Dance Advice

Examination Tips 3 by Jacqui Johnson, Triple Examiner

Exam Etiquette
In previous issues we have discussed the Preparation and Presentation, two very important aspects to thoroughly cover prior to the examination. Now that the important day has arrived, try to focus on the other aspect, namely the Performance

View the examination as a performance. 
Go in to the examination studio with a positive attitude and with a desire to please. Remember the examiner is not out to fail you!

Top of the Line
On entering the examination room always greet the examiner and remember he or she has a name “Good morning/afternoon Mr/Mrs…” .
Maintain a courteous manner throughout. 
Listen carefully to the examiner’s instructions.  If you are uncertain, respectfully request the examiner to either repeat or clarify the instruction.

Line of Reason

Obviously your aim is to demonstrate your technical work to the best of your ability. However, if you make a small mistake or your execution of a movement such as a pirouette or arabesque  is less than ideal, don’t let it affect the remainder of your performance. Remember it represents only a small part of the examination as a whole.

Line of Direction
Always display a willingness to perform what is asked of you and convey an enthusiasm for the work you are demonstrating. Display a positive and sincere approach throughout.

At the conclusion of the examination, remember to thank the examiner and the accompanist before leaving the examination studio.  On returning to your studio a thank you to your teacher would also be appreciated.

Keep in Line
Additional important etiquette points to remember:
In the dressing room there may be students from a number of different dance schools. Discretion is important. Refrain from discussing the examiners questions or any ‘free work’ given as this could unsettle candidates yet to do an examination. Also it is considered ‘bad form’ to gossip about other schools, teachers or students. Keep your thoughts to yourself until you are safely back in the dressing room of your own dance school.

Next in Line
In the next issue, I will be giving tips on producing your work by studying your theory and practising your technical Exam Syllabus work in a methodical and consistent manner.

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 was recently invited to attend the Cecchetti Ballet Australia Inaugural Conference and Examiners’ Meetings in Melbourne.
Jacqui is also a Registered Teacher with the Education Department in South Australia and has written dance courses for implementation in educational schools.

A former ballet company principal, television and musical theatre dancer and choreographer, Jacqui performed extensively in Great Britain and Australia prior to returning to her hometown Adelaide to dance and choreograph for television. Together with her husband Kenneth Norman, Jacqui established and  co-directed a ballet company “Ballet for All” which presented programmes designed specifically for children during the biennial Adelaide Festival of Arts. The company also subsequently toured the programmes to country centres throughout  South Australia.
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. The College has for many years entered students for grade, major and status examinations in Classical Ballet, Modern & Jazz Dance, Tap Dance and National Character Dance.

Photo © Sean Nel |

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