What is Dance?
Dance is a way to express yourself without words. Purely movement of the body can allow you to explore ways we can carry ourselves and interact with others, alongside educating ourselves about different cultures and eras of dance. Not only do students at Accrington Academy keep fit through dance, they learn how to communicate and express our creativity. From Urban B-Boying and Bob Fosse West End jazz to the Independent Contemporary Dance scene taking over the UK, your son/ daughter will be given opportunities in enrichment classes, competition dance classes and qualifications such as BTEC and A Level to develop their technical dance ability, choreography skills and performance skills to become a successful performer in the Performing Arts Industry or just to find ways to express themselves as individuals.
Dance at Accrington Academy allows students a safe environment to explore dance and ways to communicate with many opportunities to perform in front of small or large audiences within the community to club standard competitions across the UK. We pride ourselves on the level of technique and performance that students come to expect from themselves and the level of professionalism that comes from the vocational courses and standard of performances.
Your Child’s Journey in Dance
You can download this document to view a term by term, year by year breakdown for the journey your child will have when they choose Dance as one of their option subjects.
At Key Stage 3 students can participate in dance enrichment classes looking at a variety of different dance styles with the opportunity to perform to the local community. Students who want to excel in the dance have the opportunity to audition for the advanced street and advanced jazz team, alongside the contemporary technique classes on a Thursday morning and of course our successful cheerleading teams who have won school and club regional and national titles for their stunting and tumbling.
There is a lot on offer over Key Stage 3 for students to take part in as well as learning dance through Physical Education lessons.
At Key Stage 4 Dance is a very popular option to take as it is a BTEC Vocational course, which allows students to act and be treated as professional dancers from the minute they walk through the doors to the purpose built, impressive mirrored dance studio. Dancers will get the opportunity to learn techniques and stylistic qualities of a range of styles from Contemporary and Jazz to Urban and Cultural Dances. Students will research around famous dance practitioners to develop and inspire their style alongside their individual choreographic needs.
Students will perform the majority of their assessments in front of a variety of audiences in a range of different venues in order to develop their portfolio and develop into a versatile dancer. Students will learn about the Industry and how to apply and audition for jobs and courses alongside knowing their rights as a professional and what is available to them. Alongside the course students will be offered a place in enrichment and extracurricular teams to perform/ compete and also to go on trips to theatres / festivals to keep up with the current changing and expanding dance industry. This is also a really positive way for students to gain knowledge of how to make it in the Industry.
A lot of students have also seen their confidence and creativity develop and assist them in other subjects.
At Key Stage 5 Dance is in the form of A Level and BTEC Level 3 Performing Arts.
As part of the A Level dancers will learn technical ability, performance skills and choreography skills needed to help them further a career in the industry, whether that be as a performer or a choreographer. Dancers will also learn about how the current dance industry has been influenced looking at the History of Ballet Rambert and in depth analysis of professional works such as ‘Rooster’ by Christopher Bruce, as well as up to date knowledge of the Independent Contemporary Dance Scene, analysing ‘Sutra’ by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.
As part of the BTEC Level 3, again as a vocational course students will be treated as a professional in the performing arts industry. Performers will gain techniques and styles across the range of disciplines from acting and singing to dance to become what the industry knows as the ‘Triple Threat’. This course will make up your full timetable, which means as part of your coursework you will need to research different practitioners and put together performances in different venues that allow you the opportunity to direct/ choreograph a range of different styles and explore your own creativity alongside issues that are currently in the media.
MOVE IT! Dance Festival
This is the largest dance festival in the UK hosting some of the most prestigious dance colleges and professional companies from around the UK alongside providing scouted classes and information about getting into the Industry. Famous dancers that have attended have been: Darcy Bussell, Strictly Come Dancing Stars ‘Kevin and Karen’, Twist and Pulse, Diversity’s Ashley Banjo, Kimberley Wyatt, Akram Khan, and many many more that can be seen at the following website: http://www.moveitdance.co.uk/
ICC, Jamfest and Future Cheer Cheerleading Competitions
Students have competed in the ICC, Jamfest and Future Cheer Compeitions, who host teams such as the Rising Stars and Unity Allstars who compete at the World Championships in Orlando, Florida every year to represent the UK. Accrington Academy have competed in the World Qualifier Jazz and Street divisions placing third in 2015. These are opportunities for students to perform at major venues such as Nottingham Arena and Liverpool Echo Arena in front of 3000+ people.
There are many theatre trips run throughout the year from ‘In the Round’ performances at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester to West End productions in London and Manchester Palace Theatre. These are all opportunities for students to be influenced by a range of styles alongside giving them the enjoyment of a performance that they could get from choosing a career in the performing arts industry.
Christmas and Summer Performing Arts Showcases
Every Christmas and Summer the Dance, Drama, Music, Art, Media and Textiles departments team up to showcase all the fantastic and ‘One Step Beyond’ work students have produced in lesson time and extracurricular time. As part of this students perform in front of audiences of around 200 family and friends to develop their performance skills alongside showcasing the wide talents of the Academy performers.
Performance for Her Royal Highness the Queen in 2012
Students are given many opportunities to get involved in a variety of different projects, one of which was performing in front of the Queen at Burnley Turf Moor for her Diamond Jubilee in which dancers performed ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ being treated as professional dancers and making the school extremely proud with their extremely mature and talented performance.
There are many more opportunities that students have had over the years that can be seen in the gallery and also on our twitter and Instagram page.
Miss R. Kirkwood
Dance Subject Leader
I began studying dance quite late on when I started secondary school and began classes in Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre and Jazz Funk. Throughout my technical training with ‘The Dance Factory’ we completed charity performances and I began to compete. At 18 years old I competed a Jazz Solo at a National Competition gaining First place and being reigned National Champion. From here I joined a Street Dance team and as the 12 dancers (6 male, 6 female) we were known for tricks and personality in our routines and won a national competition with the opportunity to represent the UK at the world championships in America.
I studied at St Martin’s College in Lancaster on a Secondary Physical Education with QTS course becoming a qualified PE Teacher. I continued to compete and began teaching dance across the Blackburn with Darwen area at nights, weekends and over holidays. I ran my own limbering and flexibility classes for competition dancers and cheerleaders and joined a local cheerleading team learning how to stunt and coach. I began teaching at Accrington Academy in September 2009 as a PE and Dance Teacher and started the dance qualification that had been previously ran somewhere else. Over my time at the Academy we have completed many different performances both in and out of the Academy at competitions and in particular in front of Her Majesty the Queen in which I am extremely proud of all the dancers over the years, I look forward to seeing many more dancers take on performances with the Academy and showcase the talents and determination of Accrington students.
BTEC Pass Rate
Results from this course are excellent!
Currently I am studying BTEC Level 2 Performing Arts Dance. As well as this I participate in the Cheerleading Team at the Academy, the street dance team, jazz team and A Level Dance choreography. I have competed with school in BCA, ICC Nationals and Jungle Fever Future Cheer competitions. I have also performed in the Christmas Cabaret, Shine, Footloose, Hyndburn Dance Festival representing the Academy and a flash mob in school. I enjoy dance because I have been performing since I was younger in ballet, tap, gymnastics etc and have always had a passion for it. I chose dance at the Academy because there are lots of opportunities and the facilities are amazing. In the future I would love to be a professional dancer/ dance teacher.Samantha Howarth