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Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Dance 2017

Standard 93311


Part A: Commentary

There were some very interesting and imaginative dances choreographed for scholarship in 2017 and some very effective performances. However, some of the choreography presented was not at an excellence standard for NCEA Level 3.  Mostly candidates adhered to the correct times and lengths for their recorded dances and workbooks.    

Many candidates: 

  • used headings and subheadings effectively to organise their material
  • used photographs to illustrate aspects of their workbooks, although the size and quality of these needed improvement in some cases
  • gave time cues to indicate specific moments in the material on the DVD.

Candidates are advised that:

  • introductions to candidates are not needed and should be removed from recordings and workbooks 
  • the introduction needs to be to the workbook, not the candidate
  • all three parts of the scholarship submission have equal mark allocation.


Part B: Report on Performance

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • choreographed a cohesive dance that had an arresting opening moment with movement that was repeated and developed throughout the piece, and also reflected in the ending of the dance  
  • developed a choreographic concept that was clearly defined, which allowed for depth of thinking and was well realised in the choreography
  • produced a dance that was very innovative and original with little reliance on previously learnt dance vocabulary
  • explained in depth the choices made of original stimulus ideas, movements, structure, and use of technical elements
  • communicated a personal understanding of the dance they performed and discussed how decisions made impacted on their performance
  • showed perceptive thinking and comprehensive dance knowledge throughout their workbooks.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • produced a dance with a strong sense of unity with all aspects contributing to the main idea 
  • provided a brief, but clear outline of the choreographic intention and clearly explained the reasons for and effects of movement choices, the choice of dance structure and the technical choices 
  • analysed their performance in depth rather than merely describing the dance they performed   
  • made perceptive comments about their performance processes and the expression, movement qualities and techniques they used to communicate the dance to an audience

Other candidates

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • chose ideas or themes that were not easy to communicate through movement.  For example, identity, and hope are difficult.  A topic that suggests movement would be more appropriate
  • tackled ideas that were too big and too abstract for a 3–4 minute dance
  • explained their choreographic decisions superficially or relied heavily on descriptions of their dance
  • explained what and why they performed the way they did in their performance commentary but not how they communicated the ideas in the dance
  • focused on choreography in the written performance section rather than identifying how they performed.

Standard specific comments

It is important that the assessors can clearly see the dances.  

When filming, consider:

  • videoing from directly in front, not from side angles
  • limiting lighting effects so that the dance can clearly be seen
  • checking that your DVD will play on a DVD player - otherwise it only gets viewed on a small laptop screen
  • avoiding filming a public performance so that the camera can be placed closer to the stage and audience heads are not in the picture 
  • avoiding the use of projection as this can be distracting.

Choreography – Consider the following:

  • competition performances are not usually suitable for scholarship as they tend to emphasize spectacle rather than movement that authentically relates to the intention
  • choreography must be done by one person.  It cannot be a collaboration with another choreographer, although the dancers can contribute to the process
  • one simple idea can be more effective than too many ideas. Choose one small theme or idea and explore it thoroughly
  • focusing on an idea that candidates know something about, rather than a global or foreign issue, often results in a better piece of choreography
  • ensuring that influences discussed have impacted significantly on the work and that they are not just seen in one movement
  • many candidates referred to a main dancer.  A focus on a main dancer often seemed to limit other choreographic choices 
  • entries and exits are important. Use these effectively to contribute to the ideas in the dance
  • the costumes need to be appropriate. For example, a dance about suffragettes, danced in bike shorts may not be an appropriate choice. However, elaborate costuming is also not required
  • be careful with cultural appropriation.


  • please proofread the workbook to avoid confusion
  • statements made need to include an example. For example, comments such as “I would remember specific notes the choreographer said and try to apply these every time.”  Examples of these notes were needed 
  • candidates should not spend too long explaining processes and ideas that were then discarded. Although this is part of the choreographic process it is more important to explain processes and ideas that were chosen, used and developed
  • spend less time on explaining what the audience should focus on or feel. Instead, concentrate on creating effective choreography and explaining your decisions.
  • report on important findings from the research – not on the process of doing it. 


  • the performance section of the workbook still tends to be the weaker section  
  • candidates are advised to focus on how they performed the dance not on the choreography in his section. A focus on the internal standard AS 91593 may assist students to understand how they communicate to an audience through dance
  • many candidates focused on choreography in the performance section rather than focusing on how they danced the choreography
  • facials is not the best term for the expressive aspects of the performance. Think about expressing ideas using the whole body not just the face
  • movements which are sexually suggestive or which objectify the body are not appropriate for school dance or for NZ Scholarship.






Subject page


Previous years' reports
2016 (PDF, 192KB)

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