Objective tests to determine dancing ability

mlbrown

Message 18999 · 24 Oct 1999 17:26:24 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Stewart wrote:

>I don't think that the original request for an objective set of tests
>has ever been answered except for one delightful tongue-in-cheek reply.
>There has been lots of anecdotal information and considerable chat about
>the difficulties that a few dancers cause when they don't know their
>level of ability. However, getting back to the original request - Are
>there any objective tests of dancing ability? My observation would be
>that this is an important subject and one that is a challenge which
>should be faced and overcome by the SCD dancing and teaching community.

There are at least four ways of assessing dancing standards which I can
think of that are pseudo objective (i.e. they claim to be but I don't
believe them!).
1)The one that most of us have access to are the dancing parts of the
teaching exams. Two people with many years experience of dancing and
teaching watch and assess each individuals dancing against certain criteria.
2)Similar, but not available to many, are competitive festivals. The problem
with these is that it is the entire team which is being assessed, so not so
much help for individual dancers.
3)Certain branches, especially those which run childre's classes, have
grading exams for their students. We based ours on Newcastle's system (they
had two grades, so we had three, but who's counting!).
4)Lastly there are the exams set by the I.D.T.A.

I think that we have a real dilemma in trying to assess standards of dancing
in an objective way,even if we have a few broad categories (Beginner,
Intermediate, Advanced, Very Advanced).
If standards are important then we need to asess ourselves against the
standards, and before we know it we are having competitive festivals. If you
look at the standard of country dancing from around the world as seen in the
75th anniversary video, and compare it with the highland dancing on the same
thing you will see the effect of competition. (The Llangollen international
folk festival was originally non-competitive, but they needed to raise the
standards so they changed it!)
But is that what SCD is all about? If you look at the description of how we
should be dancing then it is obviously an athletic activity, and as with all
such you need to be less than 35 to do it properly - (when I see young
dancers getting off the ground so effortlessly I turn a
dark shade of green) - So does that mean that we should all stop SCD once we
reach 40? Sorry, but I'm taking my example from Miss Milligan; to quote
whoever it was, "I'll carry on until I just slip to the bottom of the set!"

Malcolm

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