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Why do examinations?
The answer to this is simple. Taking an examination on a regular basis gives an opportunity to develop your dancing standard, with a fixed date as to when a certain standard should be achieved.

Having an examination date planned in your diary, gives you a set date upon which to aim to ensure that everything for your dancing is correct. The examination will cover ability to dance the routine, dancing in time with music, correct footwork and rise and fall, as well as giving a frank and honest appraisal of your overall style and deportment. 

The best example to use for a medal test or examination is being the equivalent to an MOT on the car. It is an opportunity to have a good check over and make sure everything is where is should be in order to develop to the next level.

The examinations themselves are very “Non-Scary”, and consist of two parts. A pre-test in front of the school Principal to ensure that a dress rehearsal of the main examination is taken place, during which honest and genuine feedback will be given to you.

The second step is the main examination with an external examiner sent to us from the National Association of Teachers of Dancing (NATD). These usually take place on a Sunday and are approximately one month after the pre-test. This gives plenty of time to tidy up any of the points raised on the pre-test.

Examinations start at the simple PSDT1 (Popular Social Dance Test), with the first one being in Cha Cha Cha. The PSDT2 is then Jive and Waltz. Following this, the next examination is Pre Bronze and the finally Bronze level. Advanced dancers can progress right through to and beyond Gold Medals.

Another important factor to remember when considering examinations is that it also gives a date and goal for your dance teacher to ensure your lessons do not just wander on without a set aim.

As previously mentioned, the pre-test which occurs approximately one month prior to the NATD examination, takes place at the Chelmsford Dance Centre. The times for each person to dance either with their partner or with their teacher are displayed on the website which is It is always important to remember that the pre-test is a full-dress rehearsal of the main examination and as such it is important to arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your scheduled dancing time.

When the examiner is ready you will be escorted into the dance studio from reception and it is customary to say Good Morning or Good Afternoon to the examiner. You are then ready to dance your routine. At the end of the routine the examiner will have a quick word with you and talk about any improvements that could be made in anticipation of the main exam. If the examination is successful you will also be handed your invoice for the main exam. It is important to remember that the pre-test is a free service offered by the Chelmsford Dance Centre in order to help you get the highest marks on the day that you can. The invoice handed to you relates to the fee for the NATD and will clearly give a payment date on it. Please also check at this stage that your name is correctly spelt and this is the spelling that will appear on your certificate following your successful examination.

The NATD Exam will run much in the same way as your pre-test, with only exception being that you will greeted by an external examiner, who will not give feedback at the end of the examination. Instead of the feedback the forms will be send to head office for checking and then returned to the studio approximately two weeks after when you will know your result. A 65% competence gives a pass mark, 75% a commended and 85% and above Highly Commended.

Approximately three or four weeks after the forms have been returned to the studio we should be in possession of your award and certificate. It is quite often the case that there is a presentation event where you can come and have your award presented – a bit like the Oscars!

As we have mentioned previously, examinations are a very sensible way to keep your dance standard on track and subsequently enable good value for money to be delivered by the teachers. Generally, it is advised that one ballroom and one Latin American examination is taken every 12 months. This will help to keep your standard improving constantly, but not to the point of creating a stressful environment.

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