How are the Performing Arts sacred subjects?
The Performing Arts call forth creativity, empathy, good communication and leadership. Engaging with performing arts enables the student to see the world through a variety of different lenses engaging with the big questions of purpose and meaning in life. Self-esteem and thinking skills are enhanced so that the student grows in their ability to recognise their own giftedness and potential as someone who has been created for a definite purpose to challenge and change situations of injustice, discrimaition, marginalisation and poverty in all its guises. Performing Arts seeks to show students how to improve the quality of life and develop a sense of community pride and hope for the future. Performing Arts celebrates diversity through the promotion and understanding of other people and different ways of life. Performing Arts celebrates spiritual and cultural heritage.
In the Dance Department we aim to offer high quality Dance provision throughout the school curriculum and extra-curricular programme. We hope to empower all students with the opportunity to excel by providing a safe and fun environment to experience dance.
Students experience a variety of dance styles and genres. Including Street Dance, Ballet, Lindy-Hop, Jazz and Contemporary Dance. Students also explore contact work, dance improvisation and site-specific work. Dance lessons aim to suit the individual needs and strengths of students.
We aim to extend technical dance skills through teaching new dance vocabulary, develop choreography skills through individual, group and leadership tasks and improve confidence through performance. We train thinking dancers. We encourage mind, body connectivity to enable students to perform, debate, analyse and write about Dance.
Watching live Professional Dance works are such an important aspect of extending and developing students’ appreciation of Dance. We ensure that there are regular opportunities to become involved in trips and workshops. In February 2016 a group of students travelled to Bradford to see Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty. One of our students, Caitlin Robertson, wrote a review of the performance that you can read by clicking here.
Students have worked with a number of professional dance companies such as Motionhouse, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Rambert Dance Company.
The Dance department has a focus to challenge students’ creativity and to inspire young people to become passionate about dance.
Key Stage 3
At KS3 students learn the fundamentals of dance performance and choreography with an aim to explore expression and creativity. Students are assessed using a flightpaths system that works in parallel with the new curriculum guidelines of ‘A Life without levels’ and aims to support the students’ progress right through into GCSE.
Key Stage 4
GCSE Dance is offered at KS4 and is examined by AQA. The course is broken down into 40% written examination, 30% choreography and 30% performance. Students explore the technical and expressive nature of dance. They also study six key works in detail that make up their GCSE Dance Anthology, create their own choreography pieces, learn set rep from AQA and reflect upon their own work through analysis and evaluation.
Key Stage 5
A level Dance is offered at KS5 and is also examined by AQA. AS and A level provide the opportunity to study a wide variety of dance techniques, including Contemporary, Jazz and Ballet. These techniques allow students to understand the physical skills and demands of a dancer.
Choreography is a large area of the course; different approaches to different stimuli and skill-based techniques are studied, giving a firm foundation of movement ideas. At AS the written exam is worth 50%. The students study the development of Rambert Dance Company from 1965-2002 as well as the Independent Contemporary Dance Scene in Britain from 2000, evaluating their impact and contributions. The practical units additionally equal 50%, through the creation and performance of a solo and a performance within a small group.
A Level Dance builds on the skills and content studied at AS with additional practical tasks and theory elements. These include the study of Set Works; Rooster 1991 by Christopher Bruce and Sutra 2008 by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Again the theory and practical are weighted at 50% each. Practical tasks include solo performance, group choreography and performance in a quartet.
At KS3 there is a Dance Club for students of all abilities to participate in, offering; Beginners Street Dance and Contemporary Dance and more, weekly in Years 7-9. Students are able to audition to perform in whole school productions.
At KS4 and KS5 students who take GCSE and A level Dance have had the opportunity to see a number of pioneering American and British dance companies. Students have viewed a number of Matthew Bourne’s works, various Phoenix Dance Theatre performances, The Alvin Ailey Company, The Richard Alston Company and Rambert Dance Company. There is also the opportunity for students to perform in showcase evenings for parents, and to be involved in whole school productions.