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An Outline of A1 Dance Classes, Progression & Exam Entry

We've put this guide together to help parents understand the names of our classes & their order.

As with milestones for  babies, toddlers & children, the age at which a child reaches the various milestones can vary, there can even be quite a significant difference between twins, so please don't be concerned if your child doesn't exactly follow this pattern. Every child is an individual & is treated as such, your child's teacher will keep a careful watch on your child's progress in order to move them up at an appropriate time for them.


Preparatory Level - Babes - Ballet & Modern.

Babes Plus / First Steps - towards Pre-Primary. Stepping Up - can be Pre-Primary / Primary - Ballet, Modern, Tap, Acro Gymnastic Dance


Foundation Level - Grades 1 - 3 - Ballet, Modern, Tap, Acro Gymnastic Dance, Contemporary

Transitional Level - Grades 4 - 6 Ballet, Modern, Tap, Acro Gymnastic Dance, Contemporary

Pre-Professional Level - Vocational Grades -  Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced 1, Advanced 2 - Ballet, Modern, Tap, Acro Gymnastic Dance, Contemporary
 

See Learning Outcomes for all Levels across all Genres

Grades 1 to 6 & Vocational Levels Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced 1, Advanced 2 are Council for Dance, Drama & Musical Theatre (CDMT formerly CDET) accredited Exam syllabus classes & recognized by Ofqual. They are recognized qualifications & earn UCAS points towards University entry see:
Recognition of Qualifications Chart

Ofqual & UCAS FAQs relating to Ofqual/CEA and the UCAS tariff

Preparatory Level

Class Progression Order

Babes for children approximately 3-6yrs (occasionally younger).

Babes Plus / First Steps for children ready to move on from the Babes class, or older starters. This class eases the transition from the content of the Babes class to the syllabus based graded classes. Sometimes Babes Plus maybe just an extra 15mins added to their current class to see how they cope with more technique before moving into a separate class. This is similar to when your child is moving from nursery into the reception class in school & they go for visits to get familiar with the new Teacher & class setting.

Stepping Up comes next for children working at a pre-primary or primary level approximately 6-8yrs. The appropriate syllabus for each genre forms the core of A1 Dance classes & working up through the syllabus ensures a thorough & measurable progression for each student as well as supplementary elements to enhance their overall dance technique, performance skills & many other aspects relating to the benefits of a dance education.

How Long in Preparatory Level?

An average child beginning classes at age 3yrs will generally spend 3-4 years progressing through Babes, Babes Plus, Stepping Up classes.

Interested in Exams?

 

During this Preparatory Stage children may be entered for NATD Rainbows or Special Yearly Awards.

These are just a few minutes long & are a great way to familiarize the children with the exam procedure. They love dressing up in a costume to perform an exercise & a dance with their friends.

As they progress through Babes Plus / First Steps & Stepping Up they will be invited to enter for NATD Class Exam (Pre-Primary) & NATD Primary Exam. These exams ease the students into the accredited grades, further familiarizing them with exam etiquette.

 

While we do encourage you to have us enter your child when they are ready, it is entirely up to you whether you would like us to enter them or not. Exams are a great way to build confidence through personal accomplishment & students receive recognition of their achievement, a certificate, medal & / or award. You receive more information about these several weeks before an exam session.


Tuition in the class remains the same regardless of whether your child is entered.

Foundation & Transitional Levels - Ballet, Modern, Tap, Acro, Contemporary
Foundation Level Grades 1 - 3

Transitional Level Grades 4 - 6

These are Council for Dance, Drama & Musical Theatre (CDMT formerly CDET) accredited Exam syllabus classesrecognized by Ofqual & earn UCAS points towards University entry.

 

Class Progression

The appropriate syllabus for each genre forms the core of A1 Dance classes & working up through the syllabus ensures a thorough & measurable progression for each student as well as supplementary elements to enhance their overall dance technique, performance skills & many other aspects relating to the benefits of a dance education.

Once students reach the Foundation Level in Acro Gymnastic Dance the Acrobatic Arts syllabus is also used to further facilitate the safe progression of acrobatic tricks, tumbling & supported partner balances.

Below you will find a brief overview of elements added at each exam grade broadly across the genres. Students not wishing to enter for exams will still follow the exam syllabus & be given the same quality tuition.

