Tchaikovsky & Degas…Music & Art for Little Artists

My musical taste I’m afraid isn’t too vast. I’m usually listening to Radio 4 otherwise it’s Capital for my pop fix, Radio 6 Music for Sundays and YouTube for everything in-between. However, dancing and music is a big part of life around here at the moment.

Little minou regularly slips on her ballet shoes, declares she needs to wear a dress, turns all the dials on various musical mobiles, toys and devices in her room and proceeds to perform a darling dance.

Today I had to join “the audience” on her bed to watch a show whilst affirming her ballet moves. “Splits” she would announce with one leg in a bent form behind her and her still chubby leg barely managing to balance in such a pose. “Plié!” , “pirouette!”, I would call out in vague memories of mirror walled rooms.

This audience participation all began with us watching Swan Lake as I tried to explain the music on one of her musical toys. We talked about different aspects of the performance from the emotion conveyed to the characters and plot line. She was transfixed. A princess! Who is that dragon?! Ohhh is she now the swan princess? Is she sad now? She was totally taken with the movement, music and outfits. We are seriously responsible for a lot of those views on YouTube!

This naturally led into an exploration of Degas! Hee hee writing that makes me laugh. It sounds so tenuous and random written down! Honestly there is a link! We looked through my A level art books (hoarding has its benefits!).

Degas' Ballerinas

We looked at the different drawings Degas had created of ballerinas. I got out my A level oil pastels (they are actually that old!) and she drew her own ballerina with a little help for the tutu. She wanted to add stickers to represent the flowers so we went all mixed-media.

Oil Pastel Degas and Swan Lake

We hunted out some old clothes pegs and made our own Odette and Prince Siegfried. We coloured their faces with pens and made outfits from fabric scraps. Pipe cleaners made some rather dubious limbs but she liked them as she could change them to “Splits!”

Clothes Peg and Pipe Cleaner Ballerinas

We may attempt a Van Gogh (without any lost ears), my favourite, Seurat or even a Pollock, I think his technique will lend itself to fun child friendly techniques-I’ll just have to find some dust sheets first!

So, if you see us walking around with extra layers of clothes i.e jumper, shorts and a dress, like at church today, you can safely assume there was a ballet performance at some point earlier.

Some lovely links to enjoy:

Go to the National Gallery on Sundays for a Magic Carpet Storytelling

Visit the MoMA Art Lab: People if you are the other side of the pond (and in NY!)

Enjoy a fabulous evening watching the glorious Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House 

with the Bolshoi Ballet

I’m a firm believer in Google and Wiki as my external knowledge sources so look at Degas paintings here if you don’t have quite the same hoarding tendencies as me.

Enjoy, naomi x

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