GCSE Dance (AQA)

Why choose GCSE dance?

  • Dance is both powerful and empowering as a form of non-verbal communication, and supports learning across a range of subjects;GCSE Dance
  • Dance promotes fitness and wellbeing.
  • Students develop confidence and self esteem through performing, as well as promoting determination to succeed and improve.
  • Sensitivity to others and team-working skills are developed in group performance and choreography.
  • As choreographers, students employ the skills of problem-solving and creativity.
  • They develop their knowledge and understanding of a range of dance styles through the interrelated processes of performing, creating and appreciating dances.
  • As critics, students make informed decisions and articulate opinions about the dances they see, they develop as effective and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds.
  • Viewing professional works develops a critical appreciation of dance in its physical, artistic, aesthetic and cultural contexts.
  • As dancers, students develop their physical, technical and expressive skills as well as their individual qualities as performers.

What will I do?

  • You will develop skills, knowledge and understanding of dance as a performer, choreographer and critic.
  • You will apply and adapt your skills in performance and choreography.
  • You will create dances for a range of purposes and in response to different stimuli.
  • You will develop your ability to analyse, evaluate and appreciate dance.
  • You will learn to appreciate the contribution of dance to your personal and social health, fitness and wellbeing.

What can I do after this course?

The skills gained during the course are relevant to all subject areas, future employment and for progress to many Post-16 courses. These include Level 3 courses in Dance, Drama, Musical Theatre and PE. It can also lead to a range of careers and college or university courses.

AQA GCSE dance students have four Dance lessons over a two week timetable.

1 AQA GCSE Dance Marking Criteria:

Unit 1: Critical appreciation of dance – written examination, externally assessed (20%)

Key principals:

  • Describe, analyse, interpret and evaluate features of dance using appropriate terminology
  • Compare and contrast different choreographers, dance works, styles and cultural influences
  • Understand the relationship between choreography, performance and production including aural and physical settings, costume and dance for camera
  • Understand the physical, aesthetic and artistic contexts of dance.

Students answer a short and concise written paper focusing on critical analysis and perceptive understanding of two professional dance works. Questions may also refer to the candidate’s own performance and/or choreography.

Unit 2: Set dance – practical examination, externally assessed (20%)

Key principals:

  • The physical, technical and mental skills necessary for effective performance
  • The expressive skills necessary for effective performance
  • Understanding how to achieve high quality performance.

Students will perform a solo dance that will be set for the duration of the specification. The set dance is choreographed by a professional dancer in a style from within the contemporary dance genre.

3.3 Unit 3: Performance in a duo/group dance – controlled assessment (20%)

Key principals:

  • The physical, technical and mental skills necessary for effective performanceGCSE Dance
  • The expressive skills necessary for effective performance
  • Understanding how to achieve high quality performance
  • Knowledge and understanding of health, fitness and safe working practice.

Students will perform in a group dance that relates to a professional work. Three clear links with the chosen professional work must be demonstrated, for instance:

The performance will be choreographed by a teacher in collaboration with the students.

3.4 Unit 4: Choreography – controlled assessment (40%)

Key principals:

  • Explore and synthesise ideas, thoughts and meaning through movement
  • Select and use actions, dynamics, space and relationships to convey artistic intention
  • Create and structure dances.

3.4.1 Solo Composition Task 4A (15%) – Students, with guidance from the teacher, select three motifs. These are taken from a professional dance work and motifs must be developed by the student to create a short solo dance.

3.4.3 Choreography for Solo or Group 4B (25%) – Students may choose to choreograph a solo or a group dance for 2, 3, 4 or 5 dancers. Students may perform in their own choreographies. A brief programme note detailing the title, accompaniment and selected starting point will be written by the student.

2 AQA GCSE Dance specification: http://store.aqa.org.uk/qual/newgcse/pdf/AQA-4230-W-SP.PDF

3 Unit Two- Set Dance: ‘Impulse’ http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VfSlBGTRcto

4 Prescribed Professional Works:


Bird Song - Siobhan Davies

Faultline - Shobana Jeyasingh

Ghost Dance - Christopher Bruce

Swansong - Christopher Bruce

Nutcracker - Matthew Bourne

Overdrive - Richard Alston

Perfect - Motion House

Rosas Danst Rosa - Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker

Still Life at the Penguin Cafe - David Bintley

5 Rosas Danst Rosa: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=D5TcCNEG-Ro

Website: http://www.rosas.be/en/production/rosas-danst-rosas

6 Shobana Jeyasingh: http://www.shobanajeyasingh.co.uk/faultline-downloads/Faultline-resource-pack-Mar-2011.pdf

7 Ghost Dance: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lRcdlqAyIps

8 Recommended further reading: ‘AQA Dance GCSE’ Maggie Clunie, Liz Dale and Lyn Paine