Billy and the Minpins

The Year 2 class has worked really hard on this project for the last two weeks. It is a challenge for the class and for me, but it is all paying off and all of a sudden the children got it, and now I know they can do it!
They could well have put in extra effort because Mrs D’Arcy was watching but Mrs D’Arcy understood what each phrase was in relation to the story and was very impressed with everyone.
We now have the music with no vocals which means no distractions. I chose this music as there are definite stops throughout which helps the class to distinguish between each phrase, a simple beat and lots of crescendos for extra dramatic effect. I also wanted a piece of music which would excite the group and be enjoyed by both girls and boys.
Millie and Sam have worked hard on their lines and are starting to add in some great expressions and characteristics.
Teamwork is priority for phrase 1. The class need to work together to create the uniformed look of . This week the focus was on left and right and slowing the tempo to create a huge crowd running on the spot. They look amazing. Of course, they all want to run as fast as possible, but we are creating a piece of movement and need variety of speed and stillness.
My favourite phrase so far is when Little Billy walks through the forest as the children stand in pairs and become the trees over him. He is allowed to walk a different route each time which keeps the class focused, not knowing when he will choose to walk their way. Sam’s expressions are lovely as he is discovering the forest.
The music stops and it is time to meet the Gruncher. The class created their own sound effects inspired by the book and these build up into a roar which makes Little Billy run up a tree (the gym bars!) to escape. Sam looks truly terrified.
One by one the Minpins are revealed starting with Dom Mini, played by Harvey. The class are invited to stand up in a Minpin pose of their choice. There is no set order, they are allowed to stand in pairs and there can be pauses but it is not a race between them and they must work together to create a seamless sequence.
Next week we will finish the final phrase as Little Billy and two Minpins take to the air and fly a huge swan, a robin and a magpie. Phew!


Billy and the Minpins

Last term I worked with the Year 2 class as we explored the four seasons and developed routines for each season to songs and dance styles inspired by Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Its fantastic to be working together again.
I hadn’t read ‘Billy and the Minpins’ before this project and as expected of the amazing Roald Dahl, it is magical.

The first session with the class involved brainstorming the story and separating it into four definite chapters which will become four phrases of dance.
1-Little Billy Escapes
2-The Gruncher (sound effects)
3-The Minpins
4-The Swan and Defeating the Gruncher

Discussing the children’s ideas is one of the most important parts of the process.

This expressive routine begins with a short dialogue between Little Billy, played by Sam, and Billy’s mum, played by Millie.
Billy escapes through his window and runs to the forbidden forest.

Inspired by a sequence I saw in a Bristol Old Vic version of Jane Eyre, the entire class become Billy and run with the tempo rising to a sudden stop.The music I have chosen is the backing track to the 80’s classic ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor. The music includes a selection of crescendos, a simple beat to follow, clear moments to pause … and the children love it!

This week we will refine phrase 1 and add on the children’s ideas of the Grunchers sounds including Smoke, Growl, Hiss, Neigh, Roar, Clip Clop and Billy will meet the Minpins!

I hope your child is enjoying the course so far.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This