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Dance Examinations FAQ

⦁    What are exams?
At Freesoles we teach mainly from the International Dance Teachers' Association (IDTA) syllabus, as well as work from other providers such as BBOdance. After a dancer has learned all of the work in their grade to a sufficient standard they will be entered for an exam session. The pupil will enter with a small group of classmates and demonstrate their work to the examiner. After passing an exam the dancer will move up to the next grade.
Exams are always optional. We can enter pupils for full examinations, classwork assessments, medal tests, rosettes and star dances. Each of these come with differing levels of content, ability, and personal preference.

⦁    Why do we do exams?
Examinations give us a standard level for attainment and rubric by which to achieve this. Exams give pupils something positive to work towards and strive for, and take great pride in achieving positive exam results. At a higher level, some examinations are equivalent to GCSE/A level and can help a dancer get into University (even if they’re not studying for a dance degree)!

⦁    How do I know which exam to take?
Dancers may take an exam for each class they do, but not necessarily each year (e.g. dancer may take ballet and acro one year, and tap the next). You can find out which exams your dancer is taking by viewing the exam timetable on Classlist, or speaking to their teacher at the studio. Some classes, such as aerial hoop and ballroom do not follow an exam system.

⦁    Which grades are there?
Baby Boogie - no exams
Rosette ballet/freestyle/theatre craft/acro - accompanied by teacher
Pre-Juvenile Ballet/Tap Group Award - accompanied by teacher
Preparatory/Primary Grades (all disciplines)
Grades 1-5 (all disciplines)
Intermediate (all disciplines)
Advanced 1 & 2 (all disciplines)
Adult Medals (ballet/tap)
Classwork assessments are a 'halfway' exam in which the teacher can accompany the dancers. These can be a great stepping stone for dancers on their way to take the full graded exam.

Adult and child medals are another fun way of rewarding a dancer's hard work and achievements, and there are so many different ones available!

⦁    How do I know if I’m ready for an exam?
Our teachers will make this decision. It usually takes around one year of regular attendance (one to two classes in each chosen discipline per week) to achieve the standard necessary to take an exam. A pupil would never be entered for an exam they were not ready for.

⦁    What do I wear for an exam?
Freesoles uniform is mandatory for all examinations. This is the same uniform you wear for each class. You will not usually need to go out to buy anything new (unless it doesn’t fit etc.). Hair must be immaculate, tied back off the face. No nail polish, make up or jewellery. Appropriate underwear should be worn - we don’t want to see pants sticking out of leotards! Tights/socks/shoes should look clean. You will also wear a number or coloured rosette so the examiner knows who’s who.

⦁    How do I find out about exams?
Check the exam announcements on Classlist, or speak to our teachers at the studio. Timetables and fees are always posted in advance so you have plenty of time for making arrangements and payments. Times cannot be changed once they are set, as we have to provide this information to the IDTA HQ. Fees are due no later than 1st June 2022.

⦁    How much do exams cost?
This varies depending on the grade. Rosettes start at £13 and this increases incrementally with each grade you move up. Exam prices can be found on our Classlist announcement dated 10th April.

⦁    What if I don’t want to take the exam?
All pupils will automatically be entered for their class exam (provided we feel they are ready) so if you do NOT want to take the exam you must tell us as soon as we announce the exam date. If pupils are entered and do not attend we still get charged for their place so it is essential that we know. The pupil will still usually move up with their class after exam day if they do not take the exam.

⦁    What happens on exam day?
For in-person exams you will arrive 30 minutes prior to your allotted exam time - dressed ready to go. Hair should be done before you arrive, with your uniform on underneath your outdoor clothes. You will sign in and be given your exam number to pin onto your uniform. Warm up with your classmates and a teacher will take you to wait outside the examination studio once the previous group has gone in. Take your exam, return to the waiting area to celebrate, give back your number, then you’re free to go! If you have multiple exams in the same day you may be asked to leave and come back - this depends on the gap between exams and whether we have space/sufficient staff for extra dancers to wait around.


⦁  What are video exams?
For 2021 and 2022 we have chosen to take video exams. These are filmed under usual examination conditions during exam time. The videos are sent off to the IDTA examiners and are marked as normal.

⦁    What happens next?
At the next class after your exam, we start working on the next grade and start the process all over again! Your new grade will build on the foundations set previously whilst adding new steps and moving the expected standard up slightly higher. This may feel tricky to start with but that’s why we practice! We usually receive exam results within 2 weeks, and certificates/medals within 6 weeks. This can vary at busy times.

⦁    Any other questions?
If you think of anything else we haven’t covered here, drop us a message and we will be happy to help you.

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