strathspey Archive: Dancing Proficiency Test

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Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 25976 · Ian Brockbank · 11 May 2001 15:44:16 · Top

Hi All,

I was talking recently with some friends about the dancing proficiency
test, and trying to understand what my objections to it were, and how
these could be addressed.

I think the main thing I object to is the "all-or-nothing"-ness: either
you are a good dancer or you aren't. How about having a graded series
of tests, along the lines of the music exams? This would be good for
children's classes - it would give them something to work towards. It
could help for (eg) day schools, so there is a common definition of
dancing levels. It could help for defining class levels (even if the
dancers didn't necessarily have to take the test). It would give
people a route to improve or a target to work towards. It would be
less divisive, because it would be a continuum, rather than a
black/white
divide (good/not good).

Of course, on the down side, it would mean more testing, and hence more
examiners, but (particularly at lower levels) examiners need not be so
experienced/highly trained as the current teacher examinators.

What do you think?

Ian
--
IndigoVision Ltd http://www.indigovision.com/
The Edinburgh Technopole, Bush Loan, Edinburgh, EH26 0PJ
Tel: [+44] (0)131 475 7200 Fax: [+44] (0)131 475 7201
Personal: ian@scottishdance.net http://www.scottishdance.net
Feed the world: http://www.thehungersite.com/

Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 25977 · Freeman/Pavey · 11 May 2001 16:18:33 · Top

Great idea Ian. I have seen a few excellent teachers who have "failed"
and lost their confidence or dropped out of dancing altogether. If they
had entered a system such as you suggest then they probably still be
dancing and sharing their expertise with us.

Susan Freeman,
Maberly, Ontario.

Ian Brockbank wrote:
> How about having a graded series
> of tests, along the lines of the music exams? This would be good for
> children's classes - it would give them something to work towards. It
> could help for (eg) day schools, so there is a common definition of
> dancing levels. It could help for defining class levels (even if the
> dancers didn't necessarily have to take the test). It would give
> people a route to improve or a target to work towards.

Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 25978 · Marilynn Knight · 11 May 2001 16:22:50 · Top

Ian,

I think you are bringing up a solid area to explore. In part, what I fear
and dislike is the haughtiness of attitude in some of the candidates and
those in administration. I think any system built on 'passing on pain' is
unhealthy for everyone.

I also think the way someone's teaching ability is assessed is toooo
superficial, and I honestly question the accuracy.

Someone within this season mentioned periodic re-examination of certificate
holders. While I don't like that one per se, I do think a periodic
'attitude check' might be invaluable. Of course, that could be seen as
another can of worms, until it is defined and agreed to. I only mention
this as I think of a couple of certificated teachers I've met along the way
who are so negative that their students are poisoned about the merits of TAC
& St. Andrews. I honestly am very thankful for both Summer Schools in my
personal set of SCD experiences.

'nuf sed
Marilynn Latta Knight
Columbia, SC
I'd better get back to office work, at least until the next 'strathspey
break'

-----Original Message-----
From: Ian Brockbank [mailto:i.brockbank@indigovision.com]
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2001 9:44 AM
To: Strathspey (E-mail)
Subject: Dancing Proficiency Test

Hi All,

I was talking recently with some friends about the dancing proficiency
test, and trying to understand what my objections to it were, and how
these could be addressed.

I think the main thing I object to is the "all-or-nothing"-ness: either
you are a good dancer or you aren't. How about having a graded series
of tests, along the lines of the music exams? This would be good for
children's classes - it would give them something to work towards. It
could help for (eg) day schools, so there is a common definition of
dancing levels. It could help for defining class levels (even if the
dancers didn't necessarily have to take the test). It would give
people a route to improve or a target to work towards. It would be
less divisive, because it would be a continuum, rather than a
black/white
divide (good/not good).

Of course, on the down side, it would mean more testing, and hence more
examiners, but (particularly at lower levels) examiners need not be so
experienced/highly trained as the current teacher examinators.

What do you think?

