‘Dance enables you to lose yourself and find yourself at the same time’ Our intention as a Dance Department is to inspire, motivate flair and creativity. We want to provide artistic exposure whilst developing curiosity. We aim to guide our students to become creators, celebrate individuality, nurture cultural understanding, encourage artistic appreciation, build self-confidence and awareness. We encourage students to be brave and take creative risks in devising imaginative choreography, whilst appreciating the importance of developing discipline and technical skills through structure, providing a safe environment for our students. We are advocates for physical and mental well-being. We value the skill of reflection and the process of self-development. It is important for our students to understand how to critique their own and others’ performances and composition. We want students to be empathetic and challenge their self-reflection and interpretation. We challenge students to respond to the world around them, engaging in different cultures and historical events. Dance is a medium for expression and artistry.
Our Schemes of Work introduce students to all the key skills that will support them to be successful Dance students at Weatherhead. When they arrive in Year 7, we begin by using ‘Bugsy Malone’ to introduce skills and techniques such as actions, dynamics, dance space, group work, collaboration and dance relationships. Throughout KS3, students are encouraged to develop their own choreography, using the 8 basic dance actions. In addition, they are introduced to a range of stimuli and learn how to use them to create their own work. Throughout KS3, 4 and 5, students experience different dance styles, exploring the culture and history behind them. Lessons are practical and engaging but also structured – safe dance practice is applied, ensuring students appreciate the importance of warming up and working safely. At the end of every unit of work, students take part in practical assessments, sharing what they have developed. The final lesson involves self assessment, reflection and identifying the dance skills from the criteria which they have achieved in their final performance. GCSE and A Level Dancers follow the AQA specification – the KS3 curriculum ensures they are equipped with some experience and understanding of the skills required. As a department, we have high expectations of behaviour and engagement, from KS3 onwards. At KS4 and 5, students use Google Classroom to access work. GCSE and A Level students also have folders of work, to support their organisation and revision. The department has their own set of IPADs, used regularly in lessons to record rehearsals and to reflect upon their progress.
Extra-curricular activities are an essential part of the Dance department, allowing those students who wish to, to develop their confidence and skills further. This year, we are offering Year 7 Dance Club, Year 8 Dance Club, Year 9 Dance Club and Dance Company. We also offer School Show Dance Company (every 2 years). In addition, we offer an annual G & T Theatre trip for Year 8. GCSE and A level students are given opportunities to see performances linked to the curriculum and the department offers workshops with Dance practitioners. Our Performing Arts Council offers Leadership opportunities for our Art Ambassadors and Year 12/13 students are encouraged to support the running of clubs and to volunteer in KS3 lessons. At all Key Stages, students are aware that Dance belongs to the Performing Arts curriculum area. We are always looking for opportunities for cross-curricular activities and to remind students of the similarities and differences between Drama, Dance and Music.
- Students will have learnt how to choreograph and dance from the introduction of a stimulus to creating/developing motifs/phrases of movement using the basic dance actions, spatial arrangement of dances, relationships and variation of dynamics.
- Students will have learnt what makes a successful performance through evaluation and reflection of their own and other’s performances. Students will be able to identify and include a variety of performance skills to their own creations.
- Students will have an understanding and gained knowledge on a variety of dance styles and themes.
- Students will be assessed practically on their creating and performance skills. Appreciation skills will be assessed through verbal feedback, written peer/self-assessment tasks and through homework activities.
- By the end of KS3, students will have the knowledge and skills to create, perform and appreciate dance showing an understanding of the marking criteria.
- Students will have learnt how to use a stimulus/set question to choreograph a solo, duo or group choreography. They will develop the skills to research, improvise and experiment with movement to create original and competent choreographies.
- Students will have an understanding and gained skills in different dance techniques. They will learn how to engage an audience and include stylistic qualities or particular choreographers into their performance work.
- Students will be able to perform solo, duo and group work of varying lengths.
- Students will be assessed practically on their creative and performance skills via external examiner/moderator.
- Appreciation skills will be assessed in class through verbal feedback written, peer and self-assessment and through homework and class tasks.
- Students will have completed written exams in dance which will assess their knowledge.
A purpose built dance studio and theatre.
There is an array of clubs on offer in the Dance Department for Weatherhead High School students. Clubs are on offer from Year 7-13 for students and are led by the Dance department staff, Wirral Youth Theatre and some of our Key Stage 5 students as part of their leadership opportunities. We have links with Wirral Youth Theatre (WYT), RARE & the CAT project who have delivered workshops to students at extra-curricular sessions.
Visit weatherheadhigh.co.uk/extra-curricular-clubs for our current programme of extra-curricular activities.