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I was just wondering how useful is A level dance for a career in dance (or is it even useful at all)? What about dance teaching? And how useful is GCSE dance? Does this depend on the school you are at?

How big is the jump from GCSE to A level dance, both practically and academically?

Edited by DancingtoDance
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DD is doing AS dance, and intends to take A2 next year. If this isn't digressing, any opinions on how A level dance is regarded when applying for academic courses would be appreciated. If DD doesn't get in for dance college, wondering how she will fare with this as one of her 3 A levels. DD didn't have the opportunity to take GCSE so sadly can't comment on the gap between the two, I think she has found learning to do choreography the hardest part but don't know if doing GCSE would have helped with this!

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Thank you Lilac, hope your DD does well. I was also wondering if it doesn't really help why do ballet/dance schools insist on students doing GCSE and BTEC or A level dance? I would also like to know is BTEC useful and the differences between BTEC and A level dance, and what to consider if you have to choose between the two.

Edited by DancingtoDance
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If this isn't digressing, any opinions on how A level dance is regarded when applying for academic courses would be appreciated.

 

 

Depends what sort of university a pupil is aiming for. The Russell Group has this idea of "facilitating subjects" but you need to take it with a pinch of salt. If you offered two standard academic subjects such as English, History, a Modern Language _ French or German say, or Latin, Maths, Physics & the other sciences, Geography alongside a Dance A level, and if your results were high (A or A*) then I think you'd be fine for Humanities area degrees. 

 

It's Dance + Media Studies + Photography (to offer a very clichéd set of apparently "Mickey Mouse" subjects) that wouldn't wash for anything other than an Art Foundation or the like at a post-92 university where you only need BBB/C or so to get in.

 

Having taught in 3 different national systems, I think it's a pity that the English/Welsh system requires specialisation so early. It means that you need a wide spread of GCSEs including science & humanities subjects, so that you have a wide choice of AS and A levels. Then I think you need to choose A Levels as a mix of what you enjoy (as you'll learn more long term if you enjoy it) and what you need to get you where you want to do. If you're lucky, what you enjoy and what you need completely overlap.

Edited by Kate_N
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DD is doing AS dance, and intends to take A2 next year. If this isn't digressing, any opinions on how A level dance is regarded when applying for academic courses would be appreciated. If DD doesn't get in for dance college, wondering how she will fare with this as one of her 3 A levels. DD didn't have the opportunity to take GCSE so sadly can't comment on the gap between the two, I think she has found learning to do choreography the hardest part but don't know if doing GCSE would have helped with this!

I think it depends on what universities you are looking at and what courses but if it helps I got offers from some top Russel group universities (Durham, Bristol & Exeter) with alevel dance as one of my options. Also it depends on what your predictions are for all of your subjects and the offer for the subject you are applying to- you can email the universities she wants to apply for and ask specifically with her other subjects and they can let you know if they would give offers including alevel dance or not, that is what I had to do before my school let me drop my 4th AS level

Hope that helped!

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Thank you Lilac, hope your DD does well. I was also wondering if it doesn't really help why do ballet/dance schools insist on students doing GCSE and BTEC or A level dance? I would also like to know is BTEC useful and the differences between BTEC and A level dance, and what to consider if you have to choose between the two.

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Putting it bluntly it's because in a vocational school with a reduced academic timetable it's an easy GCSE to count as one of the 5 A-Cs

 

Dds school has just abolished GCSE dance for the dancers which actually pleased most of them as many have chosen music & drama or triple science instead.

I shall tell this to my dd! she wanted to do GCSE dance but her school don't offer it AND they made her do triple science

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Depends what sort of university a pupil is aiming for. The Russell Group has this idea of "facilitating subjects" but you need to take it with a pinch of salt. If you offered two standard academic subjects such as English, History, a Modern Language _ French or German say, or Latin, Maths, Physics & the other sciences, Geography alongside a Dance A level, and if your results were high (A or A*) then I think you'd be fine for Humanities area degrees. 

 

It's Dance + Media Studies + Photography (to offer a very clichéd set of apparently "Mickey Mouse" subjects) that wouldn't wash for anything other than an Art Foundation or the like at a post-92 university where you only need BBB/C or so to get in.