 

Grade 1 is the first of the accredited grades & forms the strong foundation of steps & technical knowledge that underpins everything yet to come. Completing Grade 1 typically takes on average between 18months & 2years. 

 

(Grade One Classical Ballet in our NATD syllabus is extremely important for correct progression & development. Compared with many other dance associations it has a much more content rich syllabus on a par with their Grade Three. For this reason once students are placed in a grade 1 ballet class we recommended they attend two ballet classes a week, which allows them to devote time to gaining knowledge of other important dance skills alongside their syllabus grade work, & makes for a more enjoyable & rounded experience.)

Grade 2 more unseen work is introduced & starts to be included in lessons & exams. Unseen work is 'given' on the day whereas most of the syllabus exercises included so far have been learned & refined over a long period of time. Jazz amalgamations begin to be incorporated in the modern syllabus.

 

Grade 3 introduces contrasting styles & rhythms continuing to expand their understanding & proficiency.

To continue entering for accredited exams students should now be attending a minimum of twice a week.

 

Grade 4 sees students creating more of their own choreography to perform for the examiners towards their overall marks in exams across several genres & they are even given the chance to contribute pieces of choreography for show numbers.

Grade 5 brings longer & more complex exercises & dance sequences combining multiple & varying elements & in certain genres, tricks of increasing difficulty. For ballet students their pre-pointe training is well under way & for some gifted students pointework will commence.

Grade 6 exam content sees the addition of contact work in various genres continuing to increase their overall dance expertise. Ballet students at this level have pointework included in their exam for the first time.

How Long in the Foundation & Transitional Levels?

With the recommended level of attendance we would expect each grade to take an average of 12 to 18months to reach exam standard.

Interested in Exams?

 

During the Foundation & Transitional Levels students are invited to enter for NATD recognized & accredited Exams. They may also be entered for Rainbows, Special Yearly Awards & Juvenile, Junior or Senior Medals which are performed in costume & make-up to simulate a stage performance.

While we do encourage you to allow us to enter your child when they are ready, it is entirely up to you whether you would like us to enter them or not. Exams are a great way to build confidence through personal accomplishment & students receive recognition of their achievement, a certificate, medal & / or award which can be added to their personal portfolio. 

All NATD Exams in the Foundation & Transitional Levels are CDMT (Council for Dance, Drama & Musical Theatre formerly CDET) accredited Exam syllabus classes & recognized by Ofqual. They are recognized qualifications & earn UCAS points towards University entry see Recognition of Qualifications Chart

 

You receive more information about these several weeks before an exam session.

Pre-Professional Level - Vocational Grades - Ballet, Modern, Tap, Acro, Contemporary
Pre-Professional Level - Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced 1, Advanced 2

These are Council for Dance, Drama & Musical Theatre (CDMT formerly CDET) accredited Exam syllabus classes & recognized by Ofqual & earn UCAS points towards University entry.

 

Class Progression

The appropriate syllabus for each genre forms the core of A1 Dance classes & working up through the syllabus ensures a thorough & measurable progression for each student as well as supplementary elements to enhance their overall dance technique, performance skills & many other aspects relating to the benefits of a dance education.

Students not wishing to enter for exams will still follow the exam syllabus & be given the same quality tuition.

Content

STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Exams
 
A1 Dance holds regular Exam Sessions (generally just before Easter & late November) with the National Association of Teachers of Dancing Ltd. www.natd.org.uk
 
The NATD is a long established & well respected CDET (Council for Dance Education & Training) accredited body which examines thousands of dancers each year from around the globe.
 
All A1 Dancers are invited to enter for exams & while exams from an accredited body such as the NATD are a good way to measure your child's progress it is acceptable to opt out if preferred. A1 Dancers will be given the same quality tuition regardless of whether they enter. We have a 100%  pass rate in all exam genres.
 
At the core of our Theatrical training are the following exam syllabi accredited by the CDET:
 
Classical Ballet
Modern Stage
Stage Branch Tap
Gymnastic Dance (Acrobatic Dance)
Contemporary Dance

 
We also use the NATD & UDO Street Dance syllabus & the Acrobatic Arts syllabus.

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