Dance is a well-established department within the performing arts faculty and is a popular and vibrant subject. Dance is a timetabled curriculum lesson within the key stage three syllabus and an option in its own right at GCSE, AS and A2 Level
The ethos of the dance department is to provide students with an all-round experience and knowledge of a range of dance styles through schemes of work that are creative, stimulating and challenging, delivered through excellent teacher practice and guidance.
Quote: “The extra time and effort that my teachers gave me in my GCSE practical coursework last year really helped me go above and beyond my expectations. They made me see that with the correct guidance and support I could create a piece that was moving, honest, and of the highest standard.” Katherine Farrell Year 12
One of the best things about this subject is the incredible live performance opportunities students have in our versatile theatre space. We have a fully equipped theatre that allows students to experience the adrenaline and buzz of performing in front of a live audience of their teachers, family and friends.
Don’t worry if you see us jiving, counting out loudly to ourselves, or lifting each other in the corridors, this is something you will get used to!
We have two main dance spaces within the school. The Dance Studio is a fully equipped, light and airy space, with a wooden sprung floor and full floor to ceiling mirrors, and integrated AV facilities.
The theatre is situated on the ground floor of the school and is a large and extremely versatile space allowing classes to present and practice their work in a whole range of methods.
The Dance team comprises of two full time members of staff who are fully committed to the subject and ensuring that Dance is accessible to all students.
The Director of Performing and Visual Arts has taught dance at Townley for 14 years. Her enthusiasm and passion has meant that the Department has continued to thrive, resulting in consistent high achieving exam results in GCSE, AS and A2.
The curriculum at Key Stage Three requires students to build on and embed the physical development and skills learned in key stages 1 and 2, become more competent, confident and expert in their techniques, and apply them across different activities. They should understand what makes a performance effective and how to apply these principles to their own and others’ work. This is delivered over a number of units of work that have designed to be engaging and enjoyable.
We understand that not everyone has had experience of dancing before, that’s why we’ve designed schemes of work that are both enjoyable and accessible to all. All students in Year 7 participate at the end of the first term in the Dance & Drama Showcase. This is a fun-packed evening where girls get the opportunity to perform to their friends, family and peers.
Unit 1: Technique - Set Study (Townley Baseline Assessment)
Unit 2: Performance - Dance and Drama Showcase
Unit 3: Choreography - Graffiti
Unit 4: Choreography - Push, Pull, Catch, Fall
Unit 5: Dance Appreciation - The Nutcracker/Still Life at the Penguin Cafe
Unit 6: Dance and Culture - (Bollywood)
In year 8 we build on the complexity of the routines and develop skills even further as performers. As the choreographer, students develop their leadership skills and there are further opportunities to work within small groups of mixed ability, ensuring good team building opportunities.
Unit 1: Technique - Set Study
Unit 2: Choreography - Superheroes
Unit 3: Dance and Culture - African Dance
Unit 4: Choreography - Slavery Study (Poetry)
Unit 5& 6: Performance - Dance and Drama Showcase – Musical Theatre
In Year 9 students learn to look at dance in a more critical manner. Focus is placed more heavily on contact work and complex choreographic devices as students learn to create original and thought provoking pieces. This is done through a series of challenging units outlined below:
Unit 1: Technique - Set Study
Unit 2: Choreography - Hunger Games
Unit 3: Appreciation – Emancipation of Expressionism
Unit 4: Performance – Musical Theatre
Unit 5&6: Dance on Film
Why study dance at GCSE?
The study of dance as an art form will contribute to your aesthetic and social development. As a physical activity it promotes fitness, wellbeing and develops your confidence and self-esteem. In performance you will require a high level of effort and a determination to succeed and improve.
As a choreographer you will use the skills of problem solving and creativity. Effective choreography requires imagination and the ability to synthesize a number of elements. In directing others you will develop your interpersonal and communication skills. As a critic, you will make informed decisions about the dances you see. Viewing professional dances will broaden your artistic experience. You will receive a very positive experience learning many new skills you can put to good use in all professions.
We currently follow the AQA syllabus. This is broken down in the following ways:
GCSE Dance helps students develop technical and expressive skills as well as knowledge and understanding of dance through performance, choreography and critical appreciation of dance.
This specification enables students to:
Assessment Component 1: Performance and Choreography
How it's assessed - Internally marked and externally moderated
Component 2: Appreciation
Knowledge and understanding of choreographic processes and performing skills Critical appreciation of own work Critical appreciation of professional works
How it's assessed 40% of GCSE Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes 80 marks.
Questions Based on students' own practice in performance and choreography and the GCSE Dance anthology.
Lessons are divided into theory (classroom-based) and practical (studio-based)
I chose to take GCSE Dance as I had always enjoyed it in previous years at Townley. It also helps in other subjects such as PE, Drama or Music. It teaches you how to develop skills such as time management, creativity, quick thinking, improvisation and logical thinking- which I have found useful in my timetable this year. I’ve loved studying the works of a variety of practitioners including Akram Khan and Matthew Bourne, learning about choreography, accompaniment, costume, scenery, props, lighting, etc. If you have a passion for dance, and enjoy working in teams as well as on your own - GCSE can be a very worthwhile option to take.
You will need a B grade in GCSE Dance to progress to A Level, or attend a practical audition to assess suitability.
Careers – Teaching, Performer, Choreographer, Community Dance Worker, Costume/Set Designer, Arts Officer, Dance Film Maker, Movement Therapist, Dance Journalist, Dance Photographer, Youth Worker, Management Specialist. Dance GCSE will be of good use in all professions where you need excellent organisation, motivation and people skills.
A-level Dance at Townley is both challenging and rewarding. The course provides students with the opportunity to gain experience of performance and choreography and to develop critical thinking about Dance.
This four-unit specification requires students to:
You will need a 6 in GCSE Dance to progress to A Level, or attend a practical audition to assess suitability.
Unit 1: Choreography and Performance
• Choreography and performance of a solo
• Performance in a duet/trio
Unit 2: Critical Engagement
Knowledge, understanding and critical appreciation of two areas of study:
• one compulsory
• one optional area of study, from a choice of four
•The reflection and understanding of own choreographic and performance practice.
Unit 1: Performance and Choreography
• Solo performance linked to a specified practitioner within an area of study
• Performance in a quartet
• Group choreography
50% of A-level
Component 2: Critical Engagement
Knowledge, understanding and critical appreciation of two set works.
• One compulsory set work within the compulsory area of study
• One optional set work within the corresponding area of study, from a choice of four.
Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
50% of A-level
We are incredibly proud of our alumni, here’s just a few further education pathways of our most recent leavers:
London Contemporary Dance School
London Studio Centre
Young Performers (USA)
Students are now pursuing careers in the West End, on cruise ships, in contemporary repertoire, commercial dancing, teaching and arts administration.
Each year the performing arts subjects collaborate on a whole school production, this always attracts a high number of interest and each year we continue to be astounded by the talent of students acting as both cast and crew. Previous productions have included Annie, Hairspray and Oliver.
In 2009 we launched Kinetik, our in-house gifted and talented dance company. Teaming up with the Royal Academy of Dance ‘Step into Dance’ programme, this has provided the company dancers with access to once-a-week high quality teaching and dance education. Auditioning in September, each year the company has continued to flourish and on a number of occasions been invited to perform in Central London at Sadler’s Wells and The Mermaid theatres.
In 2013 our junior company ‘Pulse’ was formed. This is run by our dance scholars and provides company members with technical training, choreographic workshops and performance opportunities throughout the year.
KS3 DANCE CLUB
Each year group has the chance to attend a lunch time club which is open for all to enjoy! Clubs are led by both our subject scholars and dance department teachers. Students then have the opportunity to perform in our Dance Showcase.
SIXTH FORM DANCE COMPANY
In 2015, we established our sixth form dance company. Meeting once a week, we aim is to provide students with extra technical training and experience of performing and choreographing in preparation for higher education. Recognizing that there is a great amount of talent and passion for Dance within sixth form, the company is open to all, whether they have chosen Dance at A Level or not.
Each year dancers get the opportunity to take a trip ‘stateside’ and immerse themselves in the glitz and glamour of Broadway. Previous year groups have had the opportunity to participate in theatre workshops, take class with world famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, visit Radio City, NBC, and the Lincoln Centre.
We are fortunate to have links with Laban, who regularly stop by as part of their third year touring programme, this is a wonderful way of students witnessing first hand where they could be in two to three years’ time for those wishing to pursue a career in the industry.
There’s always a hive of activity around the performing arts areas at lunchtimes and after school, full of students from all years bursting with ideas and creativity. We are extremely proud of our subject scholars
and ambassadors who encourage girls from all years and abilities to come and explore the subject and work together.
Dance Production - Bond Show