Ian
--
IndigoVision Ltd http://www.indigovision.com/
The Edinburgh Technopole, Bush Loan, Edinburgh, EH26 0PJ
Tel: [+44] (0)131 475 7200 Fax: [+44] (0)131 475 7201
Personal: ian@scottishdance.net http://www.scottishdance.net
Feed the world: http://www.thehungersite.com/

Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 25979 · Marilynn Knight · 11 May 2001 16:26:54 · Top

Wouldn't it be wonderful if RSCDS could visit each class around the world at
our regular weekly. Now, don't laugh. We could offer hospitality and
transportation to the next location. Sounds like a jolly vacation break to
me!!!! Maybe over a Three year period or whatever feasible time frame
numbers would require. I'd love for my classes to have that 'real live
link'!!!! And, maybe then communication would improve on ALL Levels!! Not
to mention the dancing....

Marilynn Latta Knight
a slow Friday in the office

-----Original Message-----
From: TayHaven [mailto:tay@rideau.net]
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2001 10:19 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Dancing Proficiency Test

Great idea Ian. I have seen a few excellent teachers who have "failed"
and lost their confidence or dropped out of dancing altogether. If they
had entered a system such as you suggest then they probably still be
dancing and sharing their expertise with us.

Susan Freeman,
Maberly, Ontario.

Ian Brockbank wrote:
> How about having a graded series
> of tests, along the lines of the music exams? This would be good for
> children's classes - it would give them something to work towards. It
> could help for (eg) day schools, so there is a common definition of
> dancing levels. It could help for defining class levels (even if the
> dancers didn't necessarily have to take the test). It would give
> people a route to improve or a target to work towards.

Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 25981 · Priscilla M. Burrage · 11 May 2001 16:31:59 · Top

On Fri, 11 May 2001, Marilynn Knight wrote:

> Wouldn't it be wonderful if RSCDS could visit each class around the world
at
> our regular weekly. Now, don't laugh. We could offer hospitality and
> transportation to the next location. Sounds like a jolly vacation break
to
> me!!!! Maybe over a Three year period or whatever feasible time frame
> numbers would require. I'd love for my classes to have that 'real live
> link'!!!! And, maybe then communication would improve on ALL Levels!!
Not
> to mention the dancing....

Great idea!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Priscilla Burrage Vermont US
(pburrage@zoo.uvm.edu)

Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 25982 · Rudge, Janet · 11 May 2001 16:38:43 · Top

Ian said...
> How about having a graded series
> of tests, along the lines of the music exams? This would be good for
> children's classes - it would give them something to work towards.

The RSCDS already has a series of graded tests for children -
I think there are 4 grades, at the last count. They have been around
for some years (the tests, not the children!) and the system works
well and seems popular, in London at least.

Jan

Beaconsfield, UK
RSCDS London Branch

Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 25983 · Chris & Linda Gaul · 11 May 2001 16:53:07 · Top

Just to put the record straight - the tests Jan mentions are run
by the IDTA. The RSCDS set the syllabus for all grades and
provide the examiners, but IDTA run the examinations.

That may change! Watch this space!

Linda
Pitlochry, Scotland

> The RSCDS already has a series of graded tests for children -
> I think there are 4 grades, at the last count. They have been
around
> for some years (the tests, not the children!) and the system
works
> well and seems popular, in London at least.
>
> Jan
>
> Beaconsfield, UK
> RSCDS London Branch

Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 25984 · Marilynn Knight · 11 May 2001 17:00:12 · Top

What is IDTA?

-----Original Message-----
From: Linda Gaul [mailto:the.gauls@btinternet.com]
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2001 10:53 AM
To: strathspey@strathspey.org
Subject: Re: Dancing Proficiency Test

Just to put the record straight - the tests Jan mentions are run
by the IDTA. The RSCDS set the syllabus for all grades and
provide the examiners, but IDTA run the examinations.

That may change! Watch this space!

