Subject content

3.1 Unit 1 DANC1 Understanding Dance

3.1 Unit 1 DANC1 Understanding Dance

3.1 Unit 1 DANC1 Understanding Dance

Knowledge and understanding of performance and choreography and the ability to recognise the significance of the outcome (own work and professional repertoire) are central to this unit. The subject content of this unit links directly to the practical presentations of Unit 2.

The study of professional repertoire underpins the candidate’s study of choreographic approaches, processes, form, structure and effective outcomes.

It is advised that a minimum of five dance works should be used for this purpose, from a variety of genres and styles. The choice of works and choreographers for study should allow the candidates to investigate a variety of ways in which a choreographer uses and manipulates the constituent features in order to communicate to an audience.

Study focuses on the following three areas.

3.1.1 The dancer as performer: knowledge and understanding of the demands made in practice and performance on the dancer

3.1.1 The dancer as performer: knowledge and understanding of the demands made in practice and performance on the dancer

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • correct alignment, posture
  • joints: structure, range of movement in relation to the dancer and the body in action, and injury prevention
  • the fitness components of strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, agility and how to develop these through training principles, eg progressive overload, resistance
  • technical skills specific to a particular style/genre of dance being studied: examples of technical exercises; relationship between exercise and style/genre, eg plié – ballet, use of turn out, safe alignment, preparation for aerial work
  • the performance skills of focus, musicality, emphasis, timing, phrasing
  • how to communicate/interpret the dance idea through, for example, projection, characterisation, focus
  • performing with others: awareness, sensitivity, contact, use of space, timing
  • safe practice, for example
    • warm-up/cool-down: rationale, changes in the body, examples of exercises
    • appropriate environment in which to dance: studio spaces – free of obstacles, the value of a sprung floor, optimum temperature, the need for ventilation; performance spaces – awareness of risk
    • ppropriate clothing and overall presentation: clothing, jewellery, hair, footwear
    • physical/psychological limitations of the mind and body: focus, concentration, commitment
    • alanced diet: long-term health, preparing for exercise, maintaining good hydration, slow/ fast release energy foods
    • simple treatment for injury, ie 'Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation'.

3.1.2. The process and craft of choreography: own work and that of professional repertoire

3.1.2. The process and craft of choreography: own work and that of professional repertoire

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • the constituent features of the dance and their possible relationships
    • movement components: action, dynamic and spatial content
    • dancers: number; physique; role; gender
    • aural setting: silence; the audible aspect of dancing; found sound; natural sound; the spoken word; music; sound effects
    • physical setting: performance environment (formal, eg proscenium arch, or informal, eg studio; site specific); set, costume; lighting; properties; film
  • the development, manipulation and structuring of ideas using choreographic devices, eg motif and motif development; variation; repetition; contrast; highlights; climax; transition; chance
  • the (sectional) structuring of material, eg binary; ternary; rondo; theme and variation; episodic; narrative; collage; chance
  • relationship of the dance to any aural setting, eg direct correlation; music visualisation; mutual coexistence; disassociation; enhancement of mood/atmosphere; identification of character; narrative; call and response; silence
  • developing ideas from a starting point, ie a question – analysis and abstraction and the value of research
  • the use of improvisation/task-based improvisation as an approach to initiating movement ideas
  • the use/benefits of experimentation of movement material within the rehearsal studio
  • rehearsal process, eg selection, refinement and feedback
  • the value of an appropriate title and succinct programme notes in order to guide the viewer and give clear insight into the work
  • the value of a choreographic journal.

3.1.3 The significance of dances: own work and that of professional repertoire

3.1.3. The significance of dances: own work and that of professional repertoire

Ability to make analytical comments on the dance in terms of:

  • character
  • qualities
  • type and treatment of subject matter
  • possible meaning/interpretation
  • clarity of choreographic intention.

The Unit 1 written paper comprises two sections. Section A contains structured questions and Section B contains two essay questions. All questions are compulsory.

3.2 Unit 2 DANC2 Choreography and Performance

3.2 Unit 2 DANC2 Choreography and Performance

Experience of choreography and performance through practice is central to this unit. The subject content of this unit is clearly linked to the theoretical subject content of Unit 1. It is strongly advised that candidates keep a choreographic journal in order to assist theoretical understanding.

Study will focus on the following three main areas.

3.2.1 The process of solo choreography from investigation and research of ideas through to outcome

3.2.1 The process of solo choreography from investigation and research of ideas through to outcome

Understanding and awareness of:

  • constituent features of the dance
    • movement components: action, dynamic and spatial content
    • dancers: physique, role
    • aural setting: silence, the audible aspect of dancing, found sound, natural sound, the spoken word, music
    • physical setting: performance environment, costume, lighting, properties
  • transposition of the dance idea
  • use of improvisation as an approach to initiating ideas
  • experimentation of movement material within the rehearsal studio
  • development, manipulation and structuring of ideas using choreographic devices, eg motif and motif development, variation, repetition, contrast, highlights, climax, transition, chance
  • (sectional) structuring of material, eg binary, ternary, rondo, theme and variation, episodic, narrative, collage
  • relationship of the dance to any aural setting, eg direct correlation, music visualisation, mutual coexistence, disassociation, enhancement of mood/atmosphere, identification of character, narrative, call and response, silence
  • rehearsal process, eg refinement, feedback, practice
  • safe practice, eg warm-up/cool-down, appropriate environment in which to dance, appropriate clothing, physical/psychological limitations of the mind and body, limitations of the energy reserve, basic first aid
  • how to write clear and succinct programme notes in terms of factual information required by AQA and a statement which communicates and encapsulates how the question has been interpreted.

