Back to Dance Training Homepage

Training: Poetry in Motion dance workshop
The Owl and the Pussycat

A PDF of the poem is available to download and print here. Please make sure you have a printed copy of it with you.

The key for this workshop is to get the children to move and express themselves to words. Most of the Choreography happens to the words of the poem.

Choreographer instructions

To play the video in sync with the voiceover instructions: 

  1. Type the password in to the video if required

  2. Press play on the voiceover

  3. Listen to the spoken instructions, and press play on the video when instructed

The Owl and the Pussycat

Introduction play the poem and explain how they must listen to the words as moving to spoken word not just music. They must not use any sound as the words need to be heard for them to know what movement is next

 KS1 Version

1)   Warm Up (include step turn step, step hop and pas de bas)

2)   Command Set up command as Bong Tree and they must all stand very still as a tree

3)    Games

a)   People to people 

There is very little time for games, so this isn’t needed, but you may have more time and wish to do People to people and use pussy cat as signal for them to change partners, this will at least get them into pairs

b) space game and get them to move around as owls and as pussy cats (but they mustn’t forget who their partner is 

I

2x8 introduction and the first 2 lines up to Boat moving around the room as Owl and Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea 

   In a beautiful pea-green boat, find partner

sit down with their partner in their boat gently rowing and looking around 

They took some honey, and plenty of money, arm movements to show taking honey and money and putting it in the boat

   Wrapped up in a five-pound noteAsk them to come up with a move for wrapped up in a £5 note and then use one or 2 moves to teach to all

The Owl looked up to the stars above, children looks up 

1x8 all children slowly roll up

1x8 star hands at random levels

   And sang to a small guitarbring arms to hold guitar and start pas de bas on guitar word

"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love2 more pas de bas

   What a beautiful Pussy you areturn around once on the spot

         You areone hand up as cat ear

         You are!The other hand up as cat ear

What a beautiful Pussy you are!"scoop ripple up with hands as cat ears at end

1x8 cats choreography (please mention origin to kids) push through grass right arm left arm, tail wiggle

1x5 Jellicle ball 1stlittle bit with retire and echappe (I say its like a cat scratching on a scratching post, then reaching up to the stars)

 

II 

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl! 

All step forward doing a move as an Owl

   How charmingly sweet you sing!

All step forward doing a move as a cat

4x6 face partner and bow to their partner, hands together arms up and open and sway from side to side 

 O let us be marriedknee down facing partner hands on thigh

too long we have tarried:, sweep hands along floor and up to do hand clap with partner

   But what shall we do for a ring?"stand up thinking arms leaning one way, point to finger on ring leaning other way

3x6 6x pas de bas (this can be done with hands behind their backs, or you can get them to do why hands and ring point on each one)

They sailed away, for a year and a day, two rowing arms standing facing front

   To the land where the Bong-Tree grows bong tree positions

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood actions and faces as piggy pigs

   With a ring at the end of his nose,jump and point to nose with one finger

            His nosepointing at nose with other finger to a different angle and level

            His nosejump pointing at nose with other finger to different angle and level

   With a ring at the end of his nose. All face front and point with both fingers to nose

 

III 

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling3x step hop jive style wagging finger

   Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."Jump and point to finger on I will

So they took it away, and were married next day2x step back drag with pull arms

   By the Turkey who lives on the hillChicken head and arms to left side

They dined on mince, and slices of quincestep forward bouncing and click up hands near face as if eating, repeat backwards arm click down

   Which they ate with a runcible spoonfree what ever they feel a spoon looks like or get them to give you ideas and then choreograph it for them all to do

Followed by 1x8 children do Runcible spoon dancing

 

And hand in handstep out to 2ndone hand out front other hand into first hand 

on the edge of the sandlunge, sitting into right hip arms sweep open right arm high

   They danced by the light of the moon, 

 slow step turn step to left hands make window shape 

The moonrepeat to the right window shape on the moon

            The moonmoon window shape to the other corner 

They danced by the light of the moon1x8 rolling “will you dance with me” (this is what they do in ballet and that’s the meaning, tell kids) arms from low to high, open up arms and on ping finishing position as owl or cat.            

 


KS2 Version

Introduction play the poem and explain how they must listen to the words as moving to spoken word not just music. They mustn’t use any sound as the words need to be heard for them to know what movement is next. Also explain that some of the words are nonsense words, like runcible spoon and bong tree. 

1)   Command Set up command as Bong Tree and they must all stand very still as a tree

2)   Warm Up (include step turn step, step hop and pas de bas) after warm up teach them the guitar pas de bas, the step turn step with the moon hands and the step hop with the wagging finger

3)   Games

10 second object (this is a very quick version of this) explain you will ask them to get into a group of a certain amount of people and then you will call out a thing that they need to make out of their bodies but they only have 10 seconds to do it and then they must freeze. 

