Curriculum Statement - Dance
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.” – Martha Graham
Powerful Knowledge in Dance
Dance can be separated into three disciplines – performance, choreography, and understanding and appreciation. The three disciplines are taught and developed together with the aim to build personal skills that students can draw upon to succeed, not only in Dance but beyond the curriculum and in future employment. Students are encouraged to assess and evaluate their own work and work of others and develop plans to enhance performance and review progress. They are also provided with analytical skills enabling them to critique movement and production features of professional work.
Whilst in Dance we gain the knowledge of choreographic processes, performance skills and production features, also at the heart of the subject are such skills as engagement, communication and projection, creative imagination, leadership, confidence and commitment. Opportunities are embedded for students to be able to hone and develop performance talent but equally important is the ability to understand the purpose of dance we create. Approaches of choreographers are introduced throughout the key stages to enable students not only to recreate but to shape their own unique ideas with a greater understanding of the need for style, intention, stimuli and to learn to celebrate individual and unique perspectives.
Students study production features including costume, set design, lighting, and aural setting. They use this knowledge as well as the given stimuli and choreographic intentions, to analyse a number of dances in different styles. This allows students the opportunity to create multiple interpretations for the choices made and to use this knowledge to ask further questions to enhance their own creativity.
The curriculum is structured based on the expectations for GCSE Dance and beyond. Thus, key vocabulary and skills required by the end of year 11 are fed down into schemes of work from Year 7 upwards. This is designed to provide challenge as well as raising standards and expectations from the start of Key Stage 3, and ensure that dance knowledge is developed both practically and theoretically. Further to this, skills required as a professional performer, critic and choreographer are also developed to prepare students for the Arts industry.
Within KS3, Dance is on a rotation within PE where all students are taught Dance for one 8 lesson block. Within this time students are introduced to many different styles of Dance including Street, Contemporary, Tap, Latin American and Capoeira allowing for many different cultural experiences and learning. Each topic allows students to return to the key concepts of action, space, dynamics and relationships but builds on them to advance their knowledge and application of devices as the years progress.
A range of dances are embedded at KS3 to provide students with a diverse range of dance styles, approaches and intentions. Students become a Critic, analysing production features such as costume, set design and aural setting broadening their knowledge of the Arts in general.
Students choreograph using choreographic devices before modelling their own work ensuring others can replicate it with technical, expressive and physical skills. Thus, as well as preparing students for GCSE and beyond, students develop skills such as confidence, commitment, concentration, leadership and organisation as a Choreographer.
Students perform to peers in lessons ensuring to show characteristic key features of the dance style as well as portraying effective physical skills such as balance, posture, isolation, extension, flexibility and mobility. They also learn how to develop their expressive skills as a Performer.
Co Curriculum Enrichment
Co-curricular opportunities in Dance are created to allow students to develop and build on expertise learnt in lessons. Clubs and activities are varied to allow all students to participate in a style of interest, including styles such as Contemporary, Street, Musical Theatre and Tap.
Dance Club on a Tuesday is open to all year groups and builds on performances towards end goals such as Dance shows within the school and within the local dance network. Meanwhile the Elite Dance Company requires an audition and therefore introduces the students to the competitive nature of the Dance industry. This company takes part in shows but also enters regional, national and local competitions. Both of these sessions are led by professional artists from Debut Studios.
Students are also able to take part in the annual school musical production, where the expectation is that all cast members develop performance talent and professionalism throughout. These clubs/events are not only to develop as a performer but also gives great insight into careers in the Arts and teaches students how to meet professional expectations and performance discipline.
Students are able to become a Dance Ambassador, taking on a leadership role within the department. This allows students to develop their own knowledge by planning, delivering and supporting sessions as well as taking on further leadership roles within the department.
Students study the AQA specification. The course develops a theoretical understanding of technical, expressive, mental and physical skills as well as the practical development of them.
Further detail is available on the exam board website below