Most dancers recognise the importance of a good sound knowledge of the basic technique and many started their dancing careers taking medal exams!
If you just want to become a social dancer then you don’t need to take medal exams, however, if you would like to improve your technique and track your progress then we highly recommend you taking your medal exams. They are divided by ability levels Social Dance Test, Pre-Bronze, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Gold Star and Awards. You will be examined by an external ISTD qualified examiner at one of the exam sessions organised by the ISTD in London. We will advice you on possible dates and arrange the registration process.
The examiner looks for different qualities depends on the level. At the social dance test level the main aim is to understand the different rhythms and be able to dance in time to the music. From the pre-bronze level upwards, the examiner will be looking at different aspects of the technique. Usually we work our way up from the floor. Footwork is one of the main aspects the dancers need to focus on and then leg and hip action, posture, head placement, arms, rhythm and musicality, etc. The higher the level the greater importance is for the dancer to show perfect footwork as each mistake in this aspect will be greatly taken in consideration on their final score.
After you’ve danced in your exam, your teacher will receive within a few weeks a report from the examiner with your individual marks in each dance as well as an overall mark for the whole test. The individual marks go from 65 (Pass) to 100 (Honours). In addition the examination sheet will also have some comments generally with suggestions on what to improve in each dance. These will be valuable for you to understand what you need to work on for your next level.
You will also be given a diploma with your name, grade and overall mark achieved in your exam, as well as a medal or trophy for you to keep.
Each individual progresses differently so it’s difficult to say how long it takes to prepare for a medal exam. It will depend on many factors such as the grade entered, your ability, how many lessons you will have and above all, how much practice will you put into your dancing.