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‘To create a different world, a different language for every individual piece’                    


- Christopher Bruce


Subject Intent:

The dance curriculum at Smithills School is designed to develop pupils’ creativity, self-confidence, artistic appreciation, cultural understanding, social skills, teamwork, communication and self-awareness. All pupils have an opportunity to perform, choreograph and critically appreciate the work of professional dance practitioners and their own work.

Throughout the curriculum our intent is to promote pupils being both creative and confident. We encourage individuality in their styles and provide opportunities to work both independently and as part of a larger group. Whilst lessons are structured and choreography is teacher led, we also provide many opportunities for pupils to be autonomous and create their own choreography.

The dance curriculum at Smithills School has the ability to inspire a creative mind that is curious and open to new experiences. We believe that channelling their creativity is vital to them discovering their own voice and place in the world. Dance is instrumental in helping build skills and experiences that will serve them for the rest of their life. Our overall intent is to promote innovation and new ways of thinking to enhance a pupil’s holistic educational experience. The dance curriculum is fully inclusive, enabling all pupils to access the knowledge and skills regardless of their starting points and barriers to learning. Specific groups such as SEND, DP, MA are closely monitored and intervention, where necessary, is planned in order to reduce gaps and to allow pupils to meet their targets.’


We built the curriculum with the intent that pupils will:


  • Experience a broad, deep and knowledge rich curriculum through experiencing a wide range of dance styles, dance skills and dance techniques. Our study of style, skills and techniques within our knowledge rich curriculum aims to create a resilient pupil who has a thirst dance, choreography and performance. Pupils will be exposed to a wide range of social, cultural and thematic professional dance works which will further build on their awareness, curiosity, appreciation and knowledge of dance and its place within society.

  • Be literate and numerate in order to show their in-depth appreciation of dance, choreography, skills and techniques and performance. Pupils will be able to communicate, with creative minds, their own ideas, knowledge and critical appreciation in order to demonstrate their understanding of dance. Numeracy skills will underpin these aspects through the ability to formulate accurate timings of own and others’ choreography, budgeting costing implications of choreography and performance and chronologically appreciate historical, cultural and thematic professional dance works.    

  • Have high expectations for their behaviour and achievement through a range of practical and theoretical elements within dance. Pupils will appreciate and value the dance space and resources by fully embedding the Smithills Standards and values and nurturing respect for others.

  • Develop their cultural, moral, social, mental and physical development through experiencing the wider context of dance within society. Pupils will be encouraged to participate in further dance activities and events to deepen their understanding of dance and its place within the arts and society.

  • Be prepared for life beyond the school by equipping our pupils with creativity, confidence, resilience, curiosity, teamwork and social skills to support with dealing with modern day issues and challenges.


Subject Implementation:

Pupils  are assessed on their choreographic, performance and critical appreciation of own and others work that contribute to the development of skills, processes, approaches and techniques. They either perform in response to a stimulus, style, technique or perform repertoire of professional works that can be a combination of group work, duets and solo’s. In addition, Pupils  explore, research and critically appreciate live and recorded dance works to know and understand the defining characteristics of each of the professional works.

  • Throughout the curriculum, pupils  explore a variety of dance styles and works that will challenge their understanding of the dance industry. Pupils  are expected to approach the course with a high level of self-discipline, maturity and are encouraged to embrace the holistic study of the dance. Pupils  are assessed on their choreographic ideas, how they perform dance, how they use processes and skills and how they critically appreciate dance. All practical elements are assessed on pupils' ability to choreograph and perform with accuracy, creativity and sophisticated understanding of dance.

  • The curriculum is sequenced to ensure pupils learn the skills and techniques required through exploring and experiencing a range of historical, cultural, stylistic, social and thematic dance. Pupils  are able to make relevant links between techniques, styles and dance practitioners as there is a crossover of skills and techniques created by the pioneers of dance but utilised by many professional dance practitioners and dance companies. There is an increasing level of challenge and complexity to enquiries as pupils not only have to consider the content of the choreography but grasp the characteristics of dance professional works such as, production (staging, lighting, properties, costume, dancers, aural settings) performance environment, choreographic approaches and choreographic intent.