3.2.2. The development of physical and interpretative skills in relation to performance of the solo choreography

3.2.2. The development of physical and interpretative skills in relation to performance of the solo choreography

Understanding, awareness and development of:

  • correct alignment, posture, stability and control
  • the body in action, eg flexion, extension, rotation, locomotion, elevation, balance, isolation, co-ordination, transference of weight, turns, curves, tilts, spirals, falls, suspension, release, contraction
  • strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, agility, kinaesthetic awareness
  • dynamic variation
  • personal and stage space, eg shape, direction, pathway, levels
  • focus, musicality, emphasis, timing, phrasing
  • communication/interpretation of the dance idea through, for example, projection, characterisation, focus.

3.2.3 The development of performance skills within a duo/trio performance context

3.2.3 The development of performance skills within a duo/trio performance context

Understanding, awareness and development of:

  • spatial awareness between dancers
  • sensitivity towards fellow performers
  • clear demonstration and presentation of choreographic devices within a duo/trio, eg unison, canon, counterpoint, variation, contrast, contact
  • group formations
  • focus between dancers
  • relationships which can exist in order to project the dance idea
  • safe practice within the context of a duo/trio
  • musicality and timing between dancers
  • use of contact.

3.2.4 Unit 2 assessment

3.2.4 Unit 2 assessment

Solo choreography and performance

Candidates are required to choreograph and perform a solo dance, between two and three minutes' duration. (Candidates should provide a brief programme note of not more than 150 words, to indicate the choreographic intention to the moderator. This programme note is not assessed.)

Questions are set and pre-released by AQA in November preceding the examination, and the candidate selects one for study.

Performance in a duo/trio

Presentation of the duo/trio can be in any dance genre or style but it must enable the candidate to address all of the assessment criteria.

The dance should be between three and four minutes in duration and will be performed once, allowing the teacher to assess each duo/trio in one viewing.

The performance may result from work choreographed by the teacher, the candidate(s) or a professional dancer, or it may be the result of collaboration between them. The teacher must, however, take ultimate responsibility for ensuring all criteria are addressed.

Candidates are assessed on their own individual performance within the context of a duo/trio. There is no mark allocation for contribution during the process of creating the dance, nor for any collaborative effort.

Unit 2 Section A – Solo Choreography and Performance

Unit 2 Section A – Solo Choreography and Performance

AO1

The ability to create imaginative dances with an understanding of current practice whilst drawing on the conventions and traditions of the past.

This will be evident in the:

  • appropriate, imaginative and informed translation of ideas into dance material in relation to the chosen question
  • appropriate and imaginative manipulation of dance material through the use of choreographic and structuring devices in relation to solo choreography, providing a coherent development of ideas
  • appropriate and imaginative choice and/or use of music, sound or silence to enhance meaning and projection of the dance idea.

Specific marking categories will be issued with the question paper, though mark allocation will remain the same each year, ie 12 marks for response and interpretation of the question and 18 marks for the craft of choreography.

Mark Bands for Solo Choreography

Band 1 25–30 marks
  • Highly imaginative, pertinent and extremely clear translation of ideas into dance material, leading to work which demonstrates a thorough understanding and very confident grasp of the process of selection and manipulation of material
  • The answer will reveal a very competent understanding of choreographic and structuring devices, which results in a highly sophisticated, complex and coherent piece of work
  • Highly imaginative, thoughtful and insightful choice and use of the aural setting which allows the candidate to enhance very clearly the meaning and expression of the dance idea
Band 2 19–24 marks
  • Imaginative and clear translation of ideas into dance material, leading to work which demonstrates a sound understanding and clear grasp of the process of selection and manipulation of material
  • The answer will reveal a competent understanding of choreographic and structuring devices, which results in a coherent piece of work
  • Imaginative and carefully considered choice and use of the aural setting which allows the candidate to enhance the meaning and expression of the dance idea
Band 3 13–18 marks
  • A sound attempt to translate ideas into dance material, leading to work which demonstrates understanding of the process of selection and manipulation of material
  • The answer will reveal understanding of choreographic and structuring devices, which results in an attempt to produce a coherent piece of work, though at times clarity may be lost
  • A considered attempt will have been made to choose and use appropriate aural setting, though it may not necessarily enhance the meaning and expression of the dance idea
Band 4 7–12 marks
  • Some attempt will have been made, though limited, to translate ideas into dance material, leading to work which demonstrates very limited understanding of the process of selection and manipulation of material
  • The answer will reveal a limited understanding of choreographic and structuring devices, which results in a piece of work which is inconsistent in its attempt to be coherent
  • An attempt will have been made to choose and use aural setting, though the choice and its use may not enhance the meaning and expression of the dance idea
Band 5 1–6 marks
  • Very little, if any, evidence of appropriate translation of ideas into dance material, leading to work which demonstrates extremely limited understanding of the process of selection and manipulation of material
  • The answer will reveal little or no understanding of choreographic and structuring devices, which results in a piece of work lacking clarity and coherence
  • An attempt will have been made to choose and use aural setting, though the choice and its use may not enhance and may even detract from the meaning and expression of the dance idea

AO2i

The ability to perform and interpret dance ideas, through solo performance, demonstrating an understanding of appropriate technical and expressive skills and of safe practice.

