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Dance AS/A2 Level at Alton College

Course description

Dance is a practical, creative and artistic subject. As a dance student, you will participate in choreographic tasks; solo as well as group work. Therefore, you will be expected to perform in front of an audience as well as the Examiner and the rest of your class. A Level Dance is NOT about learning routines but about exploring safe dance studio practices and creating your own choreography. You are also required to be able to write about and analyse coherently the types of dance you will be exploring in and out of the class. This will be your own work as well as professional repertoire.

Course content

Most lessons are of a practical nature, whether it is rehearsing for a performance, learning dance theory, participating in improvisation, devising choreography or analyzing professional dance work. The class focus is often on learning theory through practice and they are therefore not run like an extra-curricular dance lesson such as RAD Ballet, ISTD Modern or Street dance. You are expected to take notes on each class as part of your ongoing Dance Folder. On average four hours of private study are expected each week at A Level. This can consist of rehearsal time, essay writing and research based exploration of dance in the professional world.

Entry requirements

Students studying a 3 or 4 AS level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in Maths and/or English (unless specified otherwise). Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and AS level.

The course is designed for students from a dance background. Either a GCSE in Dance or dance experience from a private dance school (RAD, ISTD, IDTA exams) is essential.


Overall assessment weighting of the full A Level
Practical assessment = 50%; written assessment = 50%

AS written assessment - 50% of AS Level

  • Written exam: 2 hours long containing structured questions and two essay style questions. These will be about your own choreography and performance and about two different dance companies/ eras of dance history. These companies/ eras may be ballet, contemporary or jazz.

AS practical assessment - 50% of AS Level

  • A piece of solo choreography of two to three minutes in duration. A response to one of four possible stimuli.
  • Duo or trio performance lasting two to three minutes. Although candidates perform in a group, each candidate is assessed individually on their performance skills

A-Level written assessment - 50% of A Level

  • Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes split in to two sections. Section A relates to one era of dance history and one set professional work within that era. Section B asks questions on a second era of dance history and set professional work. The questions require critical analysis and appreciation of the work.

A-Level practical assessment - 50% of A Level

  • A group choreography lasting three to four minutes. The candidate will choreograph the dance on other people and not perform within it. This is also based on a response to one of four given stimuli.
  • A Solo performance lasting two to three minutes based on a dance practitioner in the professional dance world. The solo performance and choreography MUST reflect the style of a Dance Practitioner the student has chosen to study or be a re-creation of an existing professional solo appropriate to the eras of dance history outlined in the specification.
  • A performance in a quartet lasting between three and four minutes. Each candidate will be marked individually on their performance skills. 
  • All pratcial assessments are performed in front of a visiting examiner. 

Financial information

All students will be expected to provide a standard textbook, their own stationery, computer discs and calculators (where appropriate). Costs are outlined below:

Essential: £75 for textbooks and DVDs. (Although access to specific dance books and DVDs will be available in the Learning Resource Centre, you are recommended to purchase your own copies).
Desirable: You will be expected to attend trips to dance performances. The cost of these trips and workshops can be up to £50 throughout the year.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Future opportunities

The course can lead you to studying Dance or Performing Arts courses at university at the end. A Level Dance also naturally links up to PE courses at university. Gaining choreographic and performance experience through the A Level Dance course can give students a better chance at getting into vocational performing arts schools. This course can also improve an individual’s creativity, self confidence and communicative skills, needed for a wide variety of career paths.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Alton College directly.

Last updated date: 05 August 2016

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