 

Having taught in 3 different national systems, I think it's a pity that the English/Welsh system requires specialisation so early. It means that you need a wide spread of GCSEs including science & humanities subjects, so that you have a wide choice of AS and A levels. Then I think you need to choose A Levels as a mix of what you enjoy (as you'll learn more long term if you enjoy it) and what you need to get you where you want to do. If you're lucky, what you enjoy and what you need completely overlap.

 

I know of a student who took  A Level Dance, Geography and Psychology and had offers  from 4 Russell group universities. I guess it depends on the individual student.

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I believe from my dd's older friends that A level dance has quite a lot of academic work particularly regarding appreciate and interpretation of dance - I am assuming a more detailed and in depth version of the GCSE work.  With regard to validity as a university subject I'm sure that it is dependent on the university, the degree and the individual.  It is always best to check with a number of universities regarding their entry requirement for your chosen course as they can differ wildly.

 

With regard to GCSE dance there is another thread on here where GCSE and the quality in schools has been widely debated.  Not sure how to attach a link yet but I am sure that if you search the threads it will be available.

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The op also asked about Btec. Again the quality varies considerably. In my area a couple of large local dance schools have teamed up with local companies pledges to offer Btec perf arts dance. They work well beyond the official spec & prepare kids for audition to college at 18. The Btec/college link in these cases are a way of providing funding & I would say it's just as good as doing a foundation course.

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I'd be perfectly happy for my DD to do less GCSEs and have less pressure.  For her to do the subjects she finds interesting so she can thrive and at the same time build her confidence and pride in herself which is such a huge life/work skill.  Really wish she could have done GCSE dance as she would have secured a very good grade in it. :(

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At my daughter's music vocational school the expectation is that all music specialists will take dual award to allow them time to practice.  They have special set for them.

 

In fact she is one of only two specialists to be sitting 11 GCSE's including the three sciences.    She started with the view that if it was too much she could always drop down - but she is stubborn enough to have kept going.  

 

I suspect we will have the same debate at A level!  

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Yes DDs secondary school were into EBAC so really narrow options,Chen everything a creative child like her wanted to do all in one column. We had a huge dilemma between Music and Art! In the end she did music, purely as she believed it to be less time consuming than Art. Such a shame!

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I hope you all joined the various protests against the philistine aspects of the eBacc. There were various petitions, pressure groups and so on, and a suggested letter to your MP.

 

It's almost worse for Drama - Government policy now is that it's considered that studying plays in English Literature is sufficient study of Drama.

 

No understanding of creating and making drama as a way of understanding it: imagine if the study of Music or Art was done only by listening to music or looking at paintings, rather than including making music or art works. And now it's no longer deemed necessary that the study of drama includes seeing live performances. 

Edited by Kate_N
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Yes the outlook for music is particularly grim. A good friend of ours reluctantly decamped to the independent sector after several years of redundancy threats hanging over him as head of music at a secondary school (he had 3 small children to think about).Its just seen as an easy target for budget cuts. My own d was fortunate enough to win a music scholarship to a school v strong in music otherwise I have no idea how we would have supported her training. Its not just about instrumental lessons but also performance opportunities with ensemble and orchestra, and support with music theory, composition etc

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It's encouraging to hear of students getting offers for 3 subjects including dance. With the halfway house she finds herself in with the current A level changes she can't face another year of Biology. She is thinking of taking Further Maths AS next year, or possibly an EPQ to top up the academic side. If she fails to get into dance college, and her academic side isn't strong enough, we will also consider a third year at sixth form to strengthen her position.

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Inevitable dumb question from me: Do you think its possible to take Dance A level if you haven't done the GCSE? (assume that the applicant has 11 GCSEs in a range of subjects and Ballet to Adv 1, Modern to Intermediate standard). Just thinking about 6th Form option as dd does not want to remain at present school).

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A few of the girls I teach haven't done GCSE dance but will be picking up A Level dance come September. The teacher of the A Level course knows the girls through the dance school and has said she is happy that they can dance to a high standard. She has said that she will need to spend a few days with them just giving them a quick run down of the GCSE syllabus as some components are expanded on in the A Level syllabus such as the choreographic devices etc

 

I would imagine that varies from school to school depending upon their intake and their past experiences

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