This will be evident in the:

  • articulate and efficient use of bodily skill
  • eloquent control of space
  • eloquent use of dynamics to embody the specific dance idea
  • clear use of focus to communicate the dance idea
  • informed and appropriate projection of the dance idea.

Solo Performance Mark Scheme

Precision and control of bodily skill: alignment, flexion, extension, rotation, whole body participation and/or isolation - 6 marks

Precision and control of bodily skill: locomotion, transference of weight, balance - 6 marks

Spatial control and eloquence (in individual space and in stage space as used) - 6 marks

Rhythmic control and eloquence, embodying the chosen dynamics - 6 marks

Interpretation/embodiment of the candidate's dance idea with use of focus (imaginative or actual) to project the interpretation with clarity - 6 marks

Total 30 marks

Mark Bands for Performance of the Solo Choreography

Band 1 25–30 marks
  • Highly articulate and extremely efficient use of bodily skill
  • Carefully considered and very controlled use of space
  • Highly appropriate use of dynamics to embody the specific dance idea, showing very clear understanding of dynamic phrasing, subtlety and nuance
  • Extremely effective and very clear use of focus to communicate the dance idea
  • Projection of the dance idea is demonstrated in an informed, transparent and wholly appropriate manner
  • The performance is presented in a sophisticated and highly polished, elegant way, clearly demonstrating an appropriate sense of style
Band 2 19–24 marks
  • Articulate and very efficient use of bodily skill
  • Considered and controlled use of space
  • Appropriate use of dynamics to embody the specific dance idea, showing understanding of dynamic phrasing, subtlety and nuance
  • Effective and clear use of focus to communicate the dance idea
  • Projection of the dance idea is demonstrated in an informed and appropriate manner
  • The performance is presented with flair, demonstrating an appropriate sense of style
Band 3 13–18 marks
  • Efficient use of bodily skill
  • The use of space has been considered but sometimes control and eloquence may be erratic
  • Appropriate use of dynamics to embody the specific dance idea, though clarity of dynamic phrasing may be missing
  • An attempt to be effective in the use of focus to communicate the dance idea, though there may be some inconsistency throughout the performance
  • Projection of the dance idea is demonstrated in an adequate manner, though there may be some inconsistency throughout the performance
  • An attempt will have been made to demonstrate an appropriate sense of style throughout the performance.
Band 4 7–12 marks
  • The use of bodily skill sometimes shows efficiency and clarity
  • The use of space has been considered but more often than not the performer demonstrates an erratic sense of control and eloquence
  • An attempt to use dynamic variation has been made but the relationship with the dance idea is not always clear
  • The use of focus is inconsistent throughout the performance and is used unsuccessfully to communicate the dance idea
  • Projection of the dance idea is limited
  • The demonstration of an appropriate sense of style is limited
Band 5 1–6 marks
  • Extremely limited efficiency in the use of bodily skill, showing very little evidence of articulation
  • The performer has very limited control and eloquence in her/his use of space
  • The use of dynamics to embody the dance idea is extremely limited and underdeveloped
  • The use of focus is limited throughout the performance and does not enhance the communication of the dance idea
  • Projection of the dance idea is extremely limited
  • The demonstration of an appropriate sense of style is extremely limited

Unit 2 Section B – Performance in a Duo/Trio

Unit 2 Section B – Performance in a Duo/Trio

AO2i

The ability to perform with other dancers, demonstrating sensitivity and awareness within group performance, and of safe practice.

This will be evident in the relationships shown through:

  • clear spatial awareness between dancers
  • clear demonstration and presentation of choreographic devices within a duo/trio, eg unison, canon, counterpoint, variation, contrast, contact
  • clear and accurate timing of dancers with each other in relation to the choreographic and structuring devices
  • clear and appropriate focus between the dancers
  • clear understanding of the group performance context and individual role within it
  • clear understanding of safe dance practice within the context of a duo/trio.

