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Nutcracker Dance Workshop for ages 4-10 yr olds

Posted by Kim Shope on


Someone asked me for details about my Nutcracker Dance Workshop so here it is. I have used this dance for a Birthday Party, a 3 day Pre-ballet Camp and recently for a 50 minute Brownie Badge Workshop for 3rd Graders. I thought it may be too basic for the 3rd graders but they LOVED it! 

First, I ask if anyone has been to see “The Nutcracker” and tell them we are going to read the story. I tell them that I have changed a few parts and please tell me after we are finished which parts I changed. This really piques their curiosity! I give each their own copy to read along. 

We read the story, they tell me which parts I made up. I start in a small circle holding hands and we count to three in French and then “blow up our bubble”. We then count to three again and we “pop” the bubble.  After moving into one or two lines facing downstage, we do a short “center barre” with Pliés, Tendus, Relevés and Sautés making sure to share the Ballet Terminology and translations. 

Then we start to work on the dance. It is choreographed to ”The Nutcracker” Finale music. I added a short intro using Audacity and we start right on the first note. 

The Story:

Welcome to “The Nutcracker

Clara and her family is having a party or Celebration.  Her Uncle Drosselmeyer brings Clara a Nutcracker and Dancing Dolls.

 After everyone is asleep, the Nutcracker comes to life and with his army of Soldiers, they fight the mice and the Mouse King. When Clara throws her Ballet Slipper, she helps the Nutcracker win the battle.

Clara and the Nutcracker Prince visit the forest where there are Dancing Snowflakes.

In the Land of Sweets, they are entertained by dancers from Spain and Russia. The Sugar Plum Fairy teaches them how to count to 3 in French… un, deux, trois.  She teaches them how to dance the Step of the Cat, which we call “Pas de Chat”.

Our favorite Ballet Step is called Run, Run Grand Jeté.

After the show, we Curtsy and say “Thank you!”



The Nutcracker Brownie Dance

I teach using “Call and Response”  - I dance and say these exact words and then they repeat after me. If necessary, start by just saying the words, then add the movements. Encourage them to say the words every time as this will help them remember the steps in a shorter period of time. Just before you teach a new section, refresh their memory of the story! 

Party Scene: (Party Scene- Showing off their fancy dresses and outfits) 2 sets of eight

chassé chassé chassé chassé – spin spin spin spin  Downstage

chassé chassé chassé chassé – spin spin spin spin  Upstage


Dancing Dolls:  (Party Scene- Mechanical doll movements) 2 sets of eight

plié sauté plié stretch - plié sauté plié stretch-

kiss open kiss open kiss open kiss open


Soldiers:  (Battle Scene) 2 sets of eight

march, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 front- Downstage

march, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  back- Upstage


Snowflakes:  (Forest Scene) 2 sets of eight

skip skip skip skip – downstage grab the snowflake Right - grab the snowflake Left

skip skip skip skip – upstage grab the snowflake Right - grab the snowflake Left


Spanish:  (Land of Sweets) 2 sets of eight

spin spin spin clap Right - spin spin spin clap Left  

spin spin spin clap Right - spin spin spin clap Left


Russian:  (Land of Sweets) 2 sets of eight

clap 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 – emboités 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  In Place


Waltz of the Flowers:  depends on size of studio and how many dancers

down up up - down up up - to line up for pas de chat (or just walk)


Pas de Chat: depends on size of studio and how many dancers

Left to Right across the Front then upstage and back to your line! Remember to use Right leg first! (I place spots or tape across the front downstage for them to jump over)


Run, Run Grand Jeté:  depends on size of studio and how many dancers

One at a time downstage from Upstage to Downstage (This is their moment on the spotlight!) 


Curtsy or Bow!  Curtsy or Bow again and say “Thank you” to the audience


Other Options: 

If you plan to do a mini-show for families, you can have the dancers read the story or if the students are younger, read the story and have them fill in the blanks. 

If you happen to have extra time at at the end, let the students improvise their own movements as you call out Party Scene, Dolls, Soldiers, etc. 


 Also be sure to check out my newest products! Visit for Dance Teacher Tools and Professional Training Aids for dancers and Students. 


Link to a Nutcracker Word Search Puzzle by Eugene Ballet:










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