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Performance at Let's Dance 2014Dance has a valuable place within the curriculum as a means of expression. It is a vital part of every students' contemporary life enabling all ages, abilities and cultural backgrounds to create, perform and appreciate their work.


Boys performing in 'Smoke' dance show

Please visit the gallery for more photos from the Summer Dance Show 'Smoke'.


Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.



Seasonal dance shows please see the calendar

Comprehensive schedule of activities and performances

Why study this subject? 

Dance is an excellent form of expression and a chance for students to work collaboratively with their peers. It helps students develop confidence, fitness and creativity. The skills students develop are transferable to many career and further education options including social development, self-awareness, confidence to perform in front of others, value of expression and creativity. Many students continue their dance training in the following areas: A level Dance, BTEC Performing Arts level 3, BA Hons Dance, MA Dance Choreography/Performance, Professional performance in dance companies, dance education, youth work, dance therapy, dance critics, Physiological courses, health and nutrition.  Watch the highlights of the dance department at Varndean School and what we have to offer on our GCSE and BTEC courses

Topics of Study and Assignments 

In Year 7 you learn how different dance stimuli can be used to create dance choreography in particular Secret Agents, Egypt, Gladiators, Super Heroes. Students learn key dance terminology and technical aspects of movement.

In Year 8 you learn how to use props to create movement and choreography for example; hats, masks, The Nutcracker, Bollywood. All students have the opportunity to perform, choreograph and appreciate their own and others’ work.

In GCSE Dance students look at professional dance works to inspire performances and choreography. Students work in small groups and at times as a solo performer. All students will be expected to develop their technical ability in focused technique classes in a range of dance genres. An important part of the GCSE Dance course involves students writing and talking about the dance work they see both professionally and in the studio. This helps prepare their analytical skills essential for the written exam component of the course.

In BTEC Dance students study a wide range of dance genres and learn how to create and perform a range of dance themes. Students will also look at the Performing Arts Industry, in particular the skills needed for specific job roles, how to put on a show and other skills including stage make up.  

The Team

Mrs H MacDonald, Head of Dance, BA HONS Dance and Related Arts, PGCE Dance, AQA - GCSE Dance moderator and examiner. Her professional interests are in boys' dance, contemporary dance, break dance and physical theatre. She is particularly interested in the work of Motionhouse Dance Theatre, Akram Khan, Jasmin Vardimon and DV8.

Miss Louise Thomas is qualified with a PGCE Secondary Dance Education and a BA HONS Degree in Dance and Culture. Her specialisms are in contemporary dance and the fusion of contemporary dance with other styles such as African, Kathak, Ballet and Hip Hop, as well as a strong interest in Musical Theatre and Jazz Dance. She is particularly interested in the work of Akram Khan, Hofesh Shecter, Netherlands Dance Theatre and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

Events and Activities 

Let’s Dance (an annual show at The Dome for Brighton and Hove Schools). 

Chelsea Dance Festival (performance platform - Eastbourne).

Dance for Life (competition performance). 

Extra-curricular activities 


Contemporary & commercial dance clubs (all years), Junior (Years 7 & 8) and Senior Dance Company (Years 9-11). See the calendar for details of extra-curricular activities. 

Boys’ Dance Club - Coalition development and youth dance company (A&T students from across Brighton and Hove audition for a place in these companies).

Students also have the unique opportunity to study for a Dance Leadership Award that they complete in their own time. 


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