The Great Race:
The Chinese Zodiac Dance Workshop


Dance workshops for primary schools celebrating Chinese New Year

Celebrate Chinese New Year with a dance workshop based on the origin story of the Chinese Zodiac, The Great Race.

The story of the Zodiac is the most popular story told during Chinese New Year, and it is the tale that children in China still explore and retell today.

Legend has it that the Jade Emperor invited all the animals to a Great Race, promising that the first 12 animals to cross the river would each have a year named after them. 

From the quick-witted Rat who was the first to reach the finish line, to the Pig who came in twelfth after stopping mid-race to snack and nap, the animals who completed the race represent the 12 year Zodiac cycle.

The workshop is based on Christopher Carr’s retelling of the story for children, The Great Race. During the sessions each class will be led by an expert choreographer as they work together to recreate the characters and story.

Featuring music and movement inspired by traditional and contemporary Chinese culture, your children will develop their cultural understanding as they reinvent the myth behind the Chinese Zodiac.

Chinese New Year 2020 takes place on Saturday 25th January, and next year it will be the year of the Rat!

Learning Objectives

  • To develop an understanding of the most well known story behind Chinese New Year by recreating the narrative from start to finish. 

  • To gain confidence in physical literacy and explore how physical vocabulary can express emotion.

  • To develop creative ownership and the imagination by working alongside a professional dancer-choreographer.

  • To improve cultural understanding.


In one school day a professional West End dancer/choreographer can lead up to seven sessions of up to 30 children from Reception to Year 6.


Storytelling through movement, responding to stimuli, creation of simple dances, expressing feelings.


All in your school hall!

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