To foster enjoyment, there is a focus on developing pupils’ creativity and skills base through exploration and a range of strategies are used to deepen knowledge, using live or recorded modelling of practical tasks to demonstrate techniques effectively and use of exemplar answers to demonstrate processes, standards and expectations of written/oral work/feedback.


Subject Enrichment:

Dance enrichment opportunities are integral to the complete, holistic development of pupils . All pupils are given opportunities in dance that develops new skills, confidence and leadership; working independently, or within a group to enhance their learning experience. We believe that our extensive dance enrichment provisions aids each student’s sense of pride, self-worth and achievement whilst building a platform for academic accomplishment.


We provide a rich and varied enrichment program including:

  • Regular trips to the see live dance at local and national venues

  • Ellite Dance Company is a company formed in January 2017 that trains regularly at during lunch and after school. The company is aimed at those Pupils , opened to any year group, who enjoy dance and may possibly want to consider it as a career. The dance company has performed and trained at several professional venues including, Alton Towers, Her Majesty’s Theatre London, Blackpool Opera House, Victoria Theatre, Halifax and Pineapple Dance Studios, London.

  • Our dance Pupils  have an opportunity to perform in our school productions and events, throughout the academic year.

  • Links and providing opportunities to work with visiting dance professional practitioners

  • developing partnerships with external providers that extend children’s opportunities for learning

  • providing on and off-site subject or topic related experiences.


Subject Impact:

In dance we focus on improving not only their choreographic and performance skills and gaining a better knowledge of dance within society but also helping pupils to improve their social skills. Pupils will have the opportunity to create, perform and respond to a variety of stimuli, all of which cause pupils to ‘think’ and choreograph a response that is shared with an audience. Through written communication and the use of appropriate dance terminology pupils will be able to critically analyse, interpret and evaluate their own work in performance and choreography and gain knowledge and understanding of professional dance practice through experiencing a range of professional dance works. With this wealth of experience pupils will be able to understand the similarities and differences between the defining characteristics within dance and professional dance works and understand the purpose or significance of different performance environments in which the dance was created and performed.


Dance Curriculum Map:

Dance Curriculum Map.jpg

Knowledge and Skills

Pupils studying dance at KS3 develop a range of dance knowledge, skills and techniques through exploring the social, historical, thematic and cultural diversity of dance. This learning not only prepares them to study dance at KS4 but also provides them with a wealth of transferable skills that are pivotal in other subject areas. Pupils are taught how to engage with and develop their creative, physical, emotional and intellectual capacity through dance repertoire, practitioners, skills, techniques, choreography and performance.


Year 7:

Pupils will develop their knowledge of:

  • Professional dance repertoire and the interrelationships (style, music and choreographic purpose/intent) within the dance repertoire

  • The fundamental aspects of social, historical, thematic and cultural concepts within dance

  • The fundamental concepts of creating and performing dance in relation to a choreographic intent

  • The fundamental aspects of action content, spatial content, dynamic content and relationship content

  • Safe working practice within dance – understanding why we warm up and cool down, why absence of jewellery is important, why having the correct footwear and hairstyle is important and how to safely execute movement content correctly

Pupils will develop their skills in

  • How the body moves with others (relationship content) what movement the body can do (action content) where the body can move to (spatial content) how the body can move (dynamic content)

  • Physical skills – balance, posture, coordination, control, extension and strength

  • Choreographic processes (creating a piece of dance) through demonstrating and developing repertoire, selecting specific ideas, structuring the piece, choreographic devices (unison, canon and repetition) and consideration of refining a piece of dance for performance.

  • Expressive skills (performing a piece of dance) focus, spatial awareness, timing and facial expression

  • Transferable skills: 5 C’s – communication, co-operation, concentration, confidence and critical appreciation.

  • Knowing how to constructively critically appreciate own and others work inclusive of professional dance repertoire studied.


Year 8: builds on the foundation laid in Year 7.


