The TExES Dance 8 – 12 Exam is a certification examination that is designed to determine whether or not an individual possesses the skills and knowledge necessary to teach dance at the high school level in the Texas public school system. This exam assesses the individual’s knowledge of the elements that make up dance, dance techniques, dance production and performance, dance culture, dance history, dance analysis, and the teaching methods necessary to effectively teach all of these dance-related topics to students. This exam is required in order for an individual to become certified as an entry-level dance teacher at the high school level in the state of Texas. The exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions, 80 of which are scored and 10 that are not scored, that are related to the following areas:
- Basic Concepts, Elements, Skills, and Techniques of Dance (Approximately 33 questions)
- Dance Creation, Production, and Performance (Approximately 14 questions)
- Dance Culture, History, and Analysis (Approximately 14 questions)
- Methods of Dance Instruction and Assessment (Approximately 19 questions)
The exam-taker will have 2 and ½ hours to complete the exam and the exam will be scored on a scale of 100 – 300 with 240 set as the minimum score considered as passing for the exam. The Dance 8 – 12 Exam is only offered in a paper-based format and the registration fee for the exam is $82. However, there may be other exams and fees that are required in addition to this exam in order to become certified as an entry-level high school dance teacher within the state of Texas.
Sample Study Notes
1. Discuss aesthetic perception.
Aesthetics is the area of philosophy that studies the nature and expression of beauty and people’s instinctive reaction to the fine arts. In Kantian philosophy, aesthetics is the part of metaphysics that studies the laws of perception. Aesthetic perception is the experience of a beautiful sensation, especially through sight and sound. Perception is knowledge gained through insight and intuition. Aesthetic perception is the ability to appreciate and understand the nature, beauty, and validity of the fine arts, including music, painting, sculpture, theater, drama, comedy and literature. A person who is especially sensitive to beauty, and consistently exhibits good taste as defined by the prevailing concept of the fine arts, is said to have aesthetic perception. The English philosopher Alfred North Whitehead observed, “Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.” Dialogues, June 10, 1943.
2. Discuss creative expression.
Creativity is the ability to produce a work of art (music, painting, sculpture, comedy, drama, literature) that is original and imaginative. To express something is to convey an idea, an emotion, or an opinion, or to create a direct or indirect representation of an idea, emotion or opinion. The representation can be in words, sounds, pictures, gestures, signs and/or symbols. A person with a taste for creative expression has the burning need to bring forth a unique manifestation of his or her understanding and interpretation of mankind’s primal desires. A soaring music score by Beethoven, a memorable scene by Grandma Moses, a gentle poem by Emily Dickinson, and a moving performance by Sir Laurence Olivier are all examples of individual creative expression by artists of uncompromising vision. It should be noted, however, that every person is capable of creative expression.
3. Discuss the four types of theme used in all fine art.
The creative ideas presented in any type of media (visual, oral, or written) can be summarized in four basic types of theme. Through the ages, every tale ever told, written, or sung has dealt with one of these types of themes. The four types of theme are:
UNIVERSAL THEMES encompass feelings, situations and characters that all people everywhere experience. It doesn’t matter what country, culture or age, every human being understands and relates to these themes.
TIMELY THEMES are feelings, situations and characters that people have experienced throughout recorded history. Inhabitants of medieval times as well as Elizabethan England, and even the ancient Greek and Roman emperors, would relate just the same as the current population does.
BROAD THEMES are supported by specific examples of feelings, situations, and characters that affect cultures, countries, and governments.
SHARED THEMES connect diverse elements into an intricate mosaic that touches people everywhere, in every culture and every age.
4. Discuss the importance of themes in all art forms.
The four themes (universal, timely, broad, and shared) are important in all forms of art. Themes help the artist, musician, writer, sculptor or architect organize ideas and concepts into a coherent whole. They present a perspective beyond the individual and his own cultural experiences, and help him connect with people in other parts of the world who have a different perspective. It encourages understanding of the similarities in the human experience. Themes connect current events to history and enable readers, viewers and listeners to learn from the past. Since art’s function is to communicate, studying earlier works of art along with the history of the era in which they were created helps current society not only to understand past civilizations but to apply lessons learned long ago to contemporary issues.
5. Define dance.
The American Heritage College Dictionary defines dance as moving “rhythmically, usually to music, using prescribed or improvised steps and gestures.” Dance combines movement with music and is probably the oldest of the fine arts, although its exact history is sketchy and incomplete. It is used for recreation, communication, religious and medical purposes. Dance can be as simple as swaying to music, as sophisticated as the ballet, or as complicated as the tango. As cultures evolved and societies emerged, two general types of dance developed: religious and social.
