Entering & Taking Dance Examinations.
Updated: Jan 11, 2022
When you are ready to take an examination the school will contact you by email. For each exam, you are required to pay an entry fee and a fee for extra exam preparation lessons you will be required to attend.
The exam fee is paid to the professional organisation that conducts the exams, we use the following exam boards- RAD Royal Academy of Dance, ISTD Imperial Society of teacher of Dance and the IDTA International Dance Teachers Association. It also includes a small charge to cover the running cost of the day and for hire of props, character shoes & skirts if required
The exam will take place on a different day from your normal class when an external examiner will visit the studio to conduct the examinations. You may require a short period of time out of school. but as the examinations are recognised by the Education department, this is not a problem as long as you have informed your school in the usual way. It is always a very special time getting dressed and having your hair done for an examination.
Exam Students also have an extra exam preparation lesson. This would take place either on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon (or occasionally on a Tuesday evening) This is just for the students that are taking the exam, so they know exactly what to expect and makes the whole thing a really enjoyable experience.
There are 3 types of examinations. Graded examinations are when they show everything they have been learning in class, they are expected to show neat and tidy steps with control, musicality, and presentation. Some of the examination is performed together and some is performed as individuals. After successful completion of the exam you will move up to the next grade.
We also enter students for Medal awards. These are performance-based, they give students confidence and are good preparation for the full graded exam they are shorter than the graded examinations. Jazz progression is made by these Medal Awards. but student’s stay in the class that corresponds with their ballet class.
Our very youngest students may be offered to take a rosette award or Preprimary class award these are very valuable introductory exams in which the student is accompanied into the exam room with a teacher. This gives the teacher the opportunity to see how the students respond in an exam situation. And these young students feel supported in their first examination. For these exams, students do not receive a mark.
RAD & IDTA examinations Preparatory upwards students receive a mark, report, certificate and Award. (RAD vocational exams receive a mark report and Certificate).
ISTD examinations Grade 1 upwards students receive a mark, report and certificate.
Students should see examinations as a culmination of the work they have achieved in that particular grade and by achieving it they are recognised for the hard work they have put into their dance classes. It gives the student and parents a summary of how the dancer is progressing. The students gain such confidence by taking part. From Grade 1 and above there is the added bonus that the examinations are regulated by the government's qualification framework OFQUAL and receive credits for this. By Grade 6 and above they are valuable UCAS points to help with university entry.
I should stress that they do not need to take an exam to progress to the next class up but they will still be expected to gain the required skills to move up.
How can you ensure you are the best prepared you can be for an examination?
Ensure you attend all your classes, when entering you your teacher has relied on the fact you are going to be there at every lesson. If you do miss a class, ask about making it up at another venue. If you can attend an extra session each week this will really help you.
Exam preparation extra lessons are very important as they give you the chance to dance in your small exam group and understand the format of the exam. These must be attended, it may mean you need to miss another activity that week.
Always turn up to class on time looking neat and tidy in your correct uniform.
Remember what your teacher has asked you to practise and make sure you do a little each day.
Examination boards we use
Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) we use for most Ballet examinations.
Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD) we use these exams for grade 1 and above modern and tap exams
International Teachers of Dance we use this board for Jazz exams, tap exams up to Primary. Preparatory Ballet exam. We also use them for Medal Tests in all Genre.