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Exams at Jazzy J’s Dance Academy
We follow the ISTD (Imperial society of teachers of dance) syllabus. Children can take exams from the age of 5 if they wish to do so. There is no pressure for children to do exams and if they don’t want to take one they just move up with the rest of the class.
What does a dance exam involve?
We have to book an exam day in advance, we are then given an examiner from the ISTD that can come to us on the day and time we have requested. We must have a certain amount of children ready to take an exam on the particular date we have arranged. Children must learn their grade off by heart. Each grade has at least 15 set excericises plus a dance they must know off by heart. Exams usually last for about half an hour. The children go into the exam in groups of 4 or 3. Presentation is a very important part of an exam so children must be in the correct uniform and have the correct her style for their genre. From pre primary – level 1 the children’s teacher goes into the exam room with them. The teacher is there for reassurance and to help make the exam feel a bit more like a normal lesson, however the teacher is not allowed to help the children whilst they are dancing and is only allowed to give instruction about what the children are going to do next. From Grade 1 and up the children go into the exam with out a teacher.
How does Jazzy J’s Dance Academy prepare children for exams?
As soon as your child starts in pre primary they (unknowingly) start to prepare for their first exam. The lessons are planned around the syllabus, so by the time your child has spent about a year in that class they will have covered most of the set exercises, however we keep it fun and the lessons still follow a story theme for example…Frozen, fairies at the bottom of the garden. We don’t use the set music to begin with but as time goes on we start to introduce the set music and as the class gets closer to the exam we do less free exercises and more set exam exercises. We do this slowly so the children don’t really notice. When we feel your child is ready to take an exam we let you know. It is really important that the child is ready to take the exam and this happens at different times for different children. Some children who are only just 5 may be ready and take it in their stride and some children may not be ready until they are 61/2. If children don’t want to do an exam they just move up with the rest of the class. When the children move into the next grade we go back to the fun story led class’s and follow the same pattern and this continues right up the grades. We have found this mix keeps the children’s interest and really develops a love and appreciation of dance.
6 weeks prior to the exam children must attend coaching lessons in their exam groups, we usually have 3 – 4 coaching sessions and these must be attended. Coaching gives the children chance to practice in their exam groups and get use to an exam setting as well as it being an opportunity for the teacher to be able to help with any bits children might be finding a bit tricky.
Why do exams?
We believe exams teach children so many life long lessons, the biggest and most immediately noticeable one is the boost it gives to the children’s confidence and belief they have in their own ability as dancers. Through taking exams children will naturally learn to focus, work hard, take pride in their work, determination, performance skills, the importance of body language ( ie standing tall and proud even if you feel really nervous) and enjoyment of working hard for something and achieving it. We believe these are fantastic things to be able to carry into your adult life whatever you choose to be!