Performance in a Duo/Trio Mark Scheme

Spatial awareness within the context of a duo/trio - 6 marks

Demonstration and presentation of choreographic devices within a duo/trio, eg unison, canon, counterpoint, variation, contrast, contact - 6 marks

Timing in relation to other performers and choreographic devices - 6 marks

Use of focus within the context of a duo/trio - 6 marks

Demonstration of understanding of the group performance context and individual role within it - 6 marks

Total 30 marks

Mark Bands for Performance in a Duo/Trio

Band 1 25–30 marks
  • Carefully considered and very controlled use of space in relation to other performers
  • Extremely clear demonstration and presentation of choreographic devices
  • Extremely accurate timing in relation to other performers and the choreographic devices used
  • Extremely effective and very clear use of focus within the context of a duo/trio
  • Sophisticated presentation of the dance idea, showing insightful understanding of individual role within a duo/trio performance context
Band 2 19–24 marks
  • Considered and controlled use of space in relation to other performers
  • Very clear demonstration and presentation of choreographic devices
  • Accurate timing in relation to other performers and the choreographic devices used
  • Effective and clear use of focus within the context of a duo/trio
  • Very clear presentation of the dance idea showing understanding of individual role within a duo/trio performance context
Band 3 13–18 marks
  • The use of space in relation to other performers has been considered but sometimes this may be erratic
  • Competent demonstration and presentation of choreographic devices
  • Some accuracy of timing in relation to other performers and the choreographic devices used
  • An attempt to be effective in the use of focus within the context of a duo/trio
  • Clear presentation of the dance idea, showing some understanding of individual role within a duo/trio performance context
Band 4 7–12 marks
  • The use of space in relation to other performers has been considered but more often than not the performer demonstrates an erratic sense of spatial awareness
  • Adequate demonstration and presentation of choreographic devices
  • An attempt to demonstrate accurate timing in relation to other performers and the choreographic devices used, but at times this is inconsistent
  • An attempt to be effective in the use of focus within the context of a duo/trio but at times this is inconsistent
  • Adequate presentation of the dance idea, showing some understanding of individual role within a duo/trio performance context
Band 5 1–6 marks
  • The performer demonstrates very little spatial awareness in the context of a duo/trio
  • Limited demonstration and presentation of choreographic devices
  • Limited accuracy of timing in relation to other performers and the choreographic devices used
  • The use of focus is limited within the context of a duo/trio
  • Limited presentation of the dance idea, showing some understanding of individual role within a duo/trio performance context.

3.3 Unit 3 DANC3 Dance Appreciation: Content and Context

3.3 Unit 3 DANC3 Dance Appreciation: Content and Context

This unit requires the candidate to demonstrate an understanding of the development of dance through the study of the context in which dances are presented and from which they are derived, together with a critical appreciation of practitioners and their works.

The written paper comprises two sections.  Section A focuses on the areas of study and Section B on the set works. Candidates answer one essay question from each section.

For the purposes of this specification, the genres to be studied are understood to be as follows:

Ballet: a form of dancing which focuses on the technique and style of the danse d’école, using the port de bras, the five positions of the feet and turn-out of the legs.

Modern dance: a form of theatrical dancing which began in the 20th century, originally in opposition to the formality of ballet. As the dance form has developed, the distinction has become less evident.

Jazz dance: a form of dancing based on African origins. It focuses on the use of complex rhythms and techniques that include the isolation of body parts. Throughout the 20th century a wide range of jazz dance styles has evolved for both stage and film.

3.3.1 Section A – Areas of Study

3.3.1 Section A – Areas of Study

Candidates are required to investigate one area of study out of a possible three and to answer one question from a choice of two on their chosen area of study.

Centres may choose the area of study candidates will follow but the choice and subsequent delivery of subject content should reflect the appropriate range of features associated with that genre. The questions in Section A of the Unit 3 examination paper refer to an understanding of professional repertoire in the context of the genre as a whole.

These areas of study link Unit 3 directly to the solo performance presentation of Unit 4.

The following aspects for each area of study should be investigated:

  • stylistic features of the area of study, i.e. the characteristics of the style reflecting the range within the genre
  • practitioners and their techniques, i.e. the influences affecting the development of each practitioner’s technique and style, showing the range and contrast within the genre. A minimum of two practitioners with established professional reputations should be investigated

  • works of the practitioners, i.e. an appreciation of each practitioner's works and an understanding of their importance in the development of the genre
  • the relationship between the development of the genre and its context, i.e. the position of the genre within history, culture and society; the influence of the context on the genre and the genre's ability to reflect and challenge society.

The three areas of study for examination 2013–2015 are:

The Royal Ballet 1956–1977

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 1958–current

Netherlands Dance Theatre 1959–1999.

Teachers should note that the areas of study are expected to change every three years.

The Royal Ballet 1956–1977

The main company and the touring company both received the Royal Charter in 1956. The main company’s founder, Ninette de Valois, resigned as director in 1963. Frederick Ashton became the new director with Kenneth MacMillan as chief choreographer. The directorship passed to MacMillan in 1970 with Peter Wright as associate director. MacMillan resigned from the post in 1977 in order to give more time to choreography. During this period the company maintained its commitment to 19th century classical repertoire. However, many new works were also created, as well as major revivals. The range within the repertoire provided the ideal opportunities for the abilities of the dancers and for the development of significant partnerships. The touring company went through changes in both name and composition during this period.