Linda
Pitlochry, Scotland

> The RSCDS already has a series of graded tests for children -
> I think there are 4 grades, at the last count. They have been
around
> for some years (the tests, not the children!) and the system
works
> well and seems popular, in London at least.
>
> Jan
>
> Beaconsfield, UK
> RSCDS London Branch

Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 25991 · Jonathan Wilson · 11 May 2001 23:15:09 · Top

One Problem - if you have been to Summer School or been involved with RSCDS
Examiners/Main Instructors, and yes, some have been very good friends, they
all have ideas about what makes a "good dancer".

Is it ability, knowledge of esoteric dances - look at Madge Wildfire for the
prelim - joy of dance and !!!!!! technique.

How many people can remember, or knew Bill Ireland? Excellent dancer,
superb teacher and could control all us in a 64-some!! - but I KNOW his
views were not the same as the rest of RSCDS at the time. I would rather
have his approbation than any certificate anybody could produce.

At the end of the day if you enjoy your dancing, and you help/please/enjoy
dancing with other people THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS.

Jonathan J. Wilson

p.s. I wish Anselm would allow us to use HTML!, trying to emphasise
something is a lot easier!

Ryhall@HandyJon.fsnet.co.uk

Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 25993 · ron.mackey · 12 May 2001 00:13:51 · Top

> Hi All,
>
> I was talking recently with some friends about the dancing proficiency
> test, and trying to understand what my objections to it were, and how
> these could be addressed.

>
> Of course, on the down side, it would mean more testing, and hence more
> examiners, but (particularly at lower levels) examiners need not be so
> experienced/highly trained as the current teacher examinators.
>
> What do you think?
>

Hi, Ian
Don't want to seem disloyal but the ISTD - or is it the
IDTA?-
already do have graded tests and also competitions. At least they
used to. So they're available to anyone in the UK if they want to
enter.
Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,(Purveyor of Pat's Party Pieces)
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 26009 · mlbrown · 11 May 2001 17:13:49 · Top

> Ian Brockbank wrote:
> > How about having a graded series
> > of tests, along the lines of the music exams? This would be good for
> > children's classes - it would give them something to work towards. It
> > could help for (eg) day schools, so there is a common definition of
> > dancing levels. It could help for defining class levels (even if the
> > dancers didn't necessarily have to take the test). It would give
> > people a route to improve or a target to work towards.
>

----- Original Message -----
From: "TayHaven" <tay@rideau.net>
To: <strathspey@strathspey.org>
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2001 3:18 PM
Subject: Re: Dancing Proficiency Test

> Great idea Ian. I have seen a few excellent teachers who have "failed"
> and lost their confidence or dropped out of dancing altogether. If they
> had entered a system such as you suggest then they probably still be
> dancing and sharing their expertise with us.
>
> Susan Freeman,
> Maberly, Ontario.
>

I'm not sure reading the replies to Ian's suggestion that everyone is
talking about the same thing -
Currently there are teacher exams, (Prelim and Full), both of which involve
a dancing test.

Starting this summer at St Andrews there will be a "Dancing" test, and it is
currently envisaged that at some time in the future anyone wanting to take
the Prelim will have to have passed the dancing test first. (Actually the
dancing test looks to require more than the teaching exams, but I might be
wrong)

Both the teaching exams and the dancing test at present only have a pass /
fail result.

Malcolm & Helen Brown
Tir-Nan-Og
York (UK)

Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 26027 · Simon Barbour · 13 May 2001 23:04:03 · Top

I agree with this, I have kept dancing all these decades because of the
social aspect and no competition or grading. I don't think a teacher
needs to be a great/good dancer. It always used to be taught that if
you can't demo the step properly, get someone from the class that can,
and this works very well. If a teacher gets past being able to do the
steps are they supposed to give up teaching????

