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Star turns

School: Woodside Primary, Aberdeen; 337 pupils plus 80 nursery. Deputy headteacher: Lynne Shiach. What has been the best arts company to visit your school in the past year?

Scottish Ballet.

How did you hear about them?

They sent publicity material directly to our school. During the previous school year, the children visited His Majesty's Theatre to watch the company in rehearsals and to meet a principal dancer, who talked to them about his job and answered questions.

What did they do?

A pianist and dancer presented a workshop programme ofwarm-up exercises, movement to music, mime, pair andgroup work, and performance within the large group.

The focus was on listening and moving to the rhythm of the music.

For which age group?

Primary 7.

Did you do any preparation beforehand?

Staff gave the children a very positive description of the workshop experienced by the previous year's Primary 7 pupils. They were given information about likely content and about the participation involved.

The benefits of such exercise to health, fitness and strength-building - we likened dancing to football training - as wellas the sheer fun of the experience, helped to encourage every one of the children to participate.

Any follow-up work?

The children wrote about their experience, compiled a report for the school newsletter and sent letters of thanks to Scottish Ballet.

How long did they stay?

Two hours.

How much did they cost?

A half-day session costPounds 70.

Who paid?

The pupils each paid Pounds 1.25.

What was so good about them?

They presented a well-planned programme in which all children were actively involved from start to finish. Their positive interaction with the children was excellent.

Their enthusiasm for movement and dance was infectious and every child was highly motivated, uninhibited and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The use of live music, in the form of a wonderful pianist, also added to the atmosphere. The whole workshop was a magical experience for children and staff alike.

Scottish Ballet, tel: 0141 331 2931

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