The "Syllabus for Graded Examination on Chinese Dance", was edited by Professor Sun Guangyan of the Beijing Dance Academy. It is the first series of syllabus on Chinese Dance for pre-school and elementary school children and youth dancers for the purpose of popularizing Chinese dance art.
The Syllabus is divided into 13 grades as follows:
Grade 1 for ages 4 to 6
Grade 2 for ages 5 to 7
Grade 3 for ages 6 to 8
Grade 4 for ages 7 to 9
Grade 5 for ages 8 to 10
Grade 6 for ages 9 to 11
Grade 7 for ages 10 to 12
Grade 8 for ages 11 to 13
Grade 9 for ages 12 to 14
Grade 10 for ages 13 to 15
Grade 11 for ages 14 to 16
Grade 12 for ages 15 to 16 and
Grade 13 for ages 16 to 18
The contents of the Syllabus include:
1. Chinese Classical Dance - basic training and body rhythm
2. Chinese National and Folk Dances - Han, Tibetan, Mongolian, Uyger, Korean, Tai, Miao and Yi dances
3. Skills on mattress - somersaults and acrobatics
4. Training on dance rhythm awareness
5. Music and song accompaniments
The goals of the Syllabus are to enhance the aesthetic education of pre-school and elementary school children and youth dancers; to promote their understanding and appreciation of songs and dances; to foster a love of Chinese dance art.
The Syllabus aims at meeting the psychological and physiological characteristics of children and youth dancers in the program. Special attention is given to their particular interest. The training is scientific, systematic, comprehensive and stylistically Chinese. It is a popularized syllabus for non-professional dancers, which merges training, entertainment and knowledge of Chinese Dance into an organic whole.
The Syllabus is specially designed for dance teachers and students who will sit for the examination to get qualification certificates. All the students of the Syllabus may sit for the examination after completing the training of each grade. The Examination Board of the Beijing Dance Academy holds examinations, and those who pass will be granted qualification certificates. Trainees may sit for the examination of each grade step by step. The certificate is an official acknowledgment of the level a trainee has reached.
The contents of the examination are as follows:
1. For Dance Teachers:
a) Demonstration of dance movements from the syllabus
b) Teaching methods
c) Organization of teaching & materials
d) Teaching results - over 75% of their trainees must have passed the examination based on the Syllabus
2. For Students:
Perform what has been learned from the Syllabus at the proper standard of performance
With one hour of training a week, it takes a year for the pre-school children in each level to reach the standard for Syllabus examination. With one and one half hours of training each week, it takes a year to qualify for the Syllabus examination in each of Grades One through Grade Eight. The class hours for each Grade can be concentrated or more loosely spaced. Training can therefore be less than a year or several years for each Grade. Only when the trainee comes up to the standard established by the Syllabus can he or she advance to the next Grade by passing the examination for the Grade they have just completed.
The Syllabus is published along with textbooks, videotapes of teaching materials, musical accompaniments and cassettes.
Since it's establishment in Canada in 1994, over 20 teachers have been trained at various levels and over a thousand students have taken their examinations.
Students and teachers in China and abroad who have learned from the Syllabus all agree that it is not only comprehensive and stylistically Chinese in training, but also popular, interesting and self entertaining. The Syllabus has received unanimous praise and great attention from interested experts and parents and each year the number of students increases. Friends in dance circles have said, "It is a great beginning in the history of Chinese dance. It will certainly keep pace with the syllabus for the examinations given by the world class British Royal Ballet". Some said, "It is a pioneering work of arts education with high significance and prosperity. It can be expected that it will have an important effect on the popularization of Chinese dance art among the broad masses of Chinese people in China and overseas. It will bring the richness of Chinese dance to the world and serve to develop Chinese culture on a broader scale".
There is an Editorial Board for the Syllabus, which includes notable teachers of dance and music. Board members are all capable and highly experienced teachers with a strong sense of responsibility at the Beijing Dance Academy. The dance members of the Editorial Board are: Sun Guangyan (Chief Editor), Feng Xiufang, Zhang Wei, Li Xhenxiu, Yao Ping and others. The music members of the Editorial Board are: Xie Junli (Deputy Chief Editor), He Weiqing (Deputy Chief Editor), Zhang He, Zheng Guoan and others. In addition, Professor Li Zhengyi, Professor Tang Mancheng, Professor Ma Lizue and Senior Lecturer Yang Shuming are valuable advisors. Some of these people are experts in Chinese Dance and some are experts on the dance for pre-school and elementary school children.
In 1988, the "Committee of Graded Examination on Chinese Dance" was established by the Beijing Dance Academy. The chief of the Committee is Lu Yishen, President of the Beijing Dance Academy and the deputy chief is Sun Guangyan. Members of the Committee are Feng Xiufang, Zhang Ping, Zhang Wei, Li Xhenxiu and Yao Ping. They are responsible for the organization and management of the examinations. They are also examiners both in China and abroad.
Although the "Syllabus for Graded Examination on Chinese Dance" was published in 1986 and revised since then, it has aroused great attention and warm support in dance circles in China and abroad. Also supporting the Syllabus are those who are keenly interested in the aesthetic education of children and youth. The students enrolled in the Syllabus and the examinees are increasing every year. The influence of the Syllabus increases with each passing day. We sincerely believe that the Syllabus will constitute an active and valuable contribution to raising the artistic quality and awareness of children and youth and to further the development of traditional Chinese culture everywhere.