What are dancing exams ?
Around the world, dance exams are recognized in many different styles. Exams and assessments are very important as they are used to help a dancer get better in the style, they are dancing in. Exams are also used to motivate and reward students of all ages and abilities. Dancing exams help creativity and musicality, providing opportunities to progress and achieve. They are not just professional or young dancers who take exams, age is no barrier to success. Exams can be taken at any stage of your life or career you can develop your fitness, musicality and artistry.
Dancers can range in age from 2 to 60+!
Why Are Dance Exams Important?
Exams don’t just happen in academic schools, they’re done in dance too. But why are these exams so important?
An exam gives each student a goal to work to and let them achieve it. But what your child needs to do to get the goal is probably something they can’t easily learn from the four corners of their academic school.
Dancers need a great amount of discipline not only to learn their dance theory, but working hard in class for them to reach the technical requirement of each grade level.
Achieving one’s goal always heightens self-esteem, especially if this is done in a classroom environment, this definitely increases each dancers respect amongst each other and learning what teamwork is all about.
As they progress to higher levels, the students will achieve not just certificates but possible memberships to one of the most recognized dance organizations in the world.
Exams are simply important because they would provide the development of strong technique, artistry and most importantly instill strong moral character, and value for excellence.
What to expect with Dancing Exams
What you need to bring:
Clean, correct, immaculate uniform
Hairbrush, bobby pins, open pins, hair ties, Gel and hairspray
Drink and snack
Book or small quite game to play
When you arrive:
Normally you should arrive one hour before your the exam starts. The day may be running ahead of time, plus you need time to have hair styled and to warm up ready for the exam.
Children’s exams – When you arrive you will find all the children in the changing room (a classroom near the exam room). The children will be getting changed and having their hair fixed or done by a parent helper, teacher or student helper. In this room try to maintain a calm relaxed atmosphere, so the children feel happy and confident to go into their exam.
Most dance studios will not let you stay with your child as this can make them more nervous, instead you can go and collect them after the exam. A Dance teacher will always be there to supervise and look after the children.
It is best to get changed first, so as not to ruin the hair by taking clothing items off over it once it is done. Students are ask not to wear any underwear under their leotards and the older students to have discreet underwear. Once your student is changed please supervise them if or when they go to the toilet as if water splashes it marks the uniform. The student should not have any nail varnish on or any visible rub-on tattoos, no earrings or anything around their wrists or necks please.
Most dance studios will either have a teacher, parent helper or student help do the children’s hair. Some studios request the child hair to be done before they arrive, and the teacher will fix it if needed. They will also have all the hair accessories that are needed for the exam. All hair should be neat and gelled back.
It is likely the student will be ready in plenty of time for their exam. This will give the students time to warm up fully for the exam and to go over the exam work so they feel more confident .
When it is time for the exam one of the teachers will take the group of children out of the changing room, and take them quietly out into the corridor or waiting spot where they can calmly compose themselves before the exam. The teacher will make them feel calm and confident and ready to go in.
In the Exam Room
In the exam there will be a table at the front where the examiner sits and a music operator. In dance exams the children usually go in with one other student. Parents and teachers are not allowed in the exam room. Only in the Primary exams are the teachers allowed in if needed. The examiner will ask for the exercises the children have been practicing, writing notes as she goes. Once the children have finished their exam they will run straight back into the changing room.
Please make sure you have all your belongings, including your hair bits that may have been left where they had their hair done. You should leave fairly promptly as it would be appreciated as there is normally more exam students to follow. Finally, most studios will offer all the exam students a lollipop when they leave to congratulate them on their efforts.
The results can take from 3 weeks to even 3 months! As soon as the teachers have them they will hand them out in class.
All exams are different, but you should receive the official certificate with the students name, grade and result. The second is the report which is a breakdown of how your child did in each section of the exam giving a mark for each section. Most exams are then totaled at the bottom out of 100.
General markings for exams go as followed.
Distinction 80-100 (Reflects a high to extremely high standard of achievement)
Merit 60-79 (Reflects a good to very good standard of achievement overall)
Pass 40-59 (Reflects a satisfactory to fairly good standard of achievement overall)
Not Attained 00-39 (Indicates that there is insufficient level of achievement)
Examinations during the pandemic
As we all know things in 2020 have made dance exams change a bit. Temporarily studios have had to put in place the following measures to adapt the exams during the continuing pandemic and to help us provide examination sessions:
- Most associations will be limiting extensive examiner travel. International travel will be reviewed by the Director of Examinations to try and ensure the safety of candidates, teachers, examiners and exam day staff/assistants.
- Teachers and exam organisers must have a risk assessment in place for their examination session.
- Most associations will be using more examiners who are local to the country/region in which exams are taking place.
- Filmed exams are an option for teachers and candidates.
- Where teachers have face-to-face examinations planned, we advise that they also have a ‘plan B’ in place to film, in case of emergencies. That way the work spent on planning the examination day is not wasted.
- Sessions may not follow normal patterns as organisers react to lockdowns, quarantines or closures – your local office will advise about options in your area.