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The classic fairytale of 'Twelve Dancing Princesses' is told using interpretive dance. Twelve princesses line up in their dormitory to be inspected by their father at bedtime. He conducts them into their beds and says goodnight. As soon as he’s left the room, the princesses' silver slippers start to twitch. The princesses get up and put them on and leave through a magic wardrobe only to return just before dawn their shoes scuffed and soiled. When the king comes to wake them he’s bemused by their ruined shoes and sets a prince the task of watching them. The princesses are clever and trick the prince into drinking sleeping powder in a glass of milk, so they slip out in the night again. The next night the king leaves a soldier to watch over them – he only pretends to drink the milk and follows them out through the wardrobe. He sees that they go to a magic grotto to dance all through the night. When he tells the king what he’s seen, the princesses think their dancing days are numbered, but then the king returns in dancing shoes and wants to go with them!
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
22 March 2011

Classroom Ideas

Ask the class to watch the clip and as there is no narration, question the children to check their understanding of the events. Split the story into different sections and allocate each section to a small group of children for them to perform, adding dialogue. The children then perform the story as a whole class and then use this as a basis to write the story. Additionally, they could write a setting description of the magic grotto where the princesses escape to each evening. The story could also be used to create dance sequences or explore the theme of twelve for counting and number work.