Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship Dance 2022

Standard 93311

Part A: Commentary

Scholarship Dance submissions demonstrated the importance of critical reflection to analyse the effect and effectiveness of choreographic and performance processes. Candidates who performed well showed a high understanding of how the elements of dance communicate ideas, and were able to explain these clearly in the Choreography report.

Scholarship candidates are expected to have a highly developed knowledge and a deep understanding of the use of the dance elements. Successful candidates negotiated the ability to make movements to communicate ideas, with a sophisticated understanding of purpose and effect.

Submissions below the Scholarship criteria often presented choreography that 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 unclear.

Standard-specific comments:


  • Communication in the choreography was more effective when done with one clear idea, rather than trying to show many ideas.
  • Choreography that attempted to cover a ‘before, during, and after’ concept or heavy timeline, did not often lend itself to opportunities to demonstrate synthesis, clarity, discernment, and innovation.
  • Choreography should make judicious use of features of dance, repetition, development, and variation of key movements and / or motifs.
  • Overt focus on a main dancer often limited other choreographic choices.
  • Choreography that made use of a narrative structure, ‘characters’, and dramatic mime and gestures was unable to demonstrate the synthesis, originality, and innovation required at Scholarship level.
  • Some ideas and concepts are not suitable choices of theme – dark themes (e.g. suicide, murder, drugs) were not always handled in a safe way, or appeared to show superficial understanding of highly complex issues.
  • The use of props did not always make the choreography better; at times the props were relied on to communicate ideas instead of choreographing movement to communicate the idea.
  • There were some innovative music choices this year (e.g. percussion, jazz, classical) that well supported the choreographic intention.
  • Attempting to show two contrasting ideas needs to be handled carefully, as this can be challenging to create unity.

Critical reflection on choreography

  • If an aspect is not evident in the dance work, then it does not need to be written about at length in the workbook – focus on what was achieved, rather than what was not achieved in the final dance work presented for assessment.
  • Candidates must include a concise, clear, and brief explanation of the choreographic intention of the dance; candidates who were able to be clear with their intention had much better success with this concept then being realised in their dance work.
  • Candidates are encouraged to reflect objectively and do not need to explain what they hoped to make the audience focus on or feel when they watch the dance, and instead concentrate on creating effective choreography and explaining the decisions.

Critical reflection on performance

  • Design features such as lighting and costume are not relevant if they had no impact on how the dance was performed.
  • “Facials” is not an appropriate term for the expressive aspects of the performance; within dance, ideas are communicated using the whole body, not just the face.
  • Successful candidates were able to authentically reflect on such aspects as how they emphasised contrasts in the dance; how they built to a climax; what movement qualities they embodied at specific times; when and why they changed movement qualities; how significant contexts affected their performance; how they used focus and / or breadth; significant techniques or processes they were required to use for the performance.

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 a critical reflection that demonstrated clear understanding of successful choreographic processes, as well as the significant and important artistic decisions that impacted the choreography
  • showed understanding of how to perform technique, as well as how to communicate artistically
  • developed a choreographic concept that was well realised in the choreography.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • demonstrated fluency in using the dance elements rather than literal gestures or technical design to communicate their ideas
  • choreographed a dance with a sense of unity, with most aspects contributing to the main idea
  • had a clear choreographic intention and clearly explained the reasons for choreographic choices; these choices were then genuinely seen in the dance work
  • analysed their performance 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
  • showed understanding of key choreographic and dance performance principles, although depth of knowledge may not have been consistent throughout
  • created choreography that focused on a clear idea by introducing it, developing it, and then repeating and reinforcing that idea throughout the work, demonstrating the depth and abstraction expected for Scholarship-level choreography.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • produced choreography that did not clearly communicate the ideas stated in the choreographic intention, or did so in very superficial and / or literal ways
  • did not use dance elements to communicate ideas at a level expected for Scholarship, instead often relying on technical aspects (e.g. props) to communicate the ideas rather than movement
  • 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 were therefore difficult to communicate through movement
  • 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
  • relied heavily on descriptions of their dance, rather than explaining significant decisions in their written analysis
  • focused on choreography in the written performance section, rather than identifying how they performed, i.e. focused on what they performed in this section rather than how they performed.

Subject page


Previous years' reports

2021 (PDF, 139KB)

2020 (PDF, 127KB)

2019 (PDF, 219KB)

2018 (PDF, 108KB)

2017 (PDF, 46KB)

2016 (PDF, 192KB)





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