Pupils will develop their knowledge of:

  • Professional dance repertoire and interrelationships (style, music, choreographic approaches/purpose/intent, features of production, performance environment) within the dance repertoire

  • The contrast and comparisons of social, historical, thematic and cultural concepts within dance and the impact on the wider community

  • Why research, improvisation, generating, selecting, developing and structuring is key to the choreographic process

  • Why expressive skills are key to a successful performance

  • How action content, spatial content, dynamic content and relationship content complement, contrast and support the choreographic intent

Pupils will develop their skills in

  • Relationship ideas and how they support the choreographic intent, action ideas and how they support the style, spatial ideas and how they support approach, purpose, intent and performance environment, dynamic ideas and how they support the music and overall purpose/intent of the piece.

  • Build on the learning and exploration of professional repertoire and forming critical views of the contrasts and comparisons between the dance repertoire learned and demonstrated

  • Choreography - creating and remembering sequences/phrases, further explorative and purposeful use of choreographic devices, use evaluating against intent, developing own material to add further depth

  • Performance - use of eye line, mirrors, peripheral vision, change in focus and facial expressions

  • Forming and stating constructive critical views that lead to choreographic and performance related discussions


Year 9

Pupils will develop their knowledge of:

  • Contemporary dance practitioners including Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Jose Limon through key techniques, concepts and choreographic approaches within their professional dance repertoire either for stage or camera.

  • Applying relationships, actions, spacing and dynamics within the concept of motif development

  • Working with, selecting and developing professional dance repertoire as a dance company (mental skills: mental rehearsal, rehearsal discipline, planning of rehearsal, response to feedback and capacity to improve)

  • Working with and selecting a stimulus from an AQA choreographic brief, pupils at this stage have the opportunity to experience life as a choreographer and not have to be in the actual piece (guidance allowed from AQA)

Pupils will develop their skills in

  • Learning, selecting, developing and demonstrating the techniques from the dance practitioners.

  • Learning, selecting, developing and demonstrating motifs from the dance practitioners.

  • Working as a dance company and engaging with other dancers and their ideas whilst demonstrating and understanding the value of mental skills and the impact they have on the choreographic and performance process and outcome.

  • Illustrating and writing a descriptive and detailed analysis of techniques and skills learned and developed.

  • Illustrating and writing a detailed choreographic journal that validates the pupil’s choreographic journey and outcome.

  • Description, evaluation and analysis of own work and the work of others.


Year 10 – start of GCSE Dance course

Pupils will develop their knowledge of:

  • The six professional dance works and interrelationships within the dance repertoire as guided by AQA through critical appreciation of the professional set works. 

  • The social, historical, thematic and cultural concepts within the six professional dance works.

  • The stylistic qualities within the six professional dance works through relationship, action spacing and dynamic content.

  • The physical, technical and expressive skills required for choreography, performance and performance of the AQA set phrases.

Pupils will develop their skills in

  • Watching, researching, describing and analysing the six professional dance works through practical and written communication.

  • Learning set sequences and motifs from the six professional works and understanding the physical, technical and expressive demands.

  • Learning set phrases set by AQA and understanding the physical, technical and expressive demands.


Year 11

Pupils will develop their knowledge of:

  • Choreographic processes for creating and presenting a piece of choreography based on the AQA choreographic exam paper (30%)

  • Learning and developing set repertoire for a performance piece (15%) based on a choreographic intent

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of their own and others demonstrating of the AQA set phrases (15%)

  • Reviewing own knowledge and understanding of the six professional dance works, own work and the skills and processes required for dance (40% written paper)

Pupils will develop their skills in

  • Researching a range of ideas to support their creation and development of their own choreography.

  • Teaching and guiding their dancers with choreographic ideas (if they are using other dancers)

  • Researching and mixing (if applicable) music that supports their choreography and performance piece.

  • Expanding their range of physical, technical and expressive skills throughout exploration and development of ideas for choreography and performance.

  • Description, evaluation and analysis of choreography, performance, processes and skills.

Contact Head of Department:

Mr Milthorpe -

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