Graded examinations

Offer a range of learning opportunities and enable participants to enjoy physical expression as well as develop intellectual sensibilities. As they work together, candidates learn about co-operation and develop an understanding of the shaping of movement into artistic forms of expression.

Aims The aim of Graded Examinations is to provide an assessment scheme for dance, which gives the basis for the measurement of the individual candidate’s progress and development, whether the candidate is pursuing dance as a leisure activity or as preparation for a professional career as a dance teacher or performer. There are six practical examination grades, numbered from 1 to 6, in order to indicate the increasing order of difficulty (6 represents the highest level of attainment).

Objectives The syllabus objectives are to:

  • teach the correct posture appropriate to the character of the dance under review
  • develop the range of movements within the student’s natural capabilities
  • establish a sound knowledge and understanding of the appropriate terminology and technique, as laid down by the British Dance Council, based on both parallel and turned out (90º) foot positions
  • acquire a sound sense of line gained through the co-ordination by means of correct usage and ‘follow through’ of the body, arms, head and eyelines
  • encourage a sense of rhythmic expression felt through the body
  • encourage a sense of rhythm and timing and its development
  • develop a sense of creative activity based on the relevant technique
  • promote a knowledge of floorcraft
  • promote self-confidence in presentation
  • create a sense of partner awareness through body usage and leading

Following on from the Graded Examinations, candidates may wish to progress to the Vocational Graded Examinations as preparation for employment as a professional dancer or as preparation for dance teaching qualifications.

The Graded Examinations also allow for those participating solely for recreational purposes to produce quality work in a safe dance context.

Age limits Grades 1-3 Minimum age 7 years Grades 4-5 Minimum age 9 years Grade 6 Minimum age 11 years

Prior learning The Graded Examinations are intended to be taken consecutively and most candidates will wish to progress through them sequentially in order to develop and demonstrate the requisite skills. However, in cases where examinations are undertaken without success at the previous grade, the candidate needs to be at an appropriate level of physical and artistic development. Before a candidate enrols in a class leading to a Graded Examination, teachers are under a particular duty, therefore, to assess the achievement of the candidate, particularly with regard to safe dance practice.