Dance is a popular and highly regarded subject at Beaconsfield High School. It is taught to all students in Key Stage 3 and is offered as an optional subject from year 10 upwards. Students have the opportunity to study dance as an examination subject at both GCSE and A Level. Furthermore, dance is an extremely popular extra curricular activity for all years.
Dance helps students develop a number of skills:
• Visual appreciation of dance and choreography
• Balanced judgement
• Information gathering and assessment
• Ability to work on your own or as part of a team
Key Stage 3
Students study a range of units within Key Stage 3 aimed at developing their choreography, performance and appreciation skills. They are introduced to different dance styles including:
- Street Dance
- Musical Theatre
- Contemporary Dance
The units studied are based on a range of different stimuli including:
- Looney Tunes Cartoons - students explore common features of cartoons and create and interpret various cartoon storylines through dance.
- Urban Living – students explore aspects of youth culture, focusing on the basic techniques of street dancing and travelling using Parkour-style movements to create a dance.
- The Car Man, Matthew Bourne – students analyse this professional dance work creating a dance inspired by the opening scene which combines aspects of musical theatre with contemporary dance.
- Site-Specific-Dance - students learn about alternative performance settings for dance and choreograph their own site-specific dances in various settings within the school grounds.
Key Stage 4 - GCSE Dance
Students follow the AQA GCSE Dance course. 80% of the course is practical assessed through four practical pieces of work, two assessing choreography skills and two assessing performance skills. The remaining 20% of the course is theory based and is assessed in a written examination paper.
Through the GCSE course, students develop skills, knowledge and understanding of dance as a choreographer, performer and critic through:
- Applying and adapting a wide range of skills and techniques effectively in performing and choreographing dance, including the ability to improve;
- Creating dances for a range of purposes and in response to different stimuli;
- Developing the ability to analyse, evaluate and appreciate dance.
- Students also develop their appreciation of the contribution of dance to their personal and social health, fitness and wellbeing and develop awareness of the range of opportunities and pathways available in dance.
Theatre visits are an integral part of the course giving the students the opportunity to study live professional dance. Dance workshops with visiting artists and professional dance companies are also a key element.
Extra Curricular Dance
Extra Curricular Dance is extremely popular within the school. Lunch time and after school dance clubs are available for all year groups from beginners through to advanced dancers offering a range of dance styles. Clubs are run by older dance students, the dance teacher and external specialists.
There is an annual school dance show involving a large number of students from across the school and from our local primary schools. This is an extremely popular event on the school calendar.
Students in the Advanced Dance Group have the opportunity to perform in Community Dance Platforms at local theatres. Past performances have included:
- ‘Energize’, 'Unite' and ‘Dance Challenge’ at the Wycombe Swan Theatre
- ‘Just Dance’ at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
- 'MAD Festival' at Waddesdon Manor
- 'Dance Challenge' at the Beck Theatre, Hillingdon
- ‘Dance Challenge’ at Cadogan Hall in London
- 'Lift Off' at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell
- ‘Rock Challenge’ at Portsmouth Guildhall
Students are also offered the unique and invaluable experience of further developing their technique and appreciation of dance by participating in Dance tours. In October 2006 students went to Lake Garda and participated in a series of Hip Hop and Breakdance workshops and in February 2010, October 2011 and February 2014 students participated in tours to New York where they received tuition from Broadway performers and choreographers and saw two Broadway shows.