Examples of practitioners for this study area:

Sir Frederick Ashton

His early training was with Massine and he later studied with Marie Rambert who recognised his choreographic potential. He joined the Vic-Wells Ballet in 1935 as dancer and choreographer, later becoming director of the Royal Ballet from 1963 to 1970. He is recognised as one of the main creators of the British classical style. He made a major contribution to the classical repertoire through the range of his work, his musicality, his recognition of the dancers’ skills and his understanding of academic dance. His works include La Fille mal gardée (1960), The Dream (1964) and Monotones (1965 and 1966).

Sir Kenneth MacMillan

He trained at the Sadler’s Wells Ballet School and, on graduation, joined the Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet as a dancer. In 1948 he moved to Covent Garden and then returned to Sadler’s Wells. He made his first choreography in 1953, later becoming director of the Royal Ballet from 1970 to 1977. He was concerned with the expression of feeling through movement, often creating dramatic situations through which the range of emotions could be revealed. He was innovative in his choreography, focusing on themes which were unfamiliar in classical ballet at that time. His works include Romeo and Juliet (1965), The Song of the Earth (1965) and Manon (1974).

Dame Margot Fonteyn

A British ballerina who studied with Legat and Astafieva before joining the Sadler's Wells Ballet School in 1934. In the same year she made her debut with the Vic-Wells Ballet. She became Ashton's muse, creating many roles in his works. She was a true exponent of the British style of ballet, combining musicality with an expressive lyricism. She showed a purity of line and a clear rapport with the audience. Her partnership with Rudolf Nureyev led to a new phase in her dancing career. Her interpretation enhanced the roles she performed, e.g. Marguerite and Armand (Ashton, 1963) and Romeo and Juliet (MacMillan, 1965).

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 1958–current

The company was founded by Alvin Ailey in 1958 and has developed into a very successful multi-racial company. Ailey’s own African-American heritage provided the inspiration for the choreography, shown through the stylistic combination of modern, jazz and classical ballet. The grace and strength of the dancers, combined with their personality and versatility, have contributed to the theatricality of the works and their powerful emotive content. After Ailey's death in 1989 Judith Jamison, dancer and choreographer, took over as director, preserving the company’s legacy, promoting the creation of new works and ensuring financial stability. On Jamison's retirement in 2011, Robert Battle took over as director. Although never a company member, he has choreographed for the company and worked with the school. The company's repertoire includes a wide range of works by different choreographers.

Examples of practitioners for this study area:

Alvin Ailey

American dancer, choreographer and company director. He studied with Horton and later with Graham, Holm and Weidman. He founded his own company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, in 1958. His African-American heritage inspired the themes and music for his choreography. The combination of modern dance with jazz and classical ballet was enhanced by the theatricality of his works. His recognition of Judith Jamison's talent allowed him to create some of his most memorable roles for her. His works include Revelations (1960), Cry (1971) and For Bird – with Love (1984).

Judith Jamison

American dancer, choreographer and company director. She trained at the Philadelphia Dance Academy, where she was discovered by Agnes de Mille, and later studied with Tudor and Maria Swoboda. She danced with the American Ballet Theatre before joining the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1965. Although she performed with other companies, her career was committed to the Ailey company. In 1980 she began a freelance career as a dancer and choreographer. In 1989, after Ailey's death, she became the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She extended the company's repertoire with her own works and those of other choreographers. Her works include Divining (1984), Rift (1991) and Hymn (1993).

Robert Battle

American dancer, choreographer and company director. He studied at the Juilliard School and, on graduation, joined the Parsons Dance Company in 1994. He began to choreograph for the Parsons Dance Company in 1998. In 2001 he founded his own company, Battleworks Dance Company. He choreographed for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2003, and subsequently choreographed with Jamison and Rennie Harris. He was artist-inresidence for the Ailey School in 2006 and 2008. He is artistic director for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. His works include Juba (2003), In/Side (2008) and The Hunt (2010).

Netherlands Dance Theatre 1959–1999

The Netherlands Dance Theatre was founded in 1959 by a group of dancers from Sonia Gaskell's Netherlands Ballet. The new company was based in The Hague and Hans van Manen and Benjamin Harkarvy became co-artistic directors in 1960. Van Manen was also the chief choreographer. In Europe the company led the way in providing classes in modern dance technique for its members. This influence was enhanced by American modern dance choreographers who worked with the company, e.g. Butler, Sokolow and Tetley. The repertoire included experimental work influenced by modern dance. In 1969, on Harkarvy's resignation, van Manen and Tetley became joint directors. Van Manen left in 1970, but the company began a new stage in its development in 1975 when Jiˇrí Kylián became artistic director. Under Kylián’s leadership two smaller companies were also created: NDT2 for junior dancers, and NDT3 for dancers of retirement age. In 1999 Kylián resigned from the post of artistic director.

Examples of practitioners for this study area:

Hans van Manen

Dutch dancer, choreographer and company director. He studied with Sonia Gaskell, Françoise Adret and Nora Kiss. He joined the Netherlands Dance Theatre in 1960, contributing choreographically and performing the role of co-artistic director. He began a freelance career in 1971, but rejoined Netherlands Dance Theatre in 1988 as resident choreographer. His work focuses on the exploration of form and movement, with accompaniment by a wide range of composers. An identifiable theme is the relationship between men and women. His works include Grosse Fuge (1971), Twilight (1972) and Septet Extra (1973).