Put music on and get them to move around as a cat, then move as an owl. Stop musicand call out groups of 5 (this should make 6 groups of  5, or if you have slightly less just make a couple of the groups 4 people etc) call out pea green boat with owl and pussy cat inside and start counting down from 10, call freeze once you reach 1. Then ask them to stay in these groups and make a bong tree in ten seconds, then a piggy wig in a wood. Then say you will do all 3 pictures again but you want to see which group can do it the quickest and the quietest. Repeat again if needed rewarding the fast and quiet group. Tell them to remember these pictures and the groups they are in as they will need these twice during the Poem.

Then put the children into partners within their groups (the odd 5th person can team up with the 5th person in the group next to them but remind them they will need to return to their groups- they shouldn’t be far away anyway)

If there is an odd number of children get the teacher to partner the spare child. 

Ask a confident child to be your partner just to demonstrate and then send them back to their partner once you have shown the steps

 Children start facing their partner as an owl or a pussycat pose but teach them that at the end, start teaching from partner work

 I

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea 

   In a beautiful pea-green boat,

Face each other and bow - a low regal bow, stepping back and arms wrapped around their waste

1x8 Come up to standing hands together and both arms stretch up and open to second

2x8 Knee bends (like skiing) x4 knees bend both to the right, left, right, left (so it is opposite ways as they are facing each other)

1x4Tummys to the front, they step out to the side away from partner, inside foot flexed, inside hands stay holding and outside hand open out in an open 5thposition (Hungarian style)

2x8 They then move to their 3 groups making 3 boats each with 2 children in the boat playing the owl and the pussy-cat 

They took some honey, and plenty of money, arm movements to show taking honey and money and putting it in the boat

   Wrapped up in a five-pound noteAsk them to come up with a move for wrapped up in a £5 note and then use one or 2 moves to teach to all

The Owl looked up to the stars above, children looks up 

1x8 all children slowly roll up

1x8 star hands at random levels 

   And sang to a small guitarbring arms to hold guitar and start pas de bas on guitar word

"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love2 more pas de bas

   What a beautiful Pussy you areturn around once on the spot

         You areone hand up as cat ear

         You are!The other hand up as cat ear

What a beautiful Pussy you are!"scoop ripple up with hands as cat ears at end

1x8 cats choreography (please mention origin to kids) push through grass right arm left arm, tail wiggle

1x5 Jellicle ball 1st little bit with retire and echappe (I say its like a cat scratching on a scratching post, then reaching up to the stars)

II 

Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl! 

All step forward doing a move as an Owl (or if you have time get them to decide who is to be the cat and who is to be the owl and they do a movement each)

   How charmingly sweet you sing!

All step forward doing a move as a cat

4x6 face partner and repeat partner work as before - bow to their partner, hands together arms up and open and 4 x knee bends (no Hungarian step out this time)  

O let us be marriedknee down facing partner hands on thigh (explain this is just a movement to show the words and not that they are asking each other to marry, to stop silliness between kids)

too long we have tarried:, sweep hands along floor and up to do hand clap with partner

   But what shall we do for a ring?"stand up thinking arms leaning one way, point to finger on ring leaning other way

3x6 face partner hold hands and circle underneath each others hands (or do the 6x pas de bas if no time to teach the circling as this can be time consuming to get them to all do it right)

before this next bit get them all to do their 3 pictures again, (boat, tree, piggy wig) pick 2 groups to do each picture and say the poem to see if they can make their pictures at the right time.

They sailed away, for a year and a day, group 1 & 2 to do their boat

   To the land where the Bong-Tree grows group 3 & 4 to do their tree

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood group 5 & 6 to do their piggywig

   With a ring at the end of his nose,

            His nose

            His nose

   With a ring at the end of his nose. All face front and point with both fingers to nose

 

III 

"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling3x step hop jive style wagging finger

   Your ring?" Said the Piggy, "I will."Jump and point to finger on I will

So they took it away, and were married next day2x step back drag with pull arms

   By the Turkey who lives on the hillChicken head and arms to left side

They dined on mince, and slices of quincestep forward bouncing and click up hands near face as if eating, repeat backwards arm click down

   Which they ate with a runcible spoonfree what ever they feel a spoon looks like or get them to give you ideas and then choreograph it for them all to do

Followed by 1x8 children do Runcible spoon dancing

And hand in handstep out to 2ndone hand out front other hand into first hand 

on the edge of the sandlunge, sitting into right hip arms sweep open right arm high

   They danced by the light of the moon, 

 slow step turn step to left hands make window shape 

The moonrepeat to the right window shape on the moon

            The moonmoon window shape to the other corner 

They danced by the light of the moon1x8 rolling “will you dance with me” (this is what they do in ballet and that’s the meaning, tell kids) arms from low to high, open up arms and on ping finishing position as owl or cat.