On 11 May 2001, at 22:15, Jonathan Wilson wrote:

> One Problem - if you have been to Summer School or been involved with
> RSCDS Examiners/Main Instructors, and yes, some have been very good
> friends, they all have ideas about what makes a "good dancer".
>
> Is it ability, knowledge of esoteric dances - look at Madge Wildfire
> for the prelim - joy of dance and !!!!!! technique.
>
> How many people can remember, or knew Bill Ireland? Excellent dancer,
> superb teacher and could control all us in a 64-some!! - but I KNOW
> his views were not the same as the rest of RSCDS at the time. I would
> rather have his approbation than any certificate anybody could
> produce.
>
> At the end of the day if you enjoy your dancing, and you
> help/please/enjoy dancing with other people THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS.
>
> Jonathan J. Wilson
>
> p.s. I wish Anselm would allow us to use HTML!, trying to emphasise
> something is a lot easier!
>
> Ryhall@HandyJon.fsnet.co.uk
>

----------------------
Regards
Simon Barbour, SBarbour@hortresearch.co.nz
Pc Lan Support, Ruakura
Ph. 74795

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Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 26041 · Rudge, Janet · 14 May 2001 15:00:17 · Top

A point of information ....

Marilynn asked what the IDTA is. IDTA stands for the
International Dance Teachers' Association, which, as Linda
pointed out, administers children's SCD exams according to
a syllabus set by the RSCDS and using RSCDS examiners.

The ISTD has also been mentioned - this is the Imperial
Society for Teachers of Dancing, which has its own
syllabuses and examiners for Scottish country and
highland dancing. They have (or used to have, at least)
separate syllabuses for children and adults.

There are a few other dance-teachers' organisations
that offer graded proficiency exams in SCD for children
- in the UK I know of BATD (British Association of Teachers
of Dancing) and UKSTD (UK Society of Teachers of Dancing).
I don't know if any take adult candidates as well.

Most of the exam boards are geared towards children so
it looks like they have plenty of options if they want
to take exams, but there could be possibilities there for
adults who want to have their proficiency tested too.

I wonder if there is any overlap between RSCDS teachers/
examiners and those from other boards, since somebody who
was qualified in both would be able to compare standards
and syllabuses etc.?

I can't remember how this thread started now, so apologies
if this is wandering away from the debate....

Regards,

Jan

Beaconsfield, UK
RSCDS London Branch

Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 26047 · Ian Brockbank · 14 May 2001 18:10:19 · Top

Hi Ron,

I wrote:
> > I was talking recently with some friends about the dancing proficiency
> > test, and trying to understand what my objections to it were, and how
> > these could be addressed.
> >
> > Of course, on the down side, it would mean more testing, and hence more
> > examiners, but (particularly at lower levels) examiners need not be so
> > experienced/highly trained as the current teacher examinators.

Ron replied:
> Don't want to seem disloyal but the ISTD - or is it the IDTA?-
> already do have graded tests and also competitions. At least they
> used to. So they're available to anyone in the UK if they want to
> enter.

So why have the Dancing Proficiency test at all?
If that's the answer for the graded system, the same thing applies to
the absolute system.

Ian
--
IndigoVision Ltd http://www.indigovision.com/
The Edinburgh Technopole, Bush Loan, Edinburgh, EH26 0PJ
Tel: [+44] (0)131 475 7200 Fax: [+44] (0)131 475 7201
Personal: ian@scottishdance.net http://www.scottishdance.net
Feed the world: http://www.thehungersite.com/

Dancing Proficiency Test

Message 26051 · ron.mackey · 15 May 2001 01:43:22 · Top

>
> So why have the Dancing Proficiency test at all?
> If that's the answer for the graded system, the same thing applies to
> the absolute system.
>
> Ian

Ian,
I tend to the same question. I have always striven to dance as
well as I can in the way that I prefer so I do not feel the need of
outside judgement.
In '62 I was examined for my certificate by Jean Milligan who made
encouraging comments and so I have always felt that I was on the
right track and used my own sense of what was good.
One can't help feeling that an 'expert' examining Picasso or Dali or
Moore most likely would have condemned their technique and product.:)
Cheers, Ron :)

< 0 Ron Mackey,(Purveyor of Pat's Party Pieces)
'O> Mottingham,
/#\ London. UK.
l>
Ron.Mackey@btinternet.com

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