Dance in the Broad General Education
Dance in Armadale Academy is offered as an option within the S2 Expressive Arts Curriculum and beyond.
S2 Option (1 x Double Period per week)
Students who elect to study Dance in S2 will develop their core technique in Ballet, and will focus on periods of study covering a range of other dance styles including contemporary, jazz and hip-hop dance. The course aims to develop the dancers' strength, technique and flexibility while introducing dance as an expressive tool. Students experiment with choreographic techniques to create dance pieces for performance at school events. Students learn to work together to create effective dance performances. Throughout the year students have opportunities to experiment with using makeup and costume to enhance a performance.
S3 Option (3 times per week)
Students may choose to study Dance in S3 where they will follow Level 4 Experiences and Outcomes. Technical and performance classes in Jazz, Contemporary and Hip Hop dance styles are taught alongside a core Ballet technique class, and expressive choreography is explored on a deeper level . Opportunities are available to participate in regular performances and pupils benefit from the expertise of visiting professionals.
More emphasis is placed on technical development and critical response to aid progression into the Senior Phase. At this stage in S3 exceptional dancers are encouraged to consider applying for RCS Junior Conservatoire, the Dance School of Scotland and MGA Academy of Performing Arts for S3 entry courses.
Senior Phase Dance
Dancers can study National 5 and Higher Dance in S4-6, and the course is split into two areas:
Performance (Technical Skills) and Choreography & Review.
Pupils on this course are expected to prepare a technical solo in a style of dance which suits their style best. Jazz, Contemporary and Hip Hop are routinely offered, but dancers from other backgrounds such as Ballet, Tap or Highland can be supported if they are specialists in this area and study privately outside of school. Intermediate level Ballet continues to be studied each week to encourage proper placement and technique. Students must demonstrate correct and safe technique, musicality and performance quality in an individual exam performed to an external examiner.
Throughout the year pupils will reflect on the technical skill and performance quality of themselves and their peers. This takes place informally on a regular basis, and termly on a more formal basis where class is filmed and reviewed in detail against specific criteria. At Higher level, pupils must perform technical solos in two dance styles.
Choreography & Review:
In N5 students choreograph a piece for 2 dancers (Higher level: 3 Dancers) that is based on a theme or stimulus. Learners will apply choreographic techniques and a suitable structure to develop their movement into an expressive dance piece. As part of this process pupils study the work of established choreographers. Pupils must be able to demonstrate how they have built their choreography up, which techniques they have used and justify their creative decisions.
Through their study of dance, the students will experiment with theatre arts such as costume, makeup and lighting, and they will consider the use of music and sound to enhance their expressive choreography.
From 2018 there is now a written paper during the diet of main SQA exams. Dancers will be asked to articulate an in-depth written response to their own dance practice, technical development areas and respond critically to the work of a professional choreographer.
This will be focused on after Christmas and pupils will sit practice exams to help them prepare considered and relevant responses. Work will come home to support this nearer the time.