Children and students are prepared for
ISTD Ballet, Modern Theatre, Tap and National exams, and RAD Ballet exams, also LAMDA Drama exams.
Exams are totally optional, and there is never any pressure on a child to take an exam at any time. Miss Amy is an Examiner herself and usually spends Sundays and holidays travelling all over the UK examining for the Modern Theatre and Tap Faculties.
Examination Entry Procedure
Teachers let Miss Amy know when they have children ready for exams and then they enter a four week period of extra coaching, where they have further time to work on detail and practise demonstrating one at a time, gain more confidence in performance and polish the group dances and enchaînements up to exam standard. There is always the opportunity for a mock exam which is the best possible preparation, so that children know exactly what is going to happen and what they will be asked to do. Alongside the physical rehearsal and build up of stamina, children also learn the importance of grooming and appearance which is taken into account, so this means the correct uniform and shoes, perfectly created hair styles etc, also the discipline, and the polite and respectful manner of entering the room and curtseying to the examiner, saying Good Morning individually etc. It is always a huge learning experience for children and parents alike, and children enjoy and excel in their exams at Northern Dance Centre.
The first exam that a child can be entered for is Pre-Primary (ISTD) at the minimum age of 5. We enter children for Class Examinations in ballet, so the teacher always goes into the exam room with each group. They demonstrate most exercises in a group, and perform a group dance in each exam to show awareness of each other, work on patterns and directions. Once children are in Grade Four they can also try the RAD ballet classes which start at Intermediate Foundation. We also offer the Discovering Repertoire exams from the RAD, which contain barre and centre work as for a regular exam, but children also study adapted repertoire from well known ballets such as Giselle, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty etc. These offer an insight into professional ballets that children may have seen on stage or TV, and help them understand the world of ballet as a whole and the stories behind all the productions.
Modern Theatre and Tap Exams
Starting with Primary class exam based on imagination and creativity, the teacher goes in with the children for this one and they need to be at least 5 years old. Then there are six Grades and the work progresses as the children gain skills, strength, flexibility, style, technical abiiity, musical awareness and confidence. Students move on to Intermediate, Advanced One and Advanced Two, and these vocational exams demonstrate the highest levels of artistry and performing excellence.
There are two forms as there are National Grades and Vocational levels, also Folk Dance Studies assessments. Young children start off with Folk Dance Studies usually, as the exams offer more freedom in choice of dances, also children enjoy creating projects for these. They can make, bake or decorate anything to do with the chosen countries, so they can make traditional cakes or local dishes, they can sew, knit or crochet some costumes for peg dolls, they could paint or draw the relevant flags or create 3D scenes of dancers and musicians. We have also had children playing traditional folk music on their violins and recorders, and photos of traditional folk customs and festivals that children have visited. We usually enter children for the Vocational National exams from the age of 12 upwards (Intermediate Foundation) and there are no projects required for these unfortunately, but children are also assessed on their background knowledge of the countries studied, so they learn all about the music, language, costumes and folklore and heritage of each country as they go along. As well as this actual exam content, all of these exams help children and students with partner, team and group work, and they develop a sense of camaraderie and responsibility towards their classmates. They can improve their musical awareness and timing, and emerge with particularly in depth knowledge about European folk music and dance.
Teachers from all over the world choose LAMDA Exams for their learners, drawn by the world-class reputation for integrity and excellence, the constant drive for ingenuity and innovation, as well as the tangible effects on their learners. From giving reticent learners the confidence to find their voice, and transforming inexperienced performers into speakers, LAMDA Exams are great fun and tremendously rewarding! There is a huge variety of exams to choose from: Solos, Duets or Groups, Verse and Prose, Acting, Mime, Devising Drama, Shakespeare, Speaking in Public, Reading for Performance, also Musical Theatre exams. Prose choices can often link up with literature studied for GCSE or A levels, and theory studied gives a great foundation for further Performing Arts training and qualifications.