My name is Helen Patterson and I’m currently the course leader for BTEC Dance. We’re so pleased you’ll be coming to Reigate College to study Dance and we’re looking forward to you joining our busy department at the beginning of the academic year.
Over the coming months, I’d like you to complete a series of tasks and activities to prepare you for the start of the course. These tasks should all be completed independently at home, but you’ll have the chance to talk about what you’ve learnt with other Dance students when your lessons begin in September.
The tasks will be released here, in three phases (see table below) and should be completed by Choices Day on 1 September 2021. Please throw yourself into them and above all enjoy them!
Please note, some Course Leaders (for example for Music) may release their tasks earlier, as they may form part of the College’s audition process. If this applies to you, you’ll be notified separately.
New Starters Course Tasks and Activities
To be completed by
Explore your Subject
Explore your Subject
Dance helps to communicate a message and incites feelings and emotions
in its audience in different ways. It comes in many different forms that
demonstrate the varied approaches and styles that have existed and evolved over
Exploring the subject of Dance will help you to build on these
variations and the thought processes behind the choreography, to help you on
your path to becoming a choreographer or professional dancer.
Choreography and performance – a case study
As you’ll be aware, performance is a significant part of Dance
programmes and at Reigate College, our successful Hot FeetDance Show is
choreographed by students annually and enjoyed by all. The dance ‘Cage of Bones’
was incorporated into the Hot Feet
performance last year, which is a great example of how you can work with a
piece of professional repertoire and make it your own.
‘Cage of Bones’ by Travis Wall and Maddie Ziegler through the following Youtube
For their Hot Feet performance, Reigate College students used the original choreography from the duet to create a group piece.
about how you would go about creating a group piece from the ‘Cage of Bones’
Researching choreography and choreographers
Following on from the above exercise, you should try to expand your
knowledge of choreography.
TASK Please research and watch some more examples of choreography on YouTube. Here are the names of four choreographers you should include in your research:
Award-winning Bob Fosse choreographed the stage musicals Chicago and Cabaret among others. Find and watch some of his choreography, such as ‘Cell Block Tango’ (from Chicago) and ‘The Rich Man’s Frug’ and ‘Big Spender’ (from Sweet Charity). (You can find out more about him and his relationship with actress and dancer Gwen Verdon by watching theeight-part drama Fosse/Verdon, currently available on BBC i-player)
Phillip Chbeeb is a hip hop choreographer who fuses contemporary together with hip hop. Take a look at his dance video ‘Slip’
Jerome Robbins was an American choreographer and dancer, behind many successful Broadway shows including West Side Story, The King and I and Fiddler on the Roof. Watch some of his famous dances from West Side Story
American dancer and choreographer Travis Wall specialises in contemporary dance and jazz. You might like to watch his ‘Cage of Bones’ dance again now
TASK: Once you’ve researched each of the above choreographers and watched some examples of their work, please write a paragraph on each one. You should detail their styleof dance, their achievements and what you personally think influences them from watching their work.
Please list at least three
research methods you’ve used when completing this activity.
Finally, in preparation for starting the course, we’d like you to carry out the Skills Audit below. This will form part of the unit of study on developing skills and techniques.
Please answer the following questions
giving as much detail as possible. Remember, this is to get an accurate picture
of your experience so far so you can build on it during the course – there are
no right or wrong answers!
What choreographic experience do you have? This could include any teaching you’ve been responsible for or leading. If none say none!
What technical experience do you have? What physical skills can you do; how flexible are you; what do you need to work on?
What are your main dance achievements to date? What have you done that you consider to be good practice?
What assessments or examinations have you taken? If none say none.
What performance experience have you got?
What do you want to do for a career? Do you want a career in Dance? If not, can you say what you do want to do? You may not know at this stage.
Who are your favourite choreographers and why?
Which is your favourite performance that you’ve seen and why?
What do you hope to get out of taking this Dance course?
Welcome back. I hope you’re making the most of your time not doing GCSE exams! This unexpected free time gives you some valuable time to explore the exciting world of contemporary dance.
The tasks are designed to develop your knowledge and understanding of contemporary dance technique, ahead of starting the course in September.
1. Please watch the following four videos on Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Merce Cunningham and Jose Limon.
As you watch them, please record five facts about the choreography
or technique of these pioneers of contemporary dance. Your notes should be written up in a Word
document, or if you don’t have access to a PC, just write your answers into a
notebook. Either way, please bring your
findings with you at the beginning of the Autumn Term.
2. For your second task, please watch the four additional videos below and write a paragraph about the use of the following dance components – as they appear in each film: Action, Space, Dynamics and Relationships.
Martha Graham/ Diversion of Angels
Doris Humphrey/Water Study/Momentum Dance Co
Merce Cunningham/Pond Way
Please print off this handout (if you can) and take the time to read it. You can then save it as a resource in your new Dance file.
Understanding different training routes
If you want a career in Dance, it’s important to be able to put
yourself in the place of a professional dancer when you’re thinking about which
training routes to choose. The following task has been designed to help you do
TASK 1: Please
work through the numbered points below to compare and contrast different
Firstly, find the links to two prospectuses
offering dance training in the UK. You should try to choose contrasting
schools, for example one contemporary (such as Laban Trinity) and one more
established (such as Italia Conti Musical Theatre).
Now write a paragraph on the two training routes
offered. You should include references and images or quotes.
Think about the types of training they offer and
whether they would suit you personally? Write a paragraph explaining why/why
Now select two professional dancers of your
choice and compare and contrast their training routes.
List three strengths of the training each dancer
Imagine you have an audition for one of the
dance schools you chose. Write a paragraph explaining how you would prepare.
Being able to evaluate your own performance is a really
important discipline to get into in order to help you improve.
TASK 2: Think about a recent dance performance you took part in. Please write a personal reflection on your approach to the development of your creative interpretation. Why did you make the decisions you did about your role as a dancer? What improvements could you have made?