Glen Tetley

American dancer, choreographer and company director. He trained with Holm, Graham, Craske and Tudor, and at the School of American Ballet. After dancing with a number of different companies, including that of Holm, Graham, and the American Ballet Theatre, he started his own company in 1962. He later began working for Netherlands Dance Theatre as a dancer and choreographer, becoming co-artistic director in 1969. He has contributed to the work and development of many companies including Ballet Rambert and the Stuttgart Ballet. His style reflects modern dance influences, as well as the lyricism of classical ballet, and uses a wide range of movement vocabulary. His works include Pierrot Lunaire (1962), The Anatomy Lesson (1964) and Mutations (with van Manen, 1970).

Jiˇrí Kylián

Czech dancer, choreographer and company director. He studied at the Prague Conservatory and the Royal Ballet School. He joined the Stuttgart Ballet in 1968 and began to choreograph for the company in 1970. His first work for Netherlands Dance Theatre was in 1973 and he was later appointed as artistic director and choreographer. He also created two smaller companies: NDT2 for junior dancers and NDT3 for dancers over 40 (which showed his appreciation of the contribution of older, experienced dancers). He gave up the post of artistic director in 1999, but continued as choreographer and adviser to the company. His style reflects the influences of classical ballet, modern dance and folk dance. Emotions or ideas inspire his works, often resulting in nonnarrative dramatic pieces enhanced by his musical sensitivity. His works include Symphony of Psalms (1978), Stamping Ground (1983) and Falling Angels (1989).

3.3.2 Section B – The Set Work

3.3.2 Section B – The Set Work

Candidates study one set work from a choice of three and answer one question from a choice of two. The questions require the critical analysis and appreciation of one set work.

The set works for examination 2013–2015 are:

The Prodigal Son (Balanchine, 1929)

Zero Degrees (Khan and Cherkaoui, 2005)

West Side Story (Robbins, 1961)

(For this set work the analysis should focus on the choreographed sections and their context.)

The choreographers of the set works link Unit 3 directly to the solo performance presentation of Unit 4.

Teachers should note that the set works to be studied are expected to change every three years.

Questions will focus on a detailed understanding of the set work through analysis and interpretation of the following:

  • the significance of the character of the dance, its subject matter and treatment
  • the form of the dance and its effectiveness in communicating the subject matter
  • the constituent features of the dance including movement components, dancers, the physical and aural setting and the relevance of these features in embodying the subject matter
  • the technique and style of the choreographer, and the influences affecting the choreographer's development
  • the origins of the dance
  • the relationship between the dance and its context; its importance in the development of both the choreographer and the genre.

3.4 Unit 4 DANC4 Group Choreography and Solo Performance

3.4 Unit 4 DANC4 Group Choreography and Solo Performance

Experience of choreography and performance through practice is central to this unit. It allows the candidate to develop and extend understanding and skills experienced in Unit 2 of the AS award and there are direct links to the theoretical subject content of Unit 3.

A question paper is issued annually in the Autumn term, with a choice of questions for the group dance.

Candidates answer two questions, one on group choreography and one on solo performance. (For group choreography candidates should provide a brief programme note of not more than 150 words, to indicate the choreographic intention to the examiner. This programme note is not assessed.)

The group choreography is performed by 3, 4 or 5 dancers and is 2 to 3 minutes in duration. The solo performance lasts for 2 to 3 minutes.

3.4.1 The process of group choreography from investigation and research of ideas through to outcome

3.4.1 The process of group choreography from investigation and research of ideas through to outcome

Understanding and awareness of:

  • constituent features of the dance:
    • movement components: action, dynamic and spatial content
    • dancers: number, gender, physique, roles
    • aural setting: silence, the audible aspect of dancing, found sound, natural sound, the spoken word, music
    • physical setting: performance environment, costume, lighting, properties
  • transposition of the dance idea
  • use of improvisation/task-based improvisation as an approach to initiating ideas
  • experimentation of movement material within the rehearsal studio
  • development, manipulation and structuring of ideas using choreographic devices, eg motif and motif development, canon, unison, variation, repetition, contrast, highlights, climax, transition, logical sequencing, balance, chance
  • (sectional) structuring of material, eg binary, ternary, rondo, theme and variation, episodic, narrative, collage
  • relationship of the dance to any aural setting, eg direct correlation, music visualisation, mutual coexistence, disassociation, enhancement of mood/atmosphere, identification of character, narrative, call and response, silence
  • effective use and manipulation of a group of dancers, utilising skills and attributes
  • rehearsal process, eg refinement, feedback, practice, communication of dance idea to a group of dancers, organisation of people and time
  • safe practice, eg warm-up/cool-down, appropriate environment in which to dance, appropriate clothing, physical/psychological limitations of the mind and body, limitations of the energy reserve, basic first aid
  • how to write clear and succinct programme notes in terms of factual information and a statement which communicates and encapsulates how the question has been interpreted.

