Aims of Dance

To provide pupils with a high quality experience of dance which encourages them towards leading lifelong healthy, active lifestyles

  • To allow students to experience a wide range of dance styles enabling them to develop their own interests and equip them with the skills and techniques to perform at their full potential
  • To allow pupils to develop their confidence and build upon their intra and interpersonal intelligence
  • To provide pupils with opportunities to experience competitive Dance with both solo and group opportunities

GCSE Dance

Throughout the study of this course students will have the have the opportunity to choreograph, perform and appreciate dance as an art form. This is a primarily practical based course in which 60% of marks are awarded from practical assessment. This dance course is designed to cater for all students. It aims to value and build upon whatever experience of dance each student has whilst acknowledging dance’s importance in young people lives.


The AQA GCSE Dance Specification consists of three components:

  • Performing (30%) Practical
  • Composition (30%) Practical
  • Appreciation (40%) Written Examination

Dance Styles Covered

Through this dance course there is an opportunity to perform, choreograph and appreciate the following dance styles:

  • ballet
  • contemporary
  • jazz
  • south Asian
  • urban dance

Students can choose any style in which to perform and choreograph, providing the choice allows them to access the full range of assessment criteria.


Performance (30% Practical Assessment)

Unit 1 consists of the dance performance module. It consists of two practical elements. Here pupils will develop the confidence and experience to perform within a solo and duet/trio. Pupils will focus on learning set dance phrases and refining these to develop their dance technique, clarity of movement, focus, dynamics, extension, facial expression and musicality.

Practical 1- Solo

Pupils will learn 6 dance phrases set by AQA . Students will be expected to accurately perform 3 out 6 set dance phrases, each lasting 20 seconds in length. Students will be taught to interpret and replicate the following forms of content shown in each set phrase:

  • action
  • dynamics
  • spatial.

Recordings of six set phrases, with teacher’s notes, are available to view at


Practical 2- Duet/Trio

Using their prior knowledge of the 6 set phrases from the solo assessment, students will then perform a 3 ½ -5 minute duet/trio performanceHere pupils will learn how to modify the action, dynamic and spatial content of the phrases to accommodate a defined dance style and their partner/s . This can be any dance style. Students will also focus on how to communicate the choreographic intent, including the mood, meaning and style of the dance. Students must also know, understand and apply vital expressive skills:

  • projection
  • use of focus
  • spatial awareness
  • musicality
  • phrasing
  • facial expression
  • sensitivity to other dancers.

Students will also be assessed on safe practice through their physical contact and interaction with other dancers.

Choreography/Composition (30% Practical Assessment)

Students will have the opportunity to choreograph one of the following:

  • a solo dance of a minimum of two minutes and a maximum of two and a half minutes
  • a group dance of a minimum of three minutes and a maximum of three and a half minutes for two to five dancers.

The AQA exam board will issue a set of stimuli at the start of this unit. Students will learn how to respond creatively to the externally set stimulus and choreograph their own dances to an accompaniment, highlighting their own choreographic intention including idea, mood and meaning.

Students will look at the following Choreographic principles:

  • Choreographic devices,
  • Structuring devices and form
  • Dance for different performance environments
  • Different stimuli and aural settings and their effect on choreographic intentions and outcomes
  • Selection of spatial and relationship design


Appreciation (40% Written Examination)

 This section of the course will be assessed through 1hr 30 min written examination . Example exam papers are available on the AQA website.


Critical appreciation of own work

For the written examination pupils will have the opportunity to reflect on their own performances and choreographies. To fully appreciate their own work pupils will make analytical, interpretive and evaluative judgments, by explaining the following :

  • the meaning of relevant performance and choreography terminology
  • the contribution of choreography and performance to audience understanding of the choreographic intention of their work, including the mood, meaning and style.


Critical appreciation of professional set works

Students will study eight professional dance works in their entirety and be prepared to describe, analyse, interpret, evaluate and reflect on the works in response to short answer and extended writing questions.

The GCSE Dance anthology, with details of all eight professional works, including videos of each performance, is available at


Clubs and Performance Opportunities  

  • Dance Club- Thursday 2:30-3:30 at John Smeaton Sports Centre
  • Academy Christmas Concert
  • Annual School Musical
  • GCSE Dance Showcase
  • City Dance Competition / Rock Challenge
  • Visit to watch professional Dance works / Participate in Dance Workshops

Departmental Staff

Miss H. Leighton – SSCo, Teacher of PE & Dance –


KS4 Exam Support

Please be aware that this is a new dance specification and further support material will be uploaded in the near future.

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