Cultural Learning Alliance

The arts associate enjoyment with skill, order, insight. Culture and education belong together; in fact essentially are together

Quentin Blake
Author / Illustrator

Practice

National Curriculum for England - Dance

The Dance is included within the Physical Education national curriculum that comes in to force from September 2014 reproduced below.

Additional guidance from the CLA curriculum consultations is included in italics followed by questions you can ask about your school curriculum.

Many thanks to Youth Dance England who helped develop the content below.

 

Purpose of study                                           

A high-quality physical education curriculum inspires all pupils to succeed and excel in competitive sport and other physically-demanding activities. It should provide opportunities for pupils to become physically confident in a way which supports their health and fitness. Opportunities to compete in sport and other activities build character and help to embed values such as fairness and respect.           

Dance is a distinct art form that offers unique learning opportunities combining the artistic with the physical and is located in the PE curriculum.  In secondary schools dance can be delivered in PE, Dance and/ or Performing Arts contexts.  In Primary schools dance can be taught within PE, creative arts and is often incorporated within cross curricular programmes.

A high quality dance curriculum should be based on the three inter-related processes of performing, composing and appreciating dance enabling CYP to develop their physical and creative dance skills, knowledge and understanding.  These are conceptually closely linked with processes common to learning in other arts which together, offer a framework with rich potential for contributing to CYPs’ artistic, aesthetic, creative, physical and cultural education.

Dance provides a critical component to a young person’s physical and cultural education, and without it learners will not become fully physically or artistically literate.

The discipline of Dance gives young people the opportunity to develop their understanding of the world, their place in it and their agency to make change.

It involves a unique canon and body of knowledge, skills and understanding.

Dance enables young people to become independent learners, expert collaborators, decision makers, problem-solvers and to gain key social, moral, cultural and spiritual life skills. 

Dance offers unique opportunities for whole classes, year groups and schools to work collaboratively. It motivates young people to be physically active, promotes health and well-being, and has specific benefits to each gender – enabling boys and young men to interact physically in a non-competitive, non-aggressive setting and inspiring and enabling girls and young women to remain physically active at secondary school.

 

Aims

The national curriculum for physical education aims to ensure that all pupils:           

• develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities

• are physically active for sustained periods of time       

• engage in competitive sports and activities  

• lead healthy, active lives.

Dance specific aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop technical and expressive skills to perform a variety of dance styles  
  • develop as creative, healthy, well-rounded and confident individuals
  • develop compositional skills and understanding of choreographic processes to communicate meaning and ideas
  • describe, analyse, interpret and evaluate dances, including  professional dance works, recognising stylistic differences and  different  aspects of production and cultural/historical contexts
  • enabled to think and act as performers, choreographers and viewers/critics

 

Questions for school leaders and governors:

1. Why is dance important in your school? 

2. Where does or can dance provision:

a. contribute to the ethos and cultural offer of the school?

b. contribute to children’s social, moral, spiritual and cultural development?

c. involve and motivate children so that they develop as expressive, creative and confident young dancers through the interrelated processes of performing, composing and appreciating dance?

d. involve children in active learning, with opportunities for independent learning, making dance with others, problem solving and decision making?

3. How do you assess the quality and the impact of the dance offer on children’s learning? 

  

 

Subject content                                             

Key stage 1                                                     

Pupils should develop fundamental movement skills, become increasingly competent and confident and access a broad range of opportunities to extend their agility, balance and coordination, individually and with others. They should be able to engage in competitive (both against self and against others) and co-operative physical activities, in a range of increasingly challenging situations.                                                        

Pupils should be taught to:                        

• master basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as developing balance, agility and co-ordination, and begin to apply these in a range of activities                                                                             

• participate in team games, developing simple tactics for attacking and defending         

• perform dances using simple movement patterns.     

Dance specific subject content to ensure that all pupils:

Control and co-ordinate their bodies to perform basic actions including travelling, jumping, turning, gesture, transference of weight and stillness

  • perform movements and simple dance phrases showing contrasts of speed, rhythm, tension,  shape, size, direction and level
  • explore and respond imaginatively to a range of different stimuli, including music, through spontaneous responses and structured tasks
  • create dance phrases and short dances, to express and communicate ideas, moods and feelings
  • be able to describe and interpret the dances they create and watch
  • understand how to work safely in the dance space

 

Key stage 2                                                     

Pupils should continue to apply and develop a broader range of skills, learning how to use them in different ways and to link them to make actions and sequences of movement. They should enjoy communicating, collaborating and competing with each other. They should develop an understanding of how to improve in different physical activities and sports and learn how to evaluate and recognise their own success.      

