Dance GCSE

You have loved moving to different sorts of music all your life and have a good sense of rhythm! You are energetic, creative and expressive. If you are a ‘natural mover’, well organised with kit, willing to try out new things and you can be relied upon to work well with others, then you may like to consider GCSE Dance.

You will learn analytical skills through observation and study of professional works, gain confidence in your own ability as a performer and develop skills in leadership and organisation through choreography.

You will have the opportunity to take part (solo or group pieces) in many events in and out of school such as ‘showcase performances’ for Open Evenings and other occasions, demonstrations, visits to professional shows and conservatoires such as Laban.

You have to be prepared to commit fully to this course, as many hours of rehearsals are needed for your practical work. You can’t let your group down!

Dance info sheet

Exam Board:
AQA (no tiers of entry)

How the GCSE grade is currently compiled:

Internally marked and externally moderated
Component 1 - Performance and Choreography

Performance (1 solo and 1 trio piece both assessed in Year 11)

  • 30% of GCSE
  • 40 marks  

Choreography (Group dance that you create based on set stimulus from the exam board - assessed in Year 11)

  • 30% of GCSE
  •  40 marks

Total component 60%

Component 2 - Dance appreciation

What’s assessed

  • 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

Course Content:

  • Ways into choreography
  • Contemporary technique classes
  • Observation and analysis of the 6 anthology works
  • Explore the 6 anthology works practically
  • Dance form and structure
  • Sophisticated approaches to choreography through various art forms
  • Performance work
  • Analytical studies  

You will be expected to commit yourself to extra-curricular performance pieces which will involve extra rehearsals.

Assessment expectations:

Assessment for your GCSE will be ongoing throughout the two years. You will have theory work to do and homework is set throughout the course. The coursework deadlines are all before Easter of Year 11.

Style of teaching:

Sometimes you will be involved in group work, sometimes individual improvisation. You will have the opportunity for plenty of research and be taught how to observe and analyse work – your own as well as professional. Your teacher will cover the theory work related to your practical pieces and provide you with the information you need.

There will be opportunities for class discussion too. All lessons will be based in the Dance studio.

Key events:

In addition to the extra-curricular performance pieces, you will be given group compositional tasks. The main pressure points come in Year 11 with the group choreography – organising your rehearsals, getting your dancers together and practising for your performance, which will be attended by the regional moderator.

The exam paper:

The written exam is 1 hour long and work 20% of your final grade. It involves short answer questions on the dancer in action and two named professional works.


Sometimes your homework will be to rehearse a group or solo piece. You could also be set questions dealing with your comparative studies, some research, learning or practice exam questions.

Monitoring progress:

GCSE criteria is used for marking practical work right from the start – but in Year 10 the marks will be fairly generous to encourage you! Your teacher will discuss your work and advise you, setting you specific targets. In Year 10, performance and choreographic skills are dealt with separately, and then assessed together in Year 11.


If you seriously want a career as a professional dancer, you need to be involved already in private dance lessons with a local dance school – they will be able to advise you on auditions and applications for specialist dance schools which would suit you, post-16. Most girls who take GCSE dance, however, choose it just because they enjoy dance. Some want to take it further and choose A-level dance alongside their other A-level choices at college. Some choose to do a full-time ‘Performing Arts’ course at Northbrook, Lewes or Chichester. This GCSE is valuable if you are considering any career in dance, music or theatre, or wish to continue dancing as a leisure activity or in amateur productions.

Equipment needed:

Complete dance kit – every lesson. An A4 file, a pen and a smile!