3. At the mill

Exploring what life was like for Victorian children working in a mill.

3. At the mill

The dance sequences in this session explore what it was like for Victorian children working in a mill. The jobs were fraught with danger - constant noise, the risk of being caught in the machinery - particularly for the 'scavengers' cleaning underneath - and exhaustion caused by long working hours.


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Teacher's Notes

Lesson summary

Warm up: Spinning and weaving. Travelling in and out of the spaces making wavy floor patterns, stopping occasionally to spin round quickly on the spot.

Sequence 1: Wake up call. In groups of 3 or 4. Sleeping children being woken by parents. Travelling with tired, stumbling steps.

Sequence 2: The Weaving Machine. In groups of 4 or 5. Creating a conceptual weaving machine or loom. Using different parts of the body to perform repetitive actions and layering each other’s movements to build the complete machine effect.

Sequence 3: Scavenger Child. Solo work. Travelling on hands and knees as if beneath the enormous looms of the cotton mill; collecting imaginary bits of fluff and cotton. The occasional sound of approaching machinery cues sudden lying flat and rolling away movement.

Cool down: Stretch back straight and arms out to the sides in a big circling action.

Other units of KS2 Dance Workshop

The reign of King Henry 8th
In the gym

See also...

The Victorians
Oliver Twist
History - Victorians