Option Subject - Category B

Examination Board: AQA

Award Code: 8236

Why Take This Course?

This course acknowledges the important role that dance plays in young people’s lives.  Most students will bring some previous experience of dance to the course and the specification aims to value that experience and help students build on it.  Students of GCSE Dance are encouraged to develop their previous dance experience within the two-year course.  This experience may be formal training in dance classes or students may bring skills acquired in devising and performing dance in more informal, social contents.  GCSE candidates may perform in and choreograph work in any style of their choice, provided it allows them to access the full range of assessment criteria.

The study of dance as an art form contributes to students’ aesthetic and social development.  As a physical activity it promotes fitness and well-being.  Dance also supports learning across

a range of subjects.  As performers, students develop confidence and self-esteem.  They develop self-body awareness as well as sensitivity to others and team-working skills.  Effective performance requires physical effort and the determination to succeed and improve.  As choreographers, students employ the skills of problem solving and creativity.  Effective choreography requires imagination and the ability to combine a number of elements.  In directing others, students develop their interpersonal and communication skills.  As critics, students make informed decisions about the dances they see.  They articulate their knowledge, opinions and preferences.  Viewing professional dances fulfills students’ cultural entitlement and broadens their artistic experience.

Aim Of The Course

The GCSE dance course will enable learners to:

  • Actively engage in the process of dance in order to develop as effective and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds;
  • Develop skills, knowledge and understanding of a range of dance styles through the interrelated processes of performing, creating and appreciating dances;
  • Develop physical, technical and expressive skills through which they are able to communicate choreographic intention and develop their individual qualities as performers;
  • Develop the skills, knowledge and understanding of choreography through which they are able to communicate ideas, thoughts and meaning drawn from a range of dance styles;
  • Develop a critical appreciation of dance in its physical, artistic, aesthetic and cultural contexts;
  • Develop their knowledge and understanding of health, fitness and safe workings practices relevant to performing and choreographing.

Course Structure And Content

Component 1: Performance & Choreography

Students must develop and apply the knowledge, understanding and skills required to perform dance as a soloist and in a duet/trio.

Students will need to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of performing skills by responding to short answer questions in the exam.

Students will take part in 2 performances; one of which will be an accurate performance of set phrases. The second performance is a duet or trio that can be choreographed by the students and/or the teacher. The choreography must include the 3 of the phrases from the solo performance.

Students must learn how to respond creatively to an externally set stimulus and also to choreograph their own complete dance from their choice of one of the following: a solo dance of a minimum of 2 minutes or a group dance of a minimum of 3 minutes. Students need to demonstrate their own knowledge and understanding of choreographic processes by responding to short answer questions in the exam.

Component 2: Dance Appreciation

Students will complete a written assessment worth 80 marks at the end of the course. The questions will be based on students’ own practice in performance and choreography and the GCSE Dance anthology.


Performance [30% of GCSE]

  • Set phrases through a solo performance (approximately one minute in duration)
  • Duet/trio performance (three and a half minutes in duration)

Choreography [30% of GCSE]

  • Solo or group choreography – a solo (two to two and a half minutes) or a group dance for two to five dancers (three to three and a half minutes) Internally marked and externally moderated

Dance Appreciation [40% of GCSE]

Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes

  • Knowledge and understanding of choreographic processes and performing skills
  • Critical appreciation of own work
  • Critical appreciation of professional works.

Entry Requirements

If you enjoy dance, this course will enable you to explore dance through practical and creative tasks as well as developing understanding and appreciation of dance through analytical tasks.  Students should show a keen interest in dance and want to develop their skills as a dancer and choreographer as well as be able to understand and appreciate different styles of dance.  Previous experience in dance would be preferred, either through attending the dance club at school or involvement in dance outside of school.