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Key Stage 4


What is GCSE Dance about?

Dance is both exhilarating and liberating to watch or do. The instinct to dance is fundamentally joyous and no matter how hard you try you can’t get away from that for long! Dance uses movement symbolically as a form of human expression. GCSE Dance is both physical and expressive; it promotes fitness and well-being. Students will enjoy GCSE Dance if they want to study a subject that is both practical and creative, and if they enjoy working individually and as part of a team.


What will students learn & how is this assessed?

Component 1: Performance & Choreography

What is assessed?


  • Students choose two out of four set phrases to present for solo assessment (approximately one minute in duration). These are choreographed by the exam board and taught in lessons.

  • Students use the remaining two set phrases to develop a duet or a trio group performance (approximately three and a half minutes in duration).


  • Students choose one task from a list set by AQA and choreograph either a solo (two to two and a half minutes) or a group dance for two to five dancers (three to three and a half minutes).


How it is assessed
  • Internally marked and externally moderated.

  • 30% of GCSE
  • 40 Marks – 15 marks for set phrase solo performance and 25 marks for duet/trio performance
  • 30% of GCSE
  • 40 Marks

Total component: 60%


Component 2: Dance Appreciation


What is assessed?
  • Knowledge and understanding of choreographic processes and performing skills

  • Critical appreciation of your own work

  • Critical appreciation of professional works


How it is assessed
40% of GCSE Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes 80 marks

Total component: 40%



Based on the students’ own practice in performance and choreography and the AQA Dance anthology.


How will students be taught?

Students will be taught by a mixture of whole-class teaching, practical dance exercises, practical performances and written work. Workshops are provided and led by current practitioners and students also get the chance to talk to dancers and choreographers in pre- and post-performance talks during dance visits. Use of lighting, sound, digital camera and video recording equipment are all common practice within the Dance department.


Examination board & course type

AQA - GCSE Dance (8236)


What can studying this subject lead to?

There are many things students can go on and do with a GCSE in Dance. The course provides students with a range of skills to progress further in their education. These skills include developing a creative and confident mind, teamwork skills that allow them to work closely with others and perform under pressure, and skills that enhance an appreciation of art and culture where critique and analysis are used to develop questions and justify thoughts.

Students could go on to take an A level in Dance or Performance Studies, or a vocational course in Performing Arts or a BTEC National Certificate or Diploma in Performing Arts. This qualification, if further studied, can also provide employment opportunities in such careers as an entertainer or a dancer.


Revision Advice

A subject specific guide featuring key content, recommended resources and the specifications we cover in that particular subject can be downloaded below:



Teacher to contact for further information

Miss H L Patrick



Contact Us

Northgate High School
Sidegate Lane, Ipswich, IP4 3DL

Tel: 01473 210 123