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Dansette (2006)

Classroom Activities

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Questions

  • How does the film make you feel at the very start (think about image, camera movement and music)?

  • Who do you think the main character of the film is?

  • What age do you think the girls are in the film? Why?

  • Did you understand what was going on? Perhaps ask the class to summarise the story in a few sentences.

  • In a single word or two, how would you describe: Alice, her two friends, Alice's brother.

  • Did you sympathise with the central character? Why?

  • Did the main character deserve her fate at the end?

Watching

  • Why do you think the film starts in black and white?

  • Ask the class to identify (and perhaps storyboard or freeze frame) three shots from each part of the story that captures what it is about.

  • Screen the film and ask the class to note all the different sequences of the film. Then ask them to write a sentence or phrase that seems to sum up the ideas of each sequence. Could any parts of the story be re-ordered to make it play differently but keep the same overall meaning?

  • Play the sequence from 01:15 to 02:00. Identify what is diagetic sound and what is non-diagetic sound.

  • Ask the class to identify what editing techniques are used to create moments of surprise.

  • Using freeze frame, discuss the different shot types used in the film (e.g. close ups, long shots and medium shots). Also look for instances of narrative shots (e.g. over-the-shoulder shots). Why are each used at different points in the film?

  • Screen the sequence from 05:00 to 05:45 when the girls are whispering. What editing techniques are used to create a sense of unease?

  • Pause the film at 03:39 when Alice runs outside. Ask the class to predict what is going to happen next. Discuss reasons and justifications, then screen to compare if this was right.

Analysing

  • Discuss the use of suspense in film storytelling. Can the class identify what storytelling or editing techniques were used to create moments of suspense in the story.

  • Write a character profile of Alice.

  • Use ‘hot seating’ to ask Alice questions about her family life and the importance of the dance competition. You could do the same for the other girls and Alice's brother too.

  • Write a diary entry from the point of view of one of Alice's friends. How would they describe the night's events?

  • Discuss whether the class think Alice is happy. How do we know if she is happy or sad? Talk about being lonely and how to make friends.

  • Ask pupils to list the places they go to/spend time with their friends; how they would describe these places in terms of the music and environment. Then ask how they would film one of the places. Consider time of day, weather, camera positions, perspectives, movement and sound - diegetic and non-diegetic. Ask students to write the words and phrases on sticky notes to make a word wall for future use.

  • Play the whole film to the end. Then ask pupils to write one sentence explaining what the film is about.

Creative

  • Choreograph your own dance routine

  • Hold a class dance competition

  • Compile a playlist of songs that make you feel happy; and playlist of 'sad' music

  • Create a poster or flyer for a dance competition

  • Script a prequel film (or write a short story) about what happened to Alice's brother. You could ask the class to do it in either of two ways: either from Alice's point of view or as an objective telling of the events.

  • Create a timeline of events in the story, illustrated by stills taken from the film.

Clip Details

Resource Rights Holder Rosie Toner
Year of Production 2006
Genre Comedy, Drama
Curriculum Areas Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Literacy and English, Religious and moral education, Social studies
Who Rosie Toner (Writer, Director), Jim Leishman (Producer)
Country of Origin United Kingdom
Medium / Content Fiction, Live Action, Sound, Colour
Themes Play, Childhood, Imagination, Self Image, Self expression
Clip Length 08:19