3.4.2 The development of solo performance skills in relation to a specific practitioner within an area of dance study from Unit 3, or the choreographer of any of the three set works

3.4.2 The development of solo performance skills in relation to a specific practitioner within an area of dance study from Unit 3, or the choreographer of any of the three set works

(NB: in Unit 4, candidates must study a specific practitioner from any of the three areas of study prescribed for Unit 3, or the choreographer of any of the three set works. Candidates are not restricted to the area of study or set work which they have chosen to investigate for Unit 3. They may only, however, refer to an area of study or set work prescribed for the year of examination.)

Understanding, awareness and demonstration of:

  • correct alignment, posture, stability and control
  • the body in action, eg flexion, extension, rotation, locomotion, elevation, balance, isolation, coordination, transference of weight, turns
  • strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, agility, kinaesthetic awareness
  • appropriate use of personal and stage space, eg shape, direction, pathway, levels, in relation to the chosen practitioner
  • stylistic features of the chosen practitioner
  • relationship of dancer to chosen aural accompaniment and physical setting appropriate to the chosen practitioner
  • appropriate use of focus, projection, emphasis and phrasing in relation to the chosen practitioner.

The devising of the solo performance should strive to n ecapsulate the style of the chosen practitioner. It does not, however, need to be a reconstruction of existing repertoire. The performance may result from work choreographed by the teacher, the candidate or both. The teacher is responsible for ensuring that all criteria are addressed.

Unit 4 Section A – Group Choreography

Unit 4 Section A – Group Choreography

AO1

Create imaginative dances with an understanding of current practice, whilst drawing on the conventions and traditions of the past.

This will be evident in the:

  • appropriate, imaginative and informed translation of ideas into dance material in relation to the chosen question
  • appropriate and imaginative manipulation of dance material through the use of choreographic and structuring devices in relation to group choreography, providing a coherent development of ideas
  • appropriate and imaginative choice and use of music, sound or silence to enhance meaning and expression of the dance idea
  • appropriate and sensitive use of dancers' skills and attributes to communicate the dance idea.

Mark Bands for Group Choreography

Band 1 37–45 marks
  • Highly imaginative, pertinent and extremely clear translation of ideas into dance material leading to work which demonstrates a thorough understanding and very confident grasp of the process of selection and manipulation of material
  • The answer will reveal a very competent understanding of choreographic and structuring devices in relation to group choreography, which results in a highly sophisticated, complex, and extremely coherent piece of work
  • Highly imaginative, thoughtful and insightful choice and use of the aural setting which allows the candidate to enhance clearly the meaning and expression of the dance idea
  • Appropriate, highly sensitive and intelligent use of dancers’ skills and attributes to communicate the dance idea
Band 2 28–36 marks
  • Imaginative and clear translation of ideas into dance material leading to work which demonstrates a very sound understanding and clear grasp of the process of selection and manipulation of material
  • The answer will reveal a competent understanding of choreographic and structuring devices in relation to group choreography, which results in an extremely coherent piece of work
  • Imaginative and carefully considered choice and use of the aural setting which allows the candidate to enhance the meaning and expression of the dance idea
  • Appropriate and intelligent use of dancers' skills and attributes to communicate the dance idea
Band 3 19–27 marks
  • Clear translation of ideas into dance material leading to work which demonstrates sound understanding of the process of selection and manipulation of material
  • The answer will reveal an understanding of choreographic and structuring devices in relation to group choreography, which results in a coherent piece of work
  • A considered choice and use of the aural setting which allows the candidate to enhance the meaning and expression of the dance idea
  • Appropriate use of dancers' skills and attributes to communicate the dance idea
Band 4 10–18 marks
  • An attempt to translate ideas into dance material leading to work which demonstrates understanding of the process of selection and manipulation of material
  • The answer will reveal a basic understanding of choreographic and structuring devices in relation to group choreography, which results in an attempt to produce a coherent piece of work, though at times clarity may be lost
  • An attempt will have been made to choose and use appropriate aural setting, though it may not necessarily enhance the meaning and expression of the dance idea
  • An attempt will have been made to use the dancers' skills and attributes to communicate the dance idea
Band 5 1–9 marks
  • Some attempt, though limited, to translate ideas into dance material leading to work which demonstrates basic understanding of the process of selection and manipulation of material
  • The answer will reveal a very basic understanding of choreographic and structuring devices in relation to group choreography, which results in a piece of work which may be inconsistent in its attempt to be coherent
  • An attempt will have been made to choose and use aural setting, though the choice and its use may not enhance and may even detract from the meaning and expression of the dance idea
  • Some attempt will have been made to use the dancers' skills and attributes to communicate the dance idea.

Section B – Performance of a solo in relation to a specific practitioner

Section B – Performance of a solo in relation to a specific practitioner

AO2ii

Apply performance skills to a specific practitioner within an area of study or to a choreographer of a set work, demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of safe practice and the appropriate technical and expressive skills needed in solo presentation.

