School: Alehousewells Nursery and Primary, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire. Pupil roll 223, aged three to 12. Headteacher Elizabeth Ann Engels. Children involved in visit P6 and P7.
What is the best arts company or event to visit your school in the past year?
Scottish Ballet. Two of them came, a musician (with multi-purpose keyboards) and the choreographer.
How did you hear about them?
I read about them in The TES Scotland.
How long did they spend at the school?
They were with us for a day. They spent the morning with P6 and the afternoon with P7.
What did they do?
They spoke to the children about the ballet of the Indian story of Rama and Sita. They tend to visit schools with whatever the company is touring with in the area, and they were at the Aberdeen Theatre at the time. They conducted a workshop of creative dance with the children, which allowed them to take part in the story. The whole class was involved in each case.
Did you do any preparation work beforehand?
We made sure the children were familiar with the story.
Did you do any follow-up work?
Yes, the children wrote their own stories and diary entries about the visit and they wrote about it for ou local community newspaper.
What was so good about the visit?
The whole thing was so dynamic and it gave the children direct creative involvement. They were creating their own dance and incorporating a storytelling situation. It embraced music, mime, movement, dance, facial expression, physical energy - just about everything. It was utterly exciting and well worth the money.
The boys loved it as well as the girls: one said he had expected "tippy-toe stuff" and instead found he felt like a warrior.
They even involve the teachers and it's good for the children to see teachers learning something.
How relevant was it to the curriculum?
It straddled so many areas. Dance tends to be in the curriculum only for a purpose such as a concert or school party. Our physical education teachers are so hardworked that there's little scope for dance and yet it brings in so many skills, from personal and social development to expressive arts, creativity and fitness. This also fitted in with the religious and moral education programme we'd been doing on world religions.
How much did the visit cost?
The school fund.
Scottish Ballet, tel 0141 331 1931