The countdown is on to exam day! Maximise your practice time with our tips!
1. Take notes
Teachers are often repeating the same corrections for students class after class, reflect on the feedback you have received from your teachers and write them down. Did you need to remember to stretch your feet more in your sautes? Make sure you are turning out from the tops of the legs in plies or keep your shoulders down in port de bras? Remember your corrections and go away from class and practice them. Muscle memory requires repetition of the correct movement pattern before something can become habit, keep practicing and it will come! Not sure if you are still getting it correct? Find a mirror, class mate, or a phone that you can video yourself practicing with, so that you can check.
Performance makes up a large section of the marking scheme in dance examinations. Like most aspects of dance, performance – for most – comes with lots of practice. Make sure you are performing in every class the way you would in the exam, this way your teacher can give you suitable feedback on your performance and it will become a habit that will be more natural. Once performance becomes like second nature it is one less thing you will need to focus or be distracted by in your exam.
Know your music inside out and back to front. Try listening to the music with your eyes closed and imagining the movement to the music. Pay special attention to the changes in music and the quality, imagine the movements reflecting the quality of the music (e.g. soft, sharp, energetic). Visualising the movement to the music is a small thing you can fit in to your day, even on days that you are physically very tired, that will really help your confidence in the examination. Try fit it in while you are travelling in the car or even whilst you are brushing your teeth and getting ready in the morning!
4. Take extra lessons
5. Look after yourself
Make sure you don’t burn out right before your exam. Eat a healthy and balanced diet, get lots of rest and try not to stress about the exam. Keep practicing and preparing for your exam, but don’t suddenly and drastically increase the amount of physical activity that you are doing right before your exam as this could cause you to get overtired and also increase your risk injury. Keep up the extra practice, but don’t forget to look after yourself too!
6. Smile and get ready to shine!
Consider your examination as a performance, you are on stage the whole time you are in the exam room and the examiner wants to see you do your best! Be sure to act like you are ‘onstage at all times, remember no chatting, fidgeting and always standing up tall, even when it is not your turn to dance. Keep smiling and keep going, even if you make a small mistake, stand up tall, keep breathing and keep performing. You have worked hard for this so be sure to enjoy the performance and exciting examination experience!