- Mrs A Rudge (Head of Dance)
- Mrs J C Hart
Dance has a unique role to play in the curriculum. It is the art form that combines physical literacy with imagination and creativity.
The department consists of two dance studios, both practically equipped with a dance floor, mirrors and resources for theoretical study.
Dance is taught within the Shell Form and Fourth Form curriculum.
In Shells, the classes are on a rotation as a discrete subject with Drama. During the academic year, pupils receive three lessons of dance a week and will study three units: Secret Agents, Digital Messaging and Dance Around the World. Each unit is designed to build dance skill, focusing upon: actions, space, relationships, dynamics, exploring stimuli and different styles of dance.
In Fourths, the classes are specifically tailored for those pupils who wish to further their education in Dance on to GCSE level and beyond. By doing so they receive three lessons a week. Pupils will study and explore contemporary dance, whilst also focusing upon the need to be a healthy dancer.
Lessons are structured so that pupils build the necessary skills in performance, technique, choreography, analysis and composition. They will study a variety of professional works from the GCSE Dance Anthology, and undertake a choreographic assignment based upon a set of previous AQA stimulus.
The AQA specification for dance allows pupils to develop their performance, choreographic and appreciation skills. Most lessons are practical based with the intertwining of theory, and some will be primarily spent on understanding the theoretical elements of the course. The three main components of the course are:
- Unit One - Critical Appreciation of Dance – 40% This is a written examination paper. Pupils will answer questions based upon professional dance works chosen from an anthology which comprises of six separate pieces. There will also be questions about choreographic and performance skills, and pupils’ will reflect upon their own work.
- Unit Two - Performance – 30% This is a practical examination via recording. This comprises of two set phrases choreographed by the exam board, that are performed as solos. The pupils are also examined in a duet or trio performance piece, that is choreographed collaboratively by teacher and pupil.
- Unit Three – Choreography – 30% This is a practical examination via recording. Pupils can choose to create either, a group piece or, a solo, based on one of the five stimuli given by the exam board.
Third Form, Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth, also experience dance through the co-curricular programme. There are co-curricular workshops to provide stretch and challenge for Fourth Form, Lower Fifth and Upper Fifth pupils. Dance pupils are encouraged to audition to perform in the school’s musical and there is also an annual dance showcase that takes place towards the end of the academic year. Each year we are fortunate to provide a professional company or artist at our school to deliver a full day dance workshop.
Our latest workshops have included:
- James Cousins – Within Her Eyes Workshop 2020
- Matthew Bourne New Adventures – Swan Lake Workshop 2019
Trips and Visits
There is an annual trip to the Birmingham Hippodrome or other theatre in the local area. This is an integral part of the curriculum, as pupils can develop their appreciation of Dance and the performance industry, as well as building a love and passion for the subject. Trips are usually centred around the topic that pupils are studying at the time and would normally have a contemporary focus.
The GCSE Dance course provides a strong foundation to:
• Further Education - courses in Dance and Performing Arts including A level Dance, BTEC and scholarships to Dance Conservatoires.
• Higher Education in Dance, Performing Arts and PE (Dance can be studied at Further Education and degree level, including MA and PhD levels, as well as a combined degree subject such as Dance Science). Pupils can also audition for Dance Conservatoires such as Laban and Northern.
• Professional training relating to Choreography and Performance
In addition, the skills acquired through the study of GCSE Dance, such as teamwork, problem-solving, management and motivation of others, communication and expression, are transferable to almost any career or further studies.