By Adri Garcia
People don’t respect dance as an art form, a sport or a subject.
They are wrong.
They are wrong because first and foremost people just need to be respectful of others and their choices, just because I choose to do dance instead of chemistry it doesn’t make me any lesser than you.
Let us now get into the nitty-gritty of the statement above, but let’s start backward. I am now going to explain to you what A Level Dance entails. 50% is theory and the rest is practical. Theory wise, we have a 2 AND A HALF hour paper (it’s one of the longest A2 exams). In this paper, we need to write 3 essays and a set of short answer questions. We get exactly 37 minutes for each essay if we were to divide the time equally. We need to know 2 set pieces off by heart where we can describe and pick out any number of movements and we have to be able to describe them (only the hardest part because one of the pieces is kung fu and I personally do not master Kung Fu, nor its vocabulary). We need to know the context for these pieces, the choreographer, where they came from, the background in dance facts about what the piece is about etc. We also need to know another 6 works and be able to talk about them in a certain amount of detail, as well as knowing the history of a dance company (60 years worth of detail and different artistic directors and their different choreographies). These essays have the same structure as an English essay, and what I do not understand is that a person doing English told me the other day that dance is easy in comparison to English. Well, I think that is because THEY DON’T TAKE DANCE. And let me just tell you that the practical part is not the easiest either, and you have to put a ridiculous amount of extra hours in order to perfect technique or choreography.
Secondly, how is dance not a sport? Dance IS a sport. You learn how to use all your muscles in a specific way in order to perform a highly physically demanding task that cannot be carried out by anyone and is also quite competitive in terms of getting anywhere in the dance world.
Thirdly, dance is usually known as the ‘lesser’ art form. It doesn’t get much respect, not in the same way as going to the theatre or going to an art gallery. People are imposed by ballet and don’t watch it. People also don’t watch contemporary because apparently, it is ‘weird’. There is also the stigma that dance is only for girls. These are massive misconceptions, but people don’t give dance a chance, so don’t have a true perception of what it is and cannot appreciate it. Dance can be many things, not just one, and that’s the beauty of it.
What pains me the most is that even though Hurtwood is a school that does give importance to the art forms, to music in the music concert, which runs for 5 days, and in the gig of glory, running twice, to musical theatre in the annual musical which is performed 10 times and the musical theatre showcase performed 4 times, as well as theatre in the A1 theatre production (I don’t actually know how long this runs for). Dance, on the other hand, gets 1 performance for the dance show and it is not even live streamed. I don’t think it is fair.