Dance GCSE

Why St Mary's

Dance GCSE is taught after school, by our expert Dance Coordinator. 

This course offers the opportunity to explore and deepen your understanding of all aspects of dance. The course is active and physically demanding, as well as intellectually stimulating. You will develop your practical skills across a range of styles, and develop skills in the analysis of professional choreography.

Working with the support of our highly experienced dance specialist, you will explore a mix of artistic, cultural and aesthetically diverse works.

Course overview

The course includes the study of the GCSE Dance Anthology - six short professional dance works (12-30 minutes long), which form the focus for critical analysis of professional dance works. The Anthology encompasses:

  • different dance styles and fusions of style
  • a selection of established and emerging choreographers
  • different numbers and combinations of dancers
  • a variety of choreographic approaches
  • different choreographic structures
  • a variety of types of performance environment
  • a variety of aural settings
  • inclusive dance
  • dance influenced by other cultures.

Drawing on this study, you will develop your own performance, creative and choreographic practice.

The course content is split into three components:

  1. Performance - including physical skills, technical ability, expression, mental skills and attributes, and safe working practices
  2. Choreography - including action content, dynamic content, spatial content, relationship content, different choreographic devices, aural settings and performance environments
  3. Dance appreciation - including critical analysis, interpretation and evaluation of your own work and in response to the six dance works in the GCSE Dance Anthology.


  • Assessment Component 1: Performance and choreography
    • Solo performance (12 marks) - live and approx. 1 minute in length
    • Duet/trio performance (24 marks) - live and 3-5 minutes long
    • Choreography - demonstrate a creative response to a set brief based on a stimulus such as a poem, image, prop, feature of the natural world or an event. Either a solo dance (2-2.5 minutes) or a group dance (3-3.5 minutes) - (40 marks)
  • Assessment Component 2: Dance Appreciation

This component is assessed through a written examination (1.5 hours) covering choreographic processes and performing skills, critical appreciation of your own work and of professional works (from the Dance Anthology). (80 marks)

At a glance
  • Syllabus: AQA
  • Performance (25% of total mark)
  • Choreography (25% of total mark)
  • Appreciation (50% of total mark)
  • Taught after school
  • Solo and group performances

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What our teachers say

"It's very exciting to be offering GCSE Dance to our students, allowing them to study and explore professional works of choreography."

"To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger. More beautiful. More powerful. This is power, it is glory on Earth and it is yours for the taking." Agnes de Mille

As well as deepening your understanding and technical skills, the study of dance supports a healthy lifestyle and builds vital experience in team working and creative, independent and critical thinking skills.

Dance is a powerful artistic medium - both to perform and to experience. The ability to communicate ideas through dance is not simply about entertainment, it is a medium that can evoke deep emotions and convey important messages about what it means to be human.


The study of dance can lead to a wide range of creative and inspiring future paths. Going on to study for a degree in dance at university enables students to combine a love of performing with developing choreography, cultural history and arts administration and management skills.

This opens up a variety of future career paths including professional dancer, choreographer, community art worker, arts administrator or theatre director.

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Beyond St Mary's

Our Senior School students go on to pursue exciting futures.

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