Skip to content ↓

Welcome to

St Albans Girls' School


Curriculum Intent and Overview
Dance at STAGS is a place where students can flourish and grow regardless of their starting point. Students will develop a love and enthusiasm for dance and the performing arts by engaging with professional dance works and through their own creativity in the curriculum. The curriculum runs alongside an exciting and fully inclusive extra-curricular timetable where we offer more time to develop technical, performance, choreographic and leadership skills.



The Department

Curriculum Leader: Mrs R Wheatley


What will be studied?

In year 7 and 8 Dance is taught within the PE curriculum and in year 9 by a subject specialist within a Performing Arts carousel. All students have the opportunity to learn the skills required to perform, evaluate, refine and choreograph in preparation for the GCSE and A Level courses, but they will also build important skills such as cooperation, time management and resilience.

Year 7

Dancers will learn some basic dance skills and then study a professional work which focuses on Characterisation.

Year 8

Dancers will learn about dance relationships in terms of pattern and shape of small and large groups. Again the work will be linked to professional dance works, such as Emancipation of Expressionism, Boy Blue Company.

Year 9

Performing Arts Carousel- in year 9 students will have 2 lessons a week over the year and will rotate between Dance, Drama, Music and Performing arts technology - where students will learn to use app’s to create music, how to use stage lighting, basic set and costume design and sound editing.

The work will culminate in a group project in the summer term where students can show off their new skills.

What should KS3 dancers wear for dance lessons?

School PE kit, dance wear, or other appropriate leotard and leggings in plain black. 


Exam Board: AQA

We are very excited to be able to offer GCSE Dance at STAGS!  This is a great opportunity for students to use skills, which they may have been developing outside of school for years, to gain a valuable qualification. However, it is not necessary for students to dance outside school as long as they are prepared to work hard when they get to the lessons. Although other styles of dance will be studied the course uses a modern contemporary style of dance as its basis. 

Course Content:

  • Students will study a range of Dance styles 
  • They will develop physical, technical and expressive skills
  • They will develop skill, knowledge and understanding of choreography
  • They will develop a critical appreciation of Dance
  • Theatre visits to see live dance performance will form part of the learning process

Dance Uniform:
Students will be expected to purchase black opaque leggings and a black leotard. There is also the option to buy a black STAGS branded GCSE Dance T- shirt and/or Hoodie to wear in lesson. Any other layers of clothing must be either STAGS PE kit or plain black with no logos.

Learning Method:
The vast majority of the content of this course will be delivered in a practical setting, although there is theoretical work relating to the appreciation of professional dance works over the 2 years.

The students work on performance tasks: 

  • performing to an invited audience
  • choreographic tasks: where they take an idea and choreograph their own solo or group dance
  • technical tasks: where they learn a piece of dance and work to improve aspects of the dance

These tasks may be done individually or in small groups in order to develop the skills needed to create the assessed pieces of work nearer the end of the course.


Component 1: Performance and Choreography

Performance - 30% of GCSE 
- Set Phrases through a solo performance = 15marks 
- Duet/Trio performance (3 ½ mins duration) = 25 marks

Choreography - 30% of GCSE 
- Solo or group choreography – solo (2-2 ½ mins) Group dance (3-3 ½ mins) = 40 marks

Total Component 1 = 60%, Non- exam assessment marked by the centre and moderated by AQA.

Component 2: Dance Appreciation

Written paper - 40% of the total GCSE (1 ½ hour) = 80 marks
- Students answer questions on 6 professional works.
- Critical appreciation of own work
- Critical appreciation of professional works
- Knowledge and understanding of choreographic processes and performing skills

A Level

Exam Board: AQA

Specification No: 7237

Why Dance at St Albans Girls’ School?

This course is taught by experienced and skilled dance practitioners, with experience in the world of both Dance and Performance. Participants become skilled performers, writers and choreographers in addition there are many opportunities at Stags to perform alongside highly skilled performers and also leadership opportunities to lead clubs and rehearsals, as well as choreograph for performances and shows.

Course Content:

At A Level, students will continue to study the 3 areas of Performance, Choreography and Critical Engagement.

This is done through areas of study where students learn in depth about specific era’s of dance development. In addition to individual and group performance and choreography.

Component 1: Performance and Choreography
What is assessed:

  • Solo Performance
  • Performance in a quartet
  • Group Choreography - where the individual choreographer is assessed.

How it is assessed:

  • Practical exam
  • 80 marks
  • 50% of the A Level


  • External set tasks are distributed by 15th September in the academic year of certification. NEA assessed by an external assessor from AQA during a visit to the centre, between March and May.

Websites we would recommend to support both GCSE and A Level students?

Dance Uniform:
Students will be expected to purchase black opaque leggings and a black leotard. There is also the option to buy a black STAGS branded Dance T- shirt and/or Hoodie to wear in lesson. Any other layers of clothing must be either STAGS PE kit or plain black with no logos.

Expectations of students:

In order to study A Level Dance, GCSE Dance would be an advantage but not essential.  Visits to a wide variety of theatre performances are not a requirement for this course, however we run regular theatre visits which are really advantageous.

What skills are recommended?

Students taking A Level Dance require both performance, analytical and evaluative skills and, of course, a love of the dance!

Career Paths:

A Level Dance is not a vocational course, it is an academic qualification which is linked to a practical area of study as such it often leads to a further study of Dance, choreography or critical writing Degree courses, but can also be a strong subsidiary course to support other arts based degree courses or simply as a source of UCAS points for many of the courses.

An A Level in Dance is beneficial to all professions such as Teaching, Social Work, Therapist, Civil Service, Journalism, Business, Advertising, Marketing, Retail, Hospitality & Catering and  Media.

The Creative Arts Industries are one of the biggest and most successful industries in the UK and an A Level in Dance can lead to a wide ranging career in TV, Film and Theatre including:

Dancer, Choreographer, Stage Manager, TV Floor Manager, Designer (set, costume, lighting, sound), Dance Therapy, Dance teacher, Studio owner, Arts Administrator, Arts/ Dance Producer, Costume Maker/Dresser, Press & Publicity Officer, Marketing Officer, Theatre Producer and Arts Journalist.

Get in touch

Mr P O'Neill

Sandridgebury Lane

St Albans



(To request a paper copy, please contact our Administration Department)

01727 853134