Pupils should be taught to:                        

• use running, jumping, throwing and catching in isolation and in combination          

• play competitive games, modified where appropriate [for example, badminton, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, netball, rounders and tennis], and apply basic principles suitable for attacking and defending                            

• develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance [for example, through athletics and gymnastics]                  

• perform dances using a range of movement patterns                  

Dance specific subject content to ensure that all pupils:

  • extend their dance skills and movement vocabulary by using more complex body actions, dynamics, use of space and relationships
  • explore dance ideas through improvisation, selecting and refining movement using simple compositional tools to make dances on their own, with a partner and in small groups
  • use stimuli from and link to, other areas of the curriculum including music, art and drama
  • experience dances from different cultural traditions and historical periods
  • describe and interpret their own and others dances using expressive language and appropriate dance terminology
  • understand how to warm up and cool down to prevent injury

• take part in outdoor and adventurous activity challenges both individually and within a team             

• compare their performances with previous ones and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best.            

 

Key stage 3                                                     

Pupils should build on and embed the physical development and skills learned in key stages 1 and 2, become more competent, confident and expert in their techniques, and apply them across different sports and physical activities. They should understand what makes a performance effective and how to apply these principles to their own and others’ work. They should develop the confidence and interest to get involved in exercise, sports and activities out of school and in later life, and understand and apply the long-term health benefits of physical activity.                                                                             

Pupils should be taught to:                        

• use a range of tactics and strategies to overcome opponents in direct competition through team and individual games [for example, badminton, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, netball, rounders, rugby and tennis]                      

• develop their technique and improve their performance in other competitive sports [for example, athletics and gymnastics]       

• perform dances using advanced dance techniques within a range of dance styles and forms               

Dance specific subject content to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop and perform increasingly complex movement patterns in a variety of dance styles to refine their technical and expressive skills, showing increasing sensitivity to the accompaniment
  • create dances using compositional principles e.g. motif, development, unison, canon, group relationship, design of movement in and through space to communicate meaning and ideas
  • support their own dance compositions with written, recorded and/or oral descriptions of their intentions and outcomes
  • describe, analyse and interpret and evaluate dances, including some professional dance works, recognising stylistic differences and  different  aspects of production and cultural/historical contexts
  • understand and use effective body alignment and placement to prevent injury and improve technical skill

• take part in outdoor and adventurous activities which present intellectual and physical challenges and be encouraged to work in a team, building on trust and developing skills to solve problems, either individually or as a group       

• analyse their performances compared to previous ones and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best                 

• take part in competitive sports and activities outside school through community links or sports clubs.               

 

Key stage 4                                                     

Pupils should tackle complex and demanding physical activities. They should get involved in a range of activities that develops personal fitness and promotes an active, healthy lifestyle.                                                                             

Pupils should be taught to:                        

• use and develop a variety of tactics and strategies to overcome opponents in team and individual games [for example, badminton, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, netball, rounders, rugby and tennis]                                          

• develop their technique and improve their performance in other competitive sports,[for example, athletics and gymnastics], or other physical activities [for example, dance]     

Dance specific subject content to ensure that all pupils:

  • perform complex and technically more demanding dances accurately and expressively
  • create dances which successfully communicate their artistic intention
  • dance in a range of styles showing understanding of form and content
  • devise and design aspects of production for their own compositions
  • describe, interpret and evaluate all aspects of dance including choreography, performance, cultural and historical contexts and production
  • demonstrate understanding of safe practice in dance and how the subject can contribute to health, fitness and well-being
  • access to examinations and qualifications in dance at GCSE level that could lead to A/S, A  and BTEC dance courses .
  • participate independently in out of school clubs, classes and groups 

• take part in further outdoor and adventurous activities in a range of environments which present intellectual and physical challenges and which encourage pupils to work in a team, building on trust and developing skills to solve problems, either individually or as a group    

• evaluate their performances compared to previous ones and demonstrate improvement across a range of physical activities to achieve their personal best        

• continue to take part regularly in competitive sports and activities outside school through community links or sports clubs.           

Youth Dance England Project
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