Various religious dances asked the gods to send rain, stop famine, and cure the sick, among other things. These dances had specific movements and gestures that mirrored daily activities, such as planting crops (shown as a back and forth movement), rubbing the stomach to indicate hunger, and bending to show respect.
Social dancing celebrated birth, mourned death and recognized many occasions in between. The social dances we know today evolved from the diversions of European royalty and international society. As one consequence of the Industrial Revolution and various political changes, these dances became popular with common folk.
6. Describe solo dance, partner dance and group dance.
A SOLO DANCE is performed by one person. This type of dancing can be very powerful and emotional for both the dancer and the audience.
A PARTNER DANCE is done by two people, with the specific steps choreographed so the dancers move in sync with each other. Some of these dances are known as the:
Formation Dance: each dancer exhibits his special technique while moving as part of a team. Movements can come from jazz dance, ballet, tango, etc.
Round Dance: usually have ethnic, folk and cultural origins
Square Dance: four couples form a square and follow a specific sequence of movements cued to a beat and directed by a caller
Sequence Dance: predetermined steps are repeated every sixteen bars to a particular beat. Most ballroom dancing falls into this category.
GROUP DANCES are performed by people doing the same predetermined routine at the same time. The group moves as one. Line dancing is one example of this type of dancing.
7. Explain choreography.
Webster’s New Explorer Desk Encyclopedia defines choreography as “the art of creating or arranging dances, especially ballets.” The French word literally means “dance-writing.” A choreographer creates a routine by plotting every step for each dancer and structuring the movements to tell a story, enhance the message, or signal a change in momentum. In primitive societies, the Medicine Man was a master choreographer. He held his tribe spellbound with his routines, whether they were performed to coax the clouds to produce rain, ask the gods for a good crop or call the spirits to heal the sick. The modern choreographer can accomplish the same goal of mesmerizing his audience by using intricate movements and expressive gestures. A well-choreographed routine can convey emotion and activity and be a powerful addition to any production.
8. Define these four of the eight elements of dance: centering, gravity, balance and posture.
CENTERING: It is vital for a dancer to maintain a sense of the center of his own body. It allows him to move freely with grace and style. The dancer must have the ability to move, hold and organize his body parts from his center. Without this focus, he may develop great legs and arms, but he will never move smoothly and make the movements look natural and effortless.
GRAVITY: A dancer must work with the force of gravity rather than against it. He must use it to help him push himself up and bring himself down gracefully.
BALANCE: It is essential a dancer have an awareness of all parts of his body and how they work together. Balance is a tension of support between all body parts whether the individual is moving or standing still. When the dancer finds inner balance, the outer manifestation is more easily achieved.
POSTURE: Also known as alignment, it is an essential element to achieve balance and movement. Frequently, there is a major disconnect between what feels right and what looks right.
9. Define these four of the eight elements of dance: gesture, rhythm, moving in space, and breathing.
GESTURE: This element uses the body to express emotions, feelings and ideas through head, hand, arm and leg movement. Everyone uses body language to communicate. Dancers use gestures to creatively enhance their silent message.
RHYTHM: Everyone has rhythm, but most do not pay attention to it. Dancers need to feel the beat of the music a moment before they hear it, because rhythm and beat form the connecting threads of a particular movement.
MOVING IN SPACE: Dancers must be aware of the space around them in order to move through it and use it to enhance their communication efforts. Dancers should study the movement of cats; these graceful animals move with care and total awareness of the space around them.
BREATHING: This critical element provides the body with oxygen and allows the dancer to control his body and the quality of his movements. If a dancer does not learn proper breath control, his movements will lack fluency and harmony. He will look stiff and mechanical and be unable to move with assurance and grace.
From the study of cave drawings, it is clear that people have always danced. Dance was used to pass down tribal traditions, appease the gods, and entertain people. Folk and ethnic dances helped illustrate important beliefs and preserve significant historical events. The gestures used by medicine men and other shamans during religious rites offered solace and comfort in good times and bad.
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the courts of the European royalty and aristocracy developed elaborate ballroom dances as a diversion from their often mundane responsibilities. None was more popular than the waltz, with its gliding, whirling movements. It came to symbolize freedom of expression as the dancers swirled around the room with unbridled enthusiasm.
World War I introduced Europe and America to dances from South America, such as the tango. Americans learned about African and Caribbean music and movements, which morphed into the swing, jitterbug, twist, boogie and disco. Ireland introduced clogging, which evolved into tap dancing. Modern tap dancers made the steps more intricate and emphasized composition and design.