Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Dance 2019

Standard 93311


Part A: Commentary

The submissions at the top end of the cohort were outstanding. The work of the Top Scholar was exceptional.  

However, some of the choreography presented was not at an appropriate level for Scholarship Dance. In these submissions, the choreography consisted largely of movement that did not bear any relevance to the stated theme of the dance, or the links were superficial or tenuous at best.

Most candidates adhered to the correct times and lengths for their recorded dances and workbooks. Written portfolios in many cases needed further editing to ensure that all information included was necessary and relevant. Thorough and accurate proofreading of the workbook would also help to make ideas clearer and avoid confusion, in some cases.

The section of the workbook that analyses performance was generally well done. Where this was not the case candidates tended to focus on what they performed rather than how they performed.

Specific comments regarding choreography

Choreography that used a strictly narrative structure and tried to follow a “storyline” often did not demonstrate the synthesis, originality and innovation required for Scholarship.

Focusing on a clear idea by introducing it, developing it, and then repeating and reinforcing the idea throughout the work tends to be more successful at demonstrating the depth and abstraction expected for Scholarship. Those who focused on an idea that they knew something about, rather than a global or foreign issue, often produced a better piece of choreography

Successful choreography made judicious use of repetition, development, and variation of key movements and or motifs rather than adding in lots of new movements.

Submissions that emphasised spectacle, such as competition performances, were often not suitable for Scholarship as they tended to emphasise spectacle rather than movement that authentically related to the intention.

Successful dances repeatedly demonstrated the significant influences discussed. The significant influences discussed in relation to unsuccessful dances were often seen in one or very few movements.

Many candidates focused on a main dancer often limiting other choreographic choices. 

Cultural appropriation often complicated dance presentations.

Specific comments about workbooks

Successful workbooks focused upon significant aspects clearly seen in the dance. Where a dance intention was not achieved, the intention was written about at length in the workbook so that the focus upon what was achieved was often lost.

Candidates who were brief, concise and clear in stating their choreographic intention seemed to more successfully realise their intention in their dance work. Two sentences were often sufficient. Successful workbooks focused on effectively explaining choreography decisions rather than what they hoped to make the audience focus on or feel.

Specific comments about critical reflections on performance

Critical reflections upon design features such as lighting and costume were not relevant if the lighting and costume had no impact on how the dance was performed. Those that focused on choreography were not rewarded, nor those that focused upon limited expressive aspects of the performance

Successful reflections often considered aspects such as how the performance emphasised contrasts, gained attention and/or set the mood, built a climax, or used stillness to maintain attention. What movement qualities were embodied at specific times, when and why movement qualities changed, how the context affected the performance, or how breath and focus were used.


Part B: Report on Performance

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • demonstrated high performance across the three areas of the standard (choreography, analysis of choreography and analysis of performance)
  • produced choreography that was unified and/or innovative and clearly communicated its ideas
  • supported the choreography with critical reflection that demonstrated clear understanding of the significant and important artistic decisions that impacted the choreography
  • showed understanding of how to perform technique as well as how to communicate artistically
  • communicated with clarity and perceptive understanding across all components of their submission
  • developed a choreographic concept that was clearly defined, had depth of thinking and was well realised in the choreography
  • communicated a personal understanding of the dance they performed and discussed how decisions made impacted on their performance.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • produced a dance with a sense of unity with most aspects contributing to the main idea
  • provided a clear outline of the choreographic intention and clearly explained the reasons for and effects of technical choices and of choices of movement and structure
  • genuinely reflected in their dance work the choreographic intention of the choices made
  • analysed their performance rather than merely describing the dance they performed
  • made perceptive comments about their performance processes, expression, movement qualities, and techniques they used to communicate the dance to an audience
  • understood key choreographic and dance performance principles
  • selected a smaller idea or image to conceptualise from a larger overarching global theme for their choreography.

Other candidates

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • produced choreography that did not clearly conceptualise or communicate the ideas stated in the choreographic intention or did so in superficial ways 
  • did not use dance elements to communicate ideas at a level expected for Scholarship
  • required further evidence of the ability to clearly define a concept that was then able to be communicated through movement in artistic and original ways
  • presented choreography that lacked unity and originality
  • presented design decisions that lacked coherence e.g. costumes that were not related to the concept or too many irrelevant lighting changes that distracted from the dance
  • did not demonstrate sound understanding of key principles of either choreography or performance in their written critical reflections
  • chose ideas or themes that did not suggest movement and as such were not easy to communicate through movement
  • continually added new movement rather than repeating and developing movement presented at the beginning of the dance
  • 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
  • did not sufficiently address all three parts of the assessment.


Subject page


Previous years' reports
2016 (PDF, 192KB)

2017 (PDF, 46KB)

2018 (PDF, 108KB)

Skip to main page content Accessibility page with list of access keys Home Page Site Map Contact Us