Candles lesson plan

By Claire Pring of Making a Move

During this half term, we celebrate festivals of light: Diwali, Channukah and Christmas. Primary Dance specialist Claire Pring has written a dance lesson based on candles as part of KS1 & 2 resource pack Making a Move. See below for a One Dance UK member discount.


Warmup – Mobility

Ask the students to find a space & use one arm to flicker like the flame. Repeat with the other arm – then with both arms. Repeat the task with the students using their whole body (particularly their spine to twist, tilt, arch & bend). Use words such as flicker; glow; radiate; flash; glimmer to suggest a flame


Show the children an image or video of a candle burning & how this is used as a symbol of hope in many religions, particularly during Winter months when the days are dark.

Creative exploration-shapes

Show the students a range of different shapes of candles, such a small, round tea-light, a long, thin taper; tall & twisted; wide cylinder…

Ask the students to create these shapes using all or part of their bodies. Pause briefly between each shape to build strength, control & balance. Call the candle shapes out in a random order. Encourage the children to find different ways of responding each time. Repeat the task but this time move smoothly (melt) between shapes. Encourage the use of a range of actions as they transition between the shapes, e.g. balances, turns, changes of level. Add the music & continue to call out the candle shapes in a random order.

Ask the children to find a partner, one is the ‘teacher’ & will call out a candle shape. The other is the ‘dancer’ & they create the named shapes. Add the music & describe what you see & check in with the ‘teacher’, e.g. “That’s a small, round shape, so I think that’s a tea light – am I right?”

After approximately 2 mins change roles.

Devising – Sequencing

Repeat the paired task but ask the ‘teacher’ to decide upon 3 or 4 candle shapes & place them in an order they can remember & repeat. Ask the ‘dancer’ respond to the shapes as directed – they can either repeat how they do the shapes & keep it the same each time, or they can continue to vary  it.

Add the music & change roles after 2 minutes or so.

Performing – Observing

Ask the children to join a new partner. Ask one to perform the shapes they were given in order & ask the new partner to see if they can identify them correctly. Encourage the performers to hold their shapes whilst the observer gives their response. Change over roles.

Cool Down – Levels

Ask the children to separate from their partner and find a space.

Remind them of how a candle melts & the wax trickles down.

Ask the children to create a tall shape & make the highest part of their body flicker like the flame. Then can they gradually reduce in height, gently lowering themselves towards the floor (yet retain the flickering flame action)… until they are as low as can be & the flame is finally snuffed out.

Music suggestion

The Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach

Getting back into schools has been of great concern for many dance teachers. Thoughts about the safety of the children and ourselves inevitably mean changes to delivery, but this doesn’t mean that creativity needs to take a back seat.


Making a Move is written by dance specialists Louise Jaggard, Claire Pring and Jo Cone and is a resource pack for those working with primary aged children. It is a collection of 30 ideas that have been devised to respond to the current guidelines. Each is in a step-by-step format that clearly outlines progression and differentiation to enable the creative experience that we know inspires. Making a Move will support you to deliver strong, successful lessons. ‘Candles’ is an example of a Christmas bonus lesson plan from the book.

One Dance UK members will be able to purchase the book at a discounted price of £10.00 (see Members’ Area at or alternatively, the book can be purchased for the full price of £20.00 at