I know you thought you were out of school and finally done with tests. Or maybe you’re still in school and finals are right around the corner. Nonetheless, testing is a crucial part of not only your life but dancing as well. Moving on to the next level can be a really exciting time, but for many, the fear of not being ready or good enough can be overwhelming. Did you know that the instructors are tested on their knowledge every step of their career? And yes, they are often fearful too. So what’s the point of the testing process anyway?
One of the reasons Arthur Murray breaks your learning into levels is to give you a clear understanding of what you need to master before moving on. We want to make sure that you really own the information before you pile more on top of it. As in any sport or craft, repetition is a key part to this; it’s called muscle memory. The point is to learn and enjoy the information, not just to move onto a harder level. Imagine moving on to multiplication before mastering basic addition, just so you can feel smarter. It would make multiplication so frustrating and in the long run, it would take you longer.
So to find out if you’ve learned all you need to know before moving on to the next level in your dancing, we test. Let me say, these are not like the serious tests you had in high school or college. We only want to check your knowledge and get your feedback on how to continue your progress. Where students’ fear starts is from not being sure if they are ready. Your teacher only schedules your test when he or she knows you are ready. So please, trust that “test now” recommendation.
There are 2 ways in which we accomplish this:
1. School figure test
2. Freestyle test
The school figure test is designed to test you on your knowledge of a couple of the base figures on your own. There are many ways from which you will benefit here. First (I hate to be obvious), you will understand the steps and their intricacies without a teacher helping you, and then you will know you’ve got it! Second, you will develop a greater sense of balance by having to dance without holding onto someone for support. In turn, you will be lighter on your feet and easier to dance with.
The freestyle portion is where you dance your steps with a partner. This is when you demonstrate the leading/following of the patterns, to the music, with the appropriate style for each dance. While it may not be exactly the same from studio to studio, quite often you will demonstrate this with a different instructor to show your capabilities.
The best part of this whole process is that it is done at your pace and your ability. While our founder, Arthur Murray, developed the structure of this curriculum, there is a lot of flexibility within it. Anyone can learn to dance and anyone can graduate to the next level!
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