French Impressions (3-5yrs)


Artwork and Artist

'Position de Quatrieme devant sur la Jambe Gauche' by Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas

This artwork can be found in GALLERY 10: French Impressions in Aberdeen Art Gallery. 



Balancing Ballet Dancer!

The sculpture is made of bronze, a kind of metal and shows a ballet dancer balancing on one leg. Her arms are held in a ballet position, one above her head. She has no clothes on, which lets us see the shape of her body. The artist, Degas, was interested in the human body in movement.

Ballet dancers usually wear stretchy clothes to practise in and special costumes to perform in. They wear ballet shoes on their feet.


Look and See

Do you see the shape she is making with her body? Can you make this shape too? Do you need to hold onto someone to help you balance?



Ballet tells stories. 

In the famous ballet, Swan Lake, dancers copy the movements of a flock of swans using graceful movements and feathery white costumes to seem swanlike rather than human. Watch the video clip below. 


Did you know?

The traditional Swan Lake has female dancers as the swans; Matthew Bourne’s version of Swan Lake has male dancers as the swans.



Responding to Music 

Listen to ‘The Swan’ from Carnival of the Animals by Saint Saens.

The music suggests the graceful movement of a swan swimming across a lake and perhaps stretching its wings or curling into its nest. Does it make you feel like moving?


Dance Tasks  

Create a clear space, remove any trip hazards, slippy rugs etc. Children should ideally dance in bare feet. Supervise children at all times during activity.

Can you move softly as if you are in water? Add a light scarf or ribbon to create swirls of movement if you wish.


Try floor-based movements:

•    Encourage rolling over, swimming on your back or tummy.


And lively movements:

•    Skip, hop, bend your knees or stand on tiptoes, 
•    Turn around in a complete circle, 
•    Stretch and curl your whole body,
•    Practise balancing on one foot while holding onto a grownup.


Can you ‘be’ a Swan?

•    Stretch up an arm to make a long neck?
•    Can you stretch arms wide to make ‘wings’?  
•    Can you ‘fly through the air’ with leaps and jumps?  
•    And curl up in your nest?


Art Tasks: Make a crayon dance picture.

Listen to the Cello Music by Ignasi Sole Pinas

•    Using a crayon and piece of paper draw as you listen
•    Enjoy sending the crayon on a dance across the paper in any way you choose