Dance


LEVEL: A Level – Linear

EXAM BOARD: AQA

WHY CHOOSE DANCE?

Our students choose A Level Dance because they have a passion for dance or performing, and most commonly as a progression to GCSE Dance although this is not a pre-requisite. The course is challenging, both academically and physically and will demand resilience and perseverance from all students. There is a large emphasis on practical work across a range of dance styles, and improving your own fitness and skills as a performer. We promote a culture of students taking a responsibility for their own exercise programmes, managing rehearsals and evaluating progress against their own goals. You will learn about effective and safe dance training and apply this to your own work both in and out of lessons. Our students develop a sense of individuality and creativity throughout the course as their choreographic work should be a personal response to the stimulus set by the exam board. We encourage leadership and teaching at Dance Clubs to inspire confidence among our sixth form and practice managing dancers ahead of creating their own choreographies. Performance opportunities are created throughout the course and an essential part of developing confidence and experience. Students study the repertoire of many professional choreographers which further informs their own dance practice. We explore a range of dance techniques practically and critically analyse different styles in order to understand the development of dance over time. A Level Dance is crucial for those who wish to embark on vocational or indeed degree level dance courses. However many students study A Level Dance for the love of the subject, and to develop their own skills as a choreographer or performer.

AIMS OF THE COURSE

  • To appeal to students of all abilities, and equip them with a wide range of skills and knowledge
  • To encourage students to develop their creative, physical, emotional and intellectual capacity
  • To reflect both current and historical dance practices, making it more relevant to students

WHAT WILL I STUDY?

A Level Dance is taught in three strands: Performance, Choreography and Appreciation. The Performance strand incorporates dancing in both a solo and quartet. The material for performance is jointly arranged by the students and teacher. Students will choreograph a group dance to answer a question from a pre-release paper set by AQA. Students will examine two set works prescribed by AQA in preparation for the written exam. Rooster by Christopher Bruce will be studied in the context of Rambert Dance Company, and Sutra by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is covered within the Independent Contemporary Dance Scene in Britain, 2000-current.

HOW WILL I BE ASSESSED?

Component 1: Performance & Choreography (50%) Non Exam Assessment (NEA); external assessor (80 marks).

  • Performance (25%) is comprised of the solo performance linked to a chosen practitioner (20 marks) and the performance in a quartet in a contemporary, ballet or jazz dance style (20 marks)
  • Choreography (25%) is a group choreography which answers one of the three questions set by AQA (40 marks)

Component 2: Appreciation (50%) Assessed by an External Exam; 1hr 30 written paper (80 marks)

  • Section A (25%) includes short-answer questions (25 marks) and one essay-style question (25 marks) on the compulsory set work
  • Section B (25%) includes two essay-style questions on the second set work (25 marks each)

TRIPS/ VISITS:

The Dance Department aim to provide each student with an opportunity to see at least one live performance that relates to their course, normally at a cost of approximately £20. We also host workshops run by outside agencies for students to experience different techniques and movement styles which aid them in performance and choreography.

EQUIPMENT/ SUGGESTED READING:

Suitable dancewear is required for all practical lessons – please see HOD for guidance if required (variable)

Essential Guide to Dance by Linda Ashley (£15-20)

FACILITIES:

The Dance Studio and sound equipment will be available to students at lunchtimes and free periods where possible but will also be accessible for after school rehearsals by arrangement. Students are encouraged to attend lunchtime sessions to support the learning of class material or after school sessions if students require 1:1 support/catch up.  Many resources are available from YouTube but students are welcomed to watch departmental DVDs during free periods where necessary.

WHERE CAN IT LEAD?

This course enables students to develop performance and choreography skills suitable for further study in vocational settings as well as in degree level courses at university. Students study anatomy and gain a sound understanding of the dancer in action from training programmes, injury prevention and nutrition inspiring interest in careers such as yoga instruction, physiotherapist, dance leader, dance in the community and disability dance.  The knowledge covered in theory lessons covers basic knowledge of lighting design, costume and set design, the role of the camera and appreciation of different musical accompaniment.  There are many career options for combinations of such disciplines within the remit of dance production.  Other dance relate careers include dance historian, critic and work in different forms of notation.

SUCCESSES:

We retain 25-30% of the Year 11 cohort to study Dance at A Level. A number of students each year continue their Dance studies at local colleges and universities such as University of Surrey, Guildford. Currently an ex-student is performing for a company called Chrysalis, London and another is completing a BA (hons) Degree this year at ALRA – The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts