"Dance Exams"... what is the first word that comes to mind when you hear this phrase?
At DANCE1 we believe that the dance exam experience should be 'positive', 'encouraging' and a valuable 'learning experience'.
Students at DANCE1 work towards ‘Mrs Fisher Medal Day’ which is not your typical exam experience. It allows our students to perform in an ‘exam setting’ but with encouragement and support. We want all students to look back on their ‘dance exams’ with happy memories, adding on more styles each year!
‘My dancer attends weekly lessons, why should they participate in a dance exam’?
Dance exams may seem like a pointless exercise, especially for recreational students. However, participating in dance exams can have a number of benefits. Whether a dancer wants to perfect a pirouette… or earn their pointe shoes, here’s why dance exams are so valuable.
Firstly, dance exams provide a structured and standardised approach to learning and assessing dance skills. Exams are based on a syllabus, establishing technical standards across genres. At DANCE1, our dancers are examined on the Capricorn Ballet & Arts Academy (C.B.A.A. Syllabus).
Exam syllabi hold dancers to a consistent standard and ensure that appropriate milestones are met. This is why in Tap we learn to toe knock before we toe stand!
Our DANCE1 teachers use exam syllabi to plan their year and include this content as a guide to help our students achieve.
2. Goal Setting
Having an upcoming exam to work towards provides clear goals for dancers to strive towards.
Learning exercises and enchainments happens over a period of time, which can assist with motivation and focus. (Sorry friends, no last minute cramming for a Ballet exam!)
While exam participants don’t wear sparkly costumes, dance exams are a type of performance - showcasing steps and progressions for an audience (the examiner).
Students learn how to perform in a setting that is different from the stage - exam etiquette, a single audience member (as opposed to a theatre-full) and mastering their individual performance. There is a difference between dancing in a group number and dancing in a smaller group.
4. Continuous Education
There is always more to learn - dancers don’t stop at a single pirouette! The DANCE1 Staff all participated in their Mrs Fisher Medal Days and we expect the same of our DanceStep Assistant Teachers.
We encourage all dancers to continue learning and growing as student.
5. Sense of Achievement
Dance exams provide a sense of achievement and recognition for a dancer's hard work and dedication.
Students feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, having worked hard to achieve their goals. DANCE1 continues this celebration with our ‘Junior Medal Team’, rewarding our Juniors for their hard work and inviting them to dance with the Seniors students at the concert.
6. Valuable Feedback
Dance exams help dancers to gain valuable feedback from qualified examiners, which can help them to refine their technique and improve their overall performance.
Our C.B.A.A. exams provide an objective assessment of a dancer's knowledge, technique musicality and presentation. This assists dancers in understanding their strengths and identifying areas for improvement. The feedback received is meaningful to each dancer and is always given with encouragement.
Dance exams can lead to certification or accreditation from a particular organisation (in this case, Capricorn Ballet & Arts Academy). Participation in dance exams can demonstrate certain skills and qualifications - whether looking for a career as a professional dancer, or as a lawyer.
(Think of those qualities we've mentioned already... dedication, hard work, commitment)
Finally, dance exams can provide opportunities for dancers to connect with others who share their passion for dance. DANCE1 ensures that each dance exam opportunity is a supportive and encouraging experience for our students.
DANCE1 chooses the same examiner each year (our beloved Mrs Fisher) who fosters a sense of community and values the experiences we want for our students.
Mrs Fisher watched Miss Kirsty, Miss Lu and all the other DANCE1 teachers when they were younger - she knows her stuff!
Don't just take our word for it, though! Get involved in Mrs Fisher Medal Day and see how much fun it is for yourself!
Video: Students preparing for their dance exams - from the barre to their bow!