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Townley Dance Teaching & Learning Curriculum Dance

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 3 syllabus and an Option in its own right at GCSE and A 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.

"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."


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!


Course Progression

Key Stage 3 Dance

Key Stage 3 Dance Learning Journey




Key Stage 4 Dance (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.

Assessment Structure

This specification enables students to:

  • increase their confidence and self-esteem
  • employ the skills of problem solving and creativity
  • make knowledgeable decisions about dances

Assessment Component 1:  Performance and Choreography


  • Set phrases through a solo performance (approximately one minute in duration)
  • Duet/trio performance (three and a half minutes in duration)


  • Solo or group choreography – 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's assessed - Internally marked and externally moderated


  • 30% of GCSE (40 marks)
  • (15 marks for set phrases and 25 marks for duet/trio performance)


  • 30% of GCSE   (40 marks)
  • Total component 60% Non-exam assessment (NEA) marked by the centre and moderated by AQA

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)

Key Stage 5 Dance (A Level)

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:

  • develop understanding and knowledge as well as critical skills for the analysis of choreography
  • perform within their own work and in professional repertoire
  • gain experience of choreography and performance through practice
  • gain in-depth knowledge of specific study areas and professional works

Course Requirements

You will need a 6 in GCSE Dance to progress to A Level, or attend a practical audition to assess suitability.

Assessment Structure

Year 12

What's assessed?

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.

Year 13

What’s assessed?

Unit 1: Performance and Choreography

  • Solo performance linked to a specified practitioner within an area of study
  • Performance in a quartet
  • Group choreography
    • Practical exam
    • 80 marks
    • 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
    • 100 marks
    • 50% of A-level

Student Testimony

"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."
Year 10 Dance Student

Related Careers

We are incredibly proud of our alumni, here’s just a few further education pathways of our most recent leavers:

  • London Contemporary Dance School
  • Trinity Laban
  • Urdang
  • London Studio Centre
  • Young Performers (USA)
  • Bird College
  • Roehampton University
  • Chichester University
  • Middlesex University
  • Millennium
  • Performers

Students are now pursuing careers in the West End, on cruise ships, in contemporary repertoire, commercial dancing, teaching and arts administration.

Our Adventures
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