Dance Advice

Examination Tips by Jacqui Johnson, Triple Examiner

So you are about to take your dance examination. Maybe it is classical ballet, contemporary, jazz or possibly tap dance. Whatever the style, one of the most important things to remember is that you should look forward to the big day with confidence, not fear!   

Your teacher will have taught you the relevant syllabus and thoroughly prepared you for what to expect. However, the following points may hopefully serve to reassure you and provide you with helpful guidelines.

Toe the Line
Before the Day!
1) It is essential that you know all the details of your work if you are to feel confident.  If there is anything you are uncertain about, make sure that you check with your teacher well before the date.
2) If you have a solo dance to perform, it is important that you practise your dance on your own. Also take note of the shape and size of the examination studio so that you can place the dance and make your finish in the correct position in the studio.   It is embarrassing if the examiner has to twist around to view your final position back view!
3) It is also important that your body is adequately warmed up before entering the studio.  Ask your teacher to recommend suitable warm up exercises that you can do in the waiting area, but don’t overdo it!

Draw the Line
Prior to the examination look after your health.
1) Avoid participating in any activities which could result in injury or strain – this includes all sporting activities and getting sunburnt!  If your ambition is to become a professional dancer and it is fulfilled you won’t be permitted to indulge in anything which might jeopardise your performance anyway!
2) Ensure that you get plenty of quality rest in the period leading up to the exam and especially the
night before.
3) Always eat sensibly and have a sustaining breakfast on the day of the exam – don’t go without food.
Your body is your instrument and like any other instrument it requires care and maintenance.

Next in Line
In future articles I will be giving tips on GROOMING, ATTITUDE, EXAM ETIQUETTE and other topics to assist in making the examination process a positive and rewarding experience.

Line of Work
Jacqui Johnson F.C.B.A. -C.I.C.B., Cert. IV.  F.I.S.T.D.
A senior examiner of the Cecchetti Ballet method for over thirty years, and a Senior Triple International Examiner and lecturer of classical ballet, modern jazz, and tap dance for twenty years.  Jacqui is also a Registered Teacher with the Education Department in South Australia and has written dance courses for implementation in educational schools.   
Jacqui, a former ballet company principal, television and musical theatre dancer and choreographer, performed extensively in Great Britain and Australia prior to returning to her hometown Adelaide to dance and choreograph for television. For many years she has travelled constantly throughout Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and New Zealand examining teachers and students of all ages as well as conducting lectures and courses. During the past twenty years she has made numerous visits to Taiwan to teach and examine, having introduced teachers to examination syllabi in classical ballet and modern jazz dance.
Jacqui is Co-Principal of the Tenison College of Dance, a comprehensive dance school which she founded with her husband, Kenneth Norman in 1966 in Adelaide, South Australia.

Top photo: Students train at the Australian Ballet School

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