‘What is a Medal Exam?’
You’ve started in a beginner dance class and next thing your teacher says the words: ‘medal exam’. And all you can think is: ‘What is a medal exam?’.
Good news, I’m here to explain.
I’m not exactly sure why it is called a medal exam… probably because you receive a medal on completion.
But even we use the word ‘exam’ there is no need to worry. Written tests or late nights spent studying are not involved. Phew.
Medal exams are specifically designed for beginners and it does’t matter how old you are, medal exams are for all ages.
What is a Medal Exam..?
A ballroom dancing medal system is kind of like the belt system used in Karate, except you don’t get a coloured belt at the end – you get a medal. We also use a colour system to distinguish levels of achievement. But of course it’s a little more glamorous so we use Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each medal will consist of various dances within each category and a routine that is suitable for demonstrating skill and competency for that level.
What does it entail?
To achieve the medal, you perform a practical exam with your teacher – they are not judged just there as your partner. Every studio is different, but usually there are 3 or 4 dances per medal. Or you can do a one dance certificate and then once you’ve completed all the dances within that specific category you will receive the medal. The examiner (someone who is impartial and usually from another studio) will give you feedback and encouraging comments in a written report. Then a score out of 100 is given for each dance and then an average calculated for the total number of dances completed. Each medal is performed at a ‘Medal Day’ with a number of other students who are also doing their medal exam.
What is a Medal Day?
A ‘Medal Day’ is organised by your studio and is an in-house event usually held at the studio. Sometimes it can be at a studio party but this is often for a high level medal exam. There is only one medalist performing at a time and spectators are welcome to come along and support. Having an audience is great for getting the best out of your performance skills and often makes the medallist work harder.
*Take note that it is etiquette for all spectators to remain seated during a medal exam.
What do I actually get out of this?
Along with working towards a goal you’ll also gain a sense of achievement once you have completed the medal. You will be awarded the medal and you can carry it around with you the rest of the week to show it off to everyone you know! The week after the medal it’s a good idea to take the medal report to your class or private lesson. Your teacher will help you to understand the feedback and reiterate the areas where you need to improve.
Medals are a great way to learn step patterns and apply technique to your dancing because there is a goal to reach for. Both private lessons and medal classes are a good idea, as you will be both well practised and have goals set by your teacher that are specific to your dancing.
The most important thing to remember is that even though you might find the idea of doing a medal exam terrifying the whole point is to gain some feedback and excel your learning. Over 3 styles and 4 different levels there is a lot to achieve at a consistent rate. Which ensure’s you are always working towards a goal and developing your dancing.
FIT2MOVE’s next Medal Day will be Saturday 1st July – Speak to your teacher about Medal Class availability and how to get started!