Key Stage 4

GCSE Dance

At Arden School we follow the AQA GCSE Dance course. The course is split into four areas; two are examined externally and are both worth 20% of the final grade. Two are assessed internally with an external moderation of the grades.

Unit code


Assessment Method

Time of Assessment

42301 - Critical Appreciation of dance


External written exam

June Year 11

42302 - Set Dance


External practical exam. Pupils are filmed performing a one minute solo

Filming to take place no later than July in Year 10

42303 - Performance in a group


Controlled Assessment. Performing in a group lasting 3.5 mins

Completed in class by Christmas in Year 10.

Examined in March, Year 11

42304 - Choreography

a) Solo Composition

b) Choreography



Controlled Assessment.  External moderator will examine both pieces

Completed in class by Christmas in Year 11.

Examined in March, Year 11

Why choose dance?

"Dance is vital, an activity 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. It can also be a huge force for good, effectively drawing people together and levelling everyone through sheer hard work. It can speed up your heart rate, it can enliven your being, it can change your life".

Richard Alston CBE, Dance UK

Dance uses movement symbolically as a fundamental form of human expression. It is both empowering and powerful as a form of non-verbal communication. The intrinsic value of dance is the development of creative, imaginative, physical, emotional and intellectual capacities. Dance is both physical and expressive - this is what makes it similar to and different from other art forms and physical activities.

The specification acknowledges the important role that dance plays in young people's lives. Most students will bring some previous experience of dance to the course and the specification aims to value that experience and help students to build on it. Students of GCSE Dance are encouraged to develop their previous dance experience within the two-year course. This experience may be of formal training in dance classes, or students may bring skills acquired in devising and performing dance in more informal, social contexts. GCSE candidates may perform in and choreograph work in any style of their choice, provided it allows them to access the full range of assessment criteria.

The study of dance as an art form contributes to students' aesthetic and social development. As a physical activity it promotes fitness and well-being. Dance also supports learning across a range of subjects. As performers, students develop confidence and self-esteem. They develop self and body awareness as well as sensitivity to others and team-working skills. Effective performance requires physical effort and the determination to succeed and improve. As choreographers, students employ the skills of problem-solving and creativity. Effective choreography requires imagination and the ability to synthesize a number of elements. In directing others, students develop their interpersonal and communication skills. As critics, students make informed decisions about the dances they see. They articulate their knowledge, opinions and preferences. Viewing professional dances fulfils students' cultural entitlement and broadens their artistic experience.