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Charles Darwin School


Course Overview 

Dance is delivered at both GCSE and A-Level through the AQA board.

GCSE is 60% practical and 40% written. A focus on solo performance, group dances and theory work supports the main units in this course. GCSE students study six anthology professional dance works to help understand Dance and Choreography and the range of Dance Styles used in the industry today.

Students work on improving their critical appreciation of Dance productions, technique, choreographic and performance skills in lessons for their final assessments in Year 11.

GCSE includes:

Component 1: Performance and Choreography

  • Solo performance
  • Duet/trio performance
  • Choreography showing a response to one chosen stimulus from a prescribed list (solo or group)

Component 2: Dance Appreciation

  • 1 ½ hour written exam: knowledge and understanding of choreographic process and performing skills; critical appreciation of own work and of professional works

A-Level is 50% practical and 50% written. It is a 2 year course that teaches students how to compose, perform and appreciate dance to an advanced level. The content of a range of professional dance works are studied and students also consider the context from which they come and their surrounding Area of Study. The lessons compromise of both theoretical and practical activities and cover a range of dance genres, from varying cultures and origins.

A Level includes

Component 1

  • Solo performance linked to a specific practitioner within an Area of Study
  • Performance in a quartet

Component 2

  • 2 ½ hour written exam: Knowledge understanding and critical appreciation of two set works - Rooster by Christpher Bruce and Sutra by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and their location within their corresponding areas of study (Rambert Dance Company 1966-2002 and the Independent Dance Scene in Britain 2000-current).

Why choose the subject? 

  • Learn to express yourself creatively
  • To follow a career in the performance industry (performer/teacher/choreographer/dance critic/working in theatre)
  • To explore challenging styles of Dance 
  • To learn about the Dance industry today
  • To work with others and create interesting work
  • To build a love of performing
  • To improve fitness, coordination, rhythm and problem solving
  • To improve organisation and self-discipline

Common Questions 

Q. In which year will I start to learn Dance?
A. Year 7

Q. Do we learn street dance?
A. Maybe. We may learn street dance as a style but it is not the focus of the GCSE. A Level does not cater for street dance.

Q. Is there much written work?
A. Yes. Written work is embedded within the practical elements of the course. Homework is set most weeks which involves researching and writing. Writing is also done in lesson at times.

Q. Are there any trips?
A. Trips are arranged throughout the year to see profressional dance and theatre performances. There are also performance oppotunities for X-Tol, the school's dance company, so if this is a passion please audition for the company and see Miss Abbotts.

Who will teach me? 

Miss Abbotts, Mrs Rees

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