys thought that ballet was for girls. The workshops were effective in changing those stereotypical views.' Teacher, Grendon Primary School

    'Now I think it’s like a martial art, only more graceful and with music!' Year 5 Pupil, Grendon Primary School

    'Some children felt that ballet was too high brow or gender based. But they found it enjoyable and afterwards they were able to understand it.' Teacher, Grendon Primary School

    'The boys thought ballet a bit ‘girly’. They were amazed by how hard it was.' Teacher, Kingsland Primary School

    A number of teachers identified some of the skills that they saw their pupils using and developing within the workshops:

    'Development of coordination, cooperation, musicality and rhythm.' Teacher, Grendon Primary School

    'I saw huge amounts of enjoyment, and the children developed a range of movement skills, as well as collaboration and team work skills.' Headteacher, Kingsland Primary School

    'Thank you once again, you now have even more enthusiastic supporters, many I feel for life.' Headteacher, Kingsland Primary School

    'It was so fun to do it with a piano and not a CD! The ballet has inspired me to jump real high and learn to do a polka step.' Pupil, Grendon Primary School

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