Implementing supplementary training at Key Stage 3 & 4

Two members of the ODUK Dance Teacher Advocacy Group describe the additional opportunities, including supplementary training available at their schools, which have enabled students to excel in their Dance studies and progress to train as dancers, choreographers, teachers and many other roles within the dance industry.

Geoff Lake – LeAF Studio School

We are very lucky at LeAF Studio to provide additional, vocational training to our students as we prepare them for the industry. In addition to their academic curriculum and chosen GCSE’s in Dance, Drama or Music we offer training in Acrobatic Arts, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Commercial and Progressive Ballet Technique. All of these disciplines help to develop an all-round performer who is highly versatile when applying to colleges and universities. We link the skill sets required for the GCSE Dance specification which also provides cross-specialism learning to take place and for dance skills to be developed further.

We work closely to endorse what our students’ training providers offer them outside of school. We combines the best of focused, vocational learning with excellent academic achievement to equip students with the diverse range of skills required for our highly competitive industry.

Our young performers have access to our Strength and Conditioning sessions where they work with specialist coaches who support our students through their educational development by delivering services which enable the students to optimise their training schedule whilst developing their physical capabilities. The role of our S&C department is more than just lifting weights, they support our students through:

  • Growth and Maturation
  • Biomechanical and movement function analysis
  • Injury Prevention and treatment of injuries
  • Recovery
  • Nutrition

We feel that by having these experiences and training for our students allows them to become the best they can be and reach their fullest potential. Our aim is always for our students to obtain offers and places at their chosen universities and vocational colleges. By having this supplementary training allows for our students to be more ‘attractive’ to the audition panels and develops them into grounded, well trained dancers.

Amy Preedy – Our Lady & St John Catholic College

My department was fortunate enough to receive a supplementary activity to identify pupils who may benefit from dance outside of school who would otherwise not be able to access any due to deprivation or relating circumstances. The course named “Access to Dance – Intro to dance” funded by Awards for All, allowed trained I.D.T.A teachers to deliver a 6 week programme (in our case it has to be delivered over a day) to introduce various styles through a holistic approach looking at the benefits of dance through to performance.  Access to Dance wants to share with pupils the vision to change future aspirations giving individuals a new focus. They hope by embracing dance will be inspirational, gaining motivation to unlock potential outside the school day.

Access to Dance believes in breaking down the barriers, making Dance inclusive. This project brings together young people to learn new skills improve health and wellbeing and make new friends. Dance is an ideal way to improve health and well- being and for individuals struggling with low mood, anxiety and depression. Access to Dance provides an opportunity to use dance to escape and learn to feel more positive about themselves.

Some of the components covered which cannot always be covered at key stage 3 were:

Street Dance, Listen to your body & Lyrical Modern, Looking after your body, Love your body, Nourish your body & Lyrical Modern, Next Steps & Dance Collaboration Workshop.

Having completed  the 6 weeks course, students now have the opportunity to be invited to ‘Pathways to Dance’. This is an intensive 20 week programme aiming towards performances and I.D.T.A examinations. This course will be held at a ‘hosting’ school bringing together the successful candidates for community cohesion. This next step now brings young people together, from other areas, encouraging individuals to embrace dance and start to focus on their ability rather than their limitations.