Dance, Drama and Music

Dance

The Dance department is passionately committed to allowing all students to engage with Dance as a subject.  Dance at St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy is taught as a subject to be explored, understood and appreciated.

In Year 7, students study the five components of Dance- Travel, Rotation, Elevation, Gesture and Balance.  They study the choreographic devices of unison, canon and investigate action, space, dynamics and relationships.  Students may analyse professional performances and companies as well as looking at aspects of Musical Theatre.  They also cover the following styles throughout the year.  Contemporary Dance and Street Dance.  Students are assessed half termly against the dance assessment grid through both practical and written work.

In Year 8, students recap the five components of Dance – Travel, Rotation, Elevation, Gesture and Balance.  They develop their knowledge of choreographic devices including repetition, motif development, unity, contrast and logical sequence.  They continue to develop their understanding of action, space, dynamics and relationships through the study of safe practice.  Students may analyse specific professional performances and companies and cover the following styles throughout the year.  Contemporary Dance, Ballet, Contact Improvisation and Street Dance.  Students are assessed half termly against the Dance Assessment Grid through both practical and written work.

In Years 9, 10 and 11 students begin to analyse companies and performance works identified as part of the GCSE AQA Dance specifications.  

All students will be required to perform 4 set works as part of their practical assessment.

Students have the opportunity to see a number of performances both locally and further afield.  Our GCSE performers perform at the Regent Theatre in the ‘0 Dance’ Festivals, The UDO National Street Dance competitions and other local dance festivals.  Students also study different dance styles like Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical, Ballet and Street Dance.  Students are assessed at regular points throughout the year through both practical and theory work. 

Our A Level Dance course students have the opportunity to engage in practical weekly dance technique classes in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary and Urban dance styles.  Students engage in an academic study of professional works by a range of choreographers and companies as set out in the AQA A Level Dance Specification.

Throughout the course, students perform and create solo, due, trio and larger group pieces and learn through a mix of practical dance workshops and classes and theoretical lectures and discussions.  Students create work for performance and develop their skills of designing, costuming and organising lighting for their productions.

A level dance students at St Margaret Ward enjoy a varied trips calander inckuding local and national production. 

Extra Curricular clubs are offered at lunch and afterschool on a weekly basis for all year groups.  Work from the clubs is showcased during performances throughout the year.  Dance styles studied in clubs vary from Street Dance to contemporary, Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Lyrical.

Students represent the school in various dance competions and festivals throughout the year including the UDO National Street Dance competitions and the Regend Theatre 0 Dance Festivals.  

We produce a yearly whole school production of a famous musical, which all students are invited to audtion for.  Past production have included; Grease, The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz.

Drama

The Performing Arts department is passionately committed to allowing all students to engage with Performing Arts as a subject.  The programme is designed to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to progress fluidly to GCSE Dance, Drama and Music.  While providing opportunities for students to develop socially, morally, spiritually and culturally.         

Year 7, Drama is taught as a discrete subject with the aim to introduce students to drama as well as to help improve literacy and social skills.  Students focus upon developing an understanding of storytelling and have the opportunity to make and perform with their own puppets.  Other styles studied also include: slapstick, pantomine and physical theatre.  Students are assessed both practically and through written work.

In Year 8, students follow more project based work which is designed to not only strengthen their skills as performers, but also develop their written analysis of Drama.  Students currently explore scripted plays, which they will interpret and rehearse as well as devising their own piece of drama based upon current topical issues,  Students also study backstage elements such as set, costume and lighting through exploring Harry Potter and we run a trip to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour each year. 

GCSE: Our GCSE students enjoy a varied curriculum where they not only devise their own performances, but they rehearse a larger section of the script.  This practical element of the course is coursework that is completed during both Year 10 and 11 and is assessed in from of an invited audience.   At GCSE, students also complete a written examination for which they analyse performances they have seen at a theatre across the country during the course, as well as discussing their work during the course and plays studied. 

BTEC: In years 9, 10 and 11 our BTEC Performing Arts course enables students to have the opportunity to create, perform and appreciate performing arts.  Students will work on a project basis, developing their skills within three art forms: Acting, Dancing and Singing.  Students also work on performing arts techniques and skills through individual subject projects, studying a wide range of styles and genres including: Contemporary Dance, Street Dance, Jazz and Musical Theatre as well as scripted plays, devised work, naturalistic styles, physical theatre and contemporary theatre.

BTEC Performing Arts is a vocational course designed to give student a real understanding of how the industry works.  The course results in a qualification that is equivalent to GCSE but is delivered and assessed regularly on a unit by unit basis, rather than just by end of year assessments.  

Students are encouraged to see productions and we have a full and exciting trips calendar including an annual trip to the West End to see a piece of musical theatre, tour a theatre and participate in a workshop with a member of the show cast at Pineapple Dance Studios London.

Pupils who study the BTEC Performing Arts course at KS4 can continue to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills in Performing Arts through further study at A Level.

In Years 12 and 13 out exciting and engaging BTEC Performing Arts course enables student to have the opportunity to create, perform and appreciate Performing Arts.  Students will work on a project basis, developing their skills within all three art forms: Acting, Dancing and Singing.  Students also work on their Performing Arts techniques and skills through individual subject projects studying a wide range of styles and genres including: Contemporary dance, Street dance Jazz and Musical Theatre as well as scripted plays, devised work, naturalistic styles, physical theatre and contemporary theatre.  Students can specialise in a specific arts pathway or develop more than one style simultaneously.

BTEC Performing Arts is a vocational course designed to give students a real understanding of how the industry works.  The course results in a qualification that is equivalent to A Level but is delivered and assessed regularly on a unit by unit basis.

Previous assessed projects have included Theatre in Education tours of our Partner Primary Schools where students create and perform a piece of devised theatre and plan and lead workshops for various year groups.  Students also have the opportunity to teach clubs for our lower school students and help to create performance work which can be entered into local and national showcases and performance platforms.

The projects developed through this course are often ones that students note on their University UCAS applications and often get discussed in interviews as they demontrate successful attitudes for life such as; group work, planning, organising events and evaluating success within the students involved.

Music

Music is an important part of our everyday lives.  All students are given the opportunity to learn an instrument and through music lessons during year 7, 8 and 9, all students experience a wide range of musical activities and are introduced to a variety of musical genres.   Our department has an open door policy and is accessible to all students no matter of their musical background or ability.  We want to make music available for all.

In Year 7, students will study and learn about Music through a variety of topics.  They will explore sounds whilst learning how to read jusic.  We will then focus on how music is created and composed before learning about music from a different period of time.  Singing is also embedded into the curriculum and throughout the summer term students will focus on developing their vocal skills.  During lessons, students will take part in a variety of musical activities enabling them to read, compose, perform and listen to and appraise their won and work of others. 

In Year 8, students will continue to develop the performing and listening and appraising skills that they learnt during year 7.  They will use classroom instruments and music technology to improvise and compose their own music whilst learning about different periods of music history,  In addition to this, they will also learn about different types of music including how music is composed for specific purposes and music from different cultures.

At GCSE we follow the Edexcel Specification and throughout the GCSE Music course student will learn how to improve their performing skills, how music is constructed from initial ideas through to the finished product, hot to analyse music in a variety of styles and discover the social and historical context in which music has been composed over the last 400 years or so.