Drama and Dance
Dance and Drama are the expressions of a civilisation. Pupils will explore life, psychology and humanity through these art forms. Dance and Drama supports the development of communication skills, the intellectual and social development of the individual, and builds self-confidence and self-esteem through the refinement of technical and artistic skills.
The three ‘pillars’ of the Dance and Drama curriculum are:
- Cultural Capital.
- Performance and Exploration of the Self.
- Theatre and Dance as Art Forms.
The Drama and Dance Department benefit from being housed in state of the art accommodation, which is comprised of three separate studios that can be collapsed into one large performance space. Each studio is equipped with sound and theatre lighting systems and ICT resources. Year 7 and 8 pupils receive one 60 minute lesson per week, taught in mixed ability groups and alternating between Dance and Drama on a half-termly basis. Year 9 pupils can opt to study Dance and/or Drama as discrete subjects.
Key Stage 3
Year 7 and 8 drama lessons are used to establish the importance of good collaboration and to build a positive working atmosphere in which pupils exhibit good self-control and mutual trust, which encourages a confidence to take risks with ideas and in performance. Pupils develop the habit of reflection and evaluation and are taught to use a variety of dramatic techniques to explore ideas, issues, character, texts and meanings. An understanding of form, style is initiated. In Year 9, pupils begin to work with an increasing sophistication in terms of characterisation, style and stimulus as groundwork for the transition to Key Stage 4. They begin to learn about key theatre practitioners and how theatre venues work.
At Key Stage 3 a range of performance styles and starting points are encountered. Lessons have a practical focus to support development of physical and technical accuracy, control and spatial awareness. Pupils work as choreographers, learning to express their ideas through movement. As they progress through Key Stage 3 the pupils will be challenged to function in more sophisticated ways and with a greater focus of technical skill.
Key Stage 4
Pupils in Years 10 and 11 receive three 60 minute lessons per week and follow the Pearson BTEC Tech Award in Performing Arts. The qualification has three components: Exploring the Performing Arts 30%. Pupils reproduce existing repertoire and explore a wide variety of key performance styles and techniques. Developing skills and techniques 30%. Pupils gain physical, vocal and interpretive skills, apply them in performance and reflect on their progress. Performing to a brief 40%. Pupils devise a performance piece for external assessment, based on a brief set by the exam board.
Throughout the course, progress is tracked and monitored closely to ensure pupils receive personalised support towards their target grade.
Pupils in Years 10 & 11 receive three 60 minute lessons a week and follow the AQA GCSE Dance specification. There are three components to the GCSE Dance qualification: Dance Performance 30%. Demonstrate physical and interpretive skills in two different dance works. Dance Choreography 30%. Respond creatively to set stimulus to create own choreography. Dance Appreciation 40% (external exam). Critically analyse, interpret and evaluate dance work. Progress is tracked and monitored closely to ensure they receive personalised support towards their target grade.
Homework and Independent Learning
To encourage the development of independence in Dance and Drama, pupils are required to complete additional work under their own determination. Tasks are varied and could include activities such as reading for comprehension, research, preparation for lesson activities, reviews of live theatre and revision of knowledge organisers. In Key Stage 4, the requirements for independent learning support progress towards the completion of the more substantial assessment tasks, and pupils will rehearse performance, devising and choreographic work in additional after school sessions.
After School Clubs
There are weekly dance and drama clubs, rehearsals and meetings, and a variety of projects open to both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 annually, including whole school productions, theatre partnership projects, dance showcases and other community events.
For the upper school, the department organises support sessions each week in which additional rehearsal time, assessment guidance and academic support is offered. All year groups can access the computers and internet facilities which are always available for pupils to use.
The department creates many diverse opportunities through curricular enrichment such as whole year group showcases, trips and visits across the school year (including a London residential trip and visits to local theatres), participation with national and international projects, and celebration events. Opportunities to bring in outside artists and speakers are taken wherever possible which have included, in recent times, The National Theatre, Footlights Theatre Company, local sixth form colleges, dance artists and the actress Jessica Hynes.