If you enjoy dancing, creating dance and are inquisitive about how dance has evolved throughout history, then the Dance specification will stretch and challenge you by providing valuable opportunities for you to develop as both a practitioner and commentator of the subject.
The course will help you to improve your technical and expressive skills in performance, allow you to explore a variety of visual and thematic sources in a creative way and also give you the opportunity to develop your written communication skills in a subject you enjoy watching.
There are three strands to the course: performance, choreography and critical engagement. You’ll start off by exploring how to develop technique in a variety of styles, leading to a consideration of the performance qualities needed by a dancer in order to communicate with an audience. Alongside this you will explore how to create and develop your own work both as a soloist and as part of a group. You will be given every opportunity to develop analytical skills in relation to your own work and that of professional repertoire.
Then, you’ll move on to learn about dance within two different historical periods/genres. This will be in order to increase your understanding of professional repertoire within a specific context and to reflect on your own developing style as a dancer/choreographer.
Throughout the course you will be encouraged to draw together your experiences as a performer, choreographer and viewer of dance in a fully integrated way - enriching your knowledge and understanding of the subject and inspiring a lifelong appreciation of dance as an art form.
Component 1 Performance and Choreography (practical exam)
The aim of this part of the subject content is to allow you to develop and apply the knowledge, understanding and skills required to perform dance as both a soloist and as part of a quartet. You will also be required to create a piece of group choreography. The solo performance will directly link to a specific practitioner which you are studying in Component 2. You will have the opportunity to explore and analyse key characteristics of both the movement and choreographic style of that practitioner. This will then develop in to a solo performance for assessment.
The quartet performance can be within any style and is a great opportunity to develop skills in team work and communication with other students. The performance in the quartet will concentrate on aspects such as spatial awareness, timing and musicality, focus and projection as well as an understanding of the group context. Choreography is a key element to this component and therefore you will be able to creatively explore and develop your own work in response to a chosen source.
Component 2 Critical Engagement (written exam)
Critical engagement with two set works and corresponding contextual areas of study will enable you to develop and demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of dance through time and location relating to specific features of genre, including style, technique, influences, key practitioners, professional repertoire and communication of dance ideas.
You may also take a stand alone AS in this subject, which would support and inform study within the A Level course. At AS, in addition to developing skills in performance, the focus would be on solo choreography. In Component 2, there would be more opportunity to develop written skills in order to be able to reflect on and evaluate your own practice as a dancer. There are no prescribed set works at AS but two areas of study are explored to provide the contextual breadth of knowledge required to complete the A Level course.
Your achievement in this subject is dependent upon excellent attendance, punctuality and effort. You will learn in a friendly atmosphere, using a variety of assessment methods:
- You will have opportunity to present and share practical work with your tutor who will give feedback on your progress on a regular basis.
- You will be assessed regularly on written essay work that is conducted either as homework or under timed conditions in class and given feedback on your progress.
- You will review your own performance in 1:1 sessions with your tutor.
- You will undertake mock examinations on each unit in advance of your final exams.
- You will be formally examined on each component that you study. The examinations are both practical and written (short answers and essay-based), and are taken at the end of the second year, although mock exams will be administered at the end of the first year to ensure progress.
Information & Support
We encourage all students to view dance on a regular basis and to conduct their own research into the subject, especially those who wish to study dance at degree level. We will support the viewing of live work by organising theatre trips to watch the current repertoire of touring dance companies.
A qualification in Dance is highly valued by many universities and employers alike. Dance is also an excellent subject to complement many courses, such as Drama, Musical Theatre, Psychology and Education.
The basic requirement is five GCSEs at grade C with a Level 6 Higher GCSE for English Language. Prior dance experience is essential.