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Performing Arts: Dance Level 3 Extended Diploma at Truro and Penwith College

Course description

he units have been selected to provide you with experience in a wide variety of practical dance techniques, offer a range of choreographic opportunities and teach you to analyse your progress and important developments within the professional dance world. This approach will allow you to grow into a versatile and thoughtful dance student with the theoretical knowledge to support your practical development. The structure of the first year allows you to build specialist skills and experiment with new dance genres and methods of creating movement guided by your lecturers, whilst the second year develops and challenges your skills as a performer and encourages you to begin to find your own creative style.

You will participate in formal technique classes in Classical Ballet, Jazz Dance and Contemporary Dance in both years leading to performance of specially choreographed work and excerpts from professional repertoire. You will also study Tap Dance in the first year and Urban Dance in the second year to reflect current working practices. You will participate in choreographic projects in both first and second year in a variety of dance genres and learn about professional dance artists working in the field of Classical, Contemporary and Commercial Dance, Physical Theatre and Dance Theatre.

You will be able to study 1 additional AS/A Level subject alongside your Extended Diploma which provides you with the opportunity to select AS Dance to further enhance your dance education or a complementary subject such as AS Level English, Psychology or Photography which may inform future education, training or career decisions.

Course content

The BTEC qualification is made up of 18 units studied across two years and is equivalent to 3 A Levels on completion. There are 6 Mandatory units (including one double unit) and 11 Specialist units which have been chosen from the specification by the lecturing team in response to the skills required to progress onto Higher Education at a specialist college or university.

Dance Technique and Performance
The aim of this part of the course content is to provide you with a strong set of physical skills across a broad spectrum of dance techniques. You will be expected to work with self-discipline, focus and motivation in all formal technique classes in order to build accurate and confident movement vocabulary. Whilst you may have studied some techniques offered on the course you may not have experienced others and it is an important requirement that you use lesson time plus additional independent study to support your development.
You will be taught by subject specialists who will encourage, support and motivate you throughout your two years and you will study a range of professional works or practitioners selected to suit the needs of the group. There will be opportunity to receive regular detailed and personal feedback on how you can improve and you will be encouraged to reflect upon your own practice by identifying your technical strengths and areas for improvement.

First Year Units

  • Developing Contemporary Dance Technique
  • Developing Classical Ballet Technique
  • Jazz Dance
  • Tap Dance
  • *Performance Workshop

Second Year Units

  • Applying Contemporary Dance Technique
  • Applying Classical Ballet Technique
  • Urban Dance
  • *Dance Performance
  • *Rehearsing for Performance (Double Unit)
  • *Performing to an Audience

(* Mandatory Units)

Dance Appreciation

What is dance? You will discuss the meaning of dance, its purpose and development and the origin of techniques taught today. You will look at particular eras and practitioners comparing historical work to modern day equivalents. You will learn and develop professional repertoire in order to build a physical understanding of the similarities and differences between style, techniques and practitioners. You will also investigate how The Arts are funded, employment within the performing arts and how to produce application material.

First Year Units

  • *The Historical Context of Performance
  • Developing Physical Theatre

Second Year Units

  • Dance Appreciation
  • *Performing Arts Business

Creative Learning
How is dance made? What are the key features of dance composition? How can movement be created, developed and structured? How can you communicate via the medium of dance? These aspects will be explored through creative study; you will explore the academic principles of choreography through practical workshops and learn how to make and structure movement in order to communicate a theme, narrative or abstract notion. You will then apply these academic principles to group choreographic projects which will encourage you to develop original movement, challenge your creativity and begin to consider your own choreographic style. You will have the opportunity to perform your work during public performances.

First Year Units
Choreographic Principles

Second Year Unit
Choreographing Dances

Entry requirements

The basic requirement is four GCSEs at grade C including either Maths or English Language. Previous experience in any dance genre is required and you will be invited to attend an interview.


The Extended Diploma is vocational in its nature and is assessed throughout the two years, there are no final exams but formal coursework deadlines will be set and you will be assessed during public performances – one at the end of the Autumn term and a second at the end of the Summer term.

Your achievement in this subject is dependent upon excellent attendance, punctuality and effort. You will need to work cooperatively as a member of an ensemble and meet formal deadlines throughout the year. You will learn in a friendly environment; the majority of units will be delivered in a practical manner with theoretical concepts and study of professional works and choreographers supporting your studies. You will be formally assessed in the following ways:-

  • You will be formally assessed on each unit that you study through project-based assignments. These assignments will examine your ability to become a sound technical dancer in a range of genres, a creative practitioner through small group choreographic tasks and a reflective learner through analysis of your own and others’ practice. You must pass all units to complete the 180 credit qualification.
  • You will be assessed regularly on written assignment work that is conducted during theoretical sessions and independent study periods. This may take the form of reflective essays, choreographic log books, research documents or working note books.
  • Discussions and presentations are a valuable part of our assessment process and you will be expected to contribute.
  • You will review your own performance in 1:1 sessions with your tutor and receive regular feedback in technique and choreographic sessions.
  • You will participate in two assessed performance platforms during each year of your course in order to demonstrate confidence and skill in front of an audience.

Future opportunities

A 180 credit BTEC Extended Diploma in Dance is highly valued by many universities and employers alike. It is also an excellent route onto professional training programmes at specialist dance or musical theatre colleges such as London Contemporary Dance School, London Studio Centre and Urdang. The academic nature of the course means that you are able to apply for Degree programmes at both specialist colleges and universities or to courses related to dance and the performing arts such as Events Management; the opportunity to study an additional A Level further widens the scope for Higher Education study.

Further information

We encourage all students to conduct further rehearsal and reflection in addition to formal lesson activities and support our learners who decide to undertake extra technical classes outside of the course. In our experience, learners who fully embrace their dance education will have the greatest potential for educational and training progression.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Truro and Penwith College directly.

Last updated date: 15 June 2016

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