Education pack

The Dancing In Fetters: the culture of convict dance education pack has been developed for use in museums which are hosting the touring exhibition and for participating primary schools.  It is funded by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia programme.


The resources include three selections of dance activities, one from each band level, that link to the  Dancing in Fetters  Museum Exhibition.  The activities in each band may be done individually, or as a Dance Unit that links to Humanities and Social Sciences, or one activity may be selected from each section for a single lessonIncluded are Making, Performing and Responding dance activities through danced, written, and oral forms.

The Primary learning focus that links to the exhibition include:

  1. Feelings of happiness and freedom from movement – on board ship and in the colony
  2. The suppression of dance in the new colony
  3. The view of Dance as an essential part of mental and physical health

In the Prep – Year 2 dance activities students consider why people danced in this era.  They view an example of a convict dance, Drops of Brandy and explore vocabulary used to describe dance.  Through written and danced experiences, they create a dance with a partner to represent contrasting emotions of convict characters.  And reflect on their own choreography through drawing and text.

In the Year 3 and 4 dance activities students explore the Dance Elements as they engage in a dance game inspired by a journal written onboard a ship to the colonies in 1814. They have opportunities to research the place of dance in the 1800s and the influence of entertainment on the law making processes of the new colony.  Students learn the First Set Quadrille and reflect on dance by engaging in a debate.

In the Year 5 and 6 dance activities students research dance and its role onboard ship and in the new colony, through a range of journals and illustrations.  They learn a dance, Drops of Brandy, and reflect on its place in colonial society through a journal writing activity.  In small groups, students devise a dance based on their journal entries using choreographic devices.  They record their choreographic intentions in a worksheet.  Students rehearse and perform their own dances.

Developed by curator Dr Heather Blasdale Clarke, and Kym Stevens at Dance Teaching Ideas.

For more information contact Dr Clarke
Tel. 07 3289 4708

See also How to use Dance to teach Australian Curriculum History

Our lovely and lively dance team

Our ensemble of dancers and musicians from Phillip’s Dog perform for the videos in the Education Kit, as well as for performances as part of the exhibition.

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