This will be evident in the:

  • accurate and articulate use of bodily skill in relation to the specific practitioner chosen
  • accurate and eloquent control of space (personal and stage space) in relation to the specific practitioner chosen
  • accurate and eloquent use of dynamics in relation to the specific practitioner chosen
  • appropriate use of the aural and physical settings in relation to the specific practitioner chosen
  • clear and informed use of focus and projection to communicate the dance idea in relation to the specific practitioner chosen

Mark Bands for performance of a solo in relation to a specific practitioner

Band 1 25–30 marks
  • Highly articulate and extremely efficient use of bodily skill
  • Carefully considered and very controlled use of space
  • Highly appropriate use of dynamics to embody the specific dance idea, showing very clear understanding of dynamic phrasing, subtlety and nuance
  • Extremely effective and very clear use of the aural and physical settings to enhance the performance in relation to the chosen practitioner
  • Extremely effective and very clear use of focus to communicate the dance idea. Projection of the dance idea is demonstrated in an informed, transparent and wholly appropriate manner
  • The performance is presented in a sophisticated and highly polished, elegant way, clearly demonstrating an understanding of the specific genre and style of the chosen practitioner
Band 2 19–24 marks
  • Articulate and very efficient use of bodily skill
  • Considered and controlled use of space
  • Appropriate use of dynamics to embody the specific dance idea, showing understanding of dynamic phrasing, subtlety and nuance
  • Effective and clear use of the aural and physical settings to enhance the performance in relation to the chosen practitioner
  • Effective and clear use of focus to communicate the dance idea. Projection of the dance idea is demonstrated in an informed and appropriate manner
  • The performance is presented with flair, demonstrating an understanding of the specific genre and style relating to the chosen practitioner
Band 3 13–18 marks
  • Efficient use of bodily skill
  • The use of space has been considered but sometimes may lack control and eloquence
  • Appropriate use of dynamics to embody the specific dance idea, though clarity of dynamic phrasing may be missing
  • An attempt to be effective in the use of the aural and physical settings to enhance the performance in relation to the chosen practitioner
  • An attempt to be effective in the use of focus to communicate the dance idea, though there may be some inconsistency throughout the performance. Projection of the dance idea is demonstrated in an adequate manner, though there may be some inconsistency throughout the performance
  • The performance demonstrates an understanding of the specific genre and style relating to the chosen practitioner
Band 4 7–12 marks
  • The use of bodily skill sometimes lacks efficiency and clarity
  • The use of space has been considered but more often than not the performer lacks control and eloquence
  • An attempt to use dynamic variation has been made but the relationship with the dance idea is not always clear
  • Some attempt to be effective in the use of the aural and physical settings to enhance the performance in relation to the chosen practitioner though the relationship is not always clear
  • The use of focus is inconsistent throughout the performance and there is evidence of simple aspects of communication. Projection of the dance idea is limited
  • The performance will demonstrate a basic understanding of the genre and style relating to the chosen practitioner
Band 5 1–6 marks
  • A lack of efficiency in the use of bodily skill, showing very little evidence of articulation
  • The performer lacks control and eloquence in her/his use of space
  • The use of dynamics to embody the dance idea is extremely limited and underdeveloped
  • Little attempt to use the aural and physical settings to enhance the performance in relation to the chosen practitioner
  • The use of focus is limited throughout the performance and does not enhance the communication of the dance idea. Projection of the dance idea is extremely limited
  • The performance will demonstrate a very basic understanding of the genre and style relating to the chosen practitioner.

3.5 Further Guidance on Units 2 and 4

Further Guidance on Units 2 and 4

3.5 Further Guidance on Units 2 and 4

Health and safety

All centres and candidates must be fully aware of the health and safety procedures recommended to ensure the health, fitness and injury prevention of dancers when taking part in dance activities. It is the responsibility of centres and candidates to research and adhere to the health and safety measures that should be taken.

Intention to enter

At the start of the course, centres must advise the AQA Dance Department of their intention to enter candidates so that a moderator/examiner can be allocated to the centre. If you have not received a request for information about entries in the autumn term, please contact AQA Dance at aqadance@aqa.org.uk. AQA Dance needs to know at the same time of any consortium or common teacher arrangements.

Arranging the visit to the centre

  • Assuming notification of the entry to AQA prior to or during the autumn term, the date(s) for the practical visit(s) should be fixed by the moderator/examiner and agreed with the centre during the spring term.
  • Centres must not book their own date(s) for the visit(s) before confirming with their allocated moderator/examiner.  AQA cannot guarantee being able to meet requested dates.
  • Centres are reminded of the need to observe the health and safety requirements associated with dance and examiners will not be able to conduct the assessments if these are not securely in place.
  • At least one member of staff from the centre must be present at all times during the visit.

Preparing the candidates for the visit

There is detailed information for teachers in the document entitled Teachers' Notes. This document will be included in the question paper despatch and published in the Dance area of the AQA website.

The Teachers' Notes include information about:

  • instructions and advice to the teacher
  • preparing the candidates
  • preparation for the day of the visit
  • special consideration/access arrangements
  • what to expect on the day of the visit
  • question-specific mark schemes for Unit 2 choreography.