Encore Theatre Dance Syllabus Information

Positive - Inspiring - Empowering


Encore Theatre Dance provides a broad exploration of core genres within Musical Theatre.

This performance syllabus has been created to:

The structure of this syllabus is different to the other genres of the APDA.  The syllabus and examinations are predominantly performance based.  The focus is on achieving conviction of character and confident role playing through acting and dance.  Singing is encouraged but not compulsory.  This syllabus requires candidates to be training (or have trained) in another form of technical dance.  

Encore Theatre Dance is an examination based syllabus, it is compulsory for all registered studios to enter Encore Theatre Dance students for examinations or assessments annually.  

We are committed to providing fast and personal service to all our registered teachers.

The syllabus comprises of 12 levels and a Teacher Training syllabus

Syllabus Components:

Each grade has four or five performance pieces:

  • Golden Age Performance (pre 1960)
  • Post Classic Performance (1960 – 1989)
  • Contemporary Performance (1990 onwards)
  • Student Choreography (Performance Level 4 upwards)
  • Teacher Choreographed Musical Performance (all grades)

There are no technical exercises.

  • 25 marks are allocated to each piece from Broadway Baby to Level 3.  
  • 20 marks are allocated to each piece from Level 4 – level 10
  • Students are awarded a report, certificate and badge (all levels).
  • Marks are allocated for characterisation, musicality, performance, technical placement, vocals/lip synching.
  • Students can enter at any stage of the syllabus and there are no pre-requisite levels.
  • It is compulsory for registered teachers to enter a minimum of 25 students annually for examinations.

Year Plan

Lessons in terms one and two of the school year are focused on preparing students for examinations.

Examinations are held in the second or third term of the school year (June/July/August/September) in Australia and New Zealand.

Examinations are held in June and July in Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand and China.

Lesson Plan

Syllabus work in preparation for examinations is based on 45 – 60 minute lessons per week over two to three terms.

Age Recommendations

  • Broadway Baby (recommended age – 6 years)
  • Level 1 (7 years)
  • Level 2 (8 years)
  • Level 3 (9 years)
  • Level 4 (10/11 years)
  • Level 5 
  • Level 6 
  • Level 7 
  • Level 8
  • Level 9
  • Level 10
  • Solo Seal
  • Teacher Certificate
  • Advanced Teacher Certificate

Any student who has had dance experience or is over 11 years of age should be assessed and placed in a class at the recommendation of the teacher.

Candidates sitting Level 10 onwards must have sat and passed the previous grade as a prerequisite (ie. Level 9).

Dual Roles

In Level 6 and 7 there is one performance piece in these grades that requires candidates to learn both character roles. They may be asked to perform both roles in the examination.  Teachers should refer to teacher training notes for details.


The music for Encore Theatre Dance is set due to the nature of Musical Theatre and the requirement to sing or mime.  

Teachers select music for Student Choreography and the grade Dances.

Studios are required to have their own studio music license for classes.

Student Choreography

Student choreography is incorporated at the higher levels to develop student initiative and creativity. Students choreograph their work individually with assistance from the teacher where necessary.

Time limits are detailed in the teaching notes. The teacher provides the music for student choreography (the same music must be used by all the students in an examination group/grade – ie. no individual music as student choreography is usually seen in pairs).

Solo Seal

Solo Seal is the final examination of the syllabus in which the dancer showcases their training and choreography in a final performance examination.   An audition piece is taught by the examiner at the beginning of the examination (the dancer to wear appropriate dancewear).  Candidates then have three self-chroeographed dances to perform, each with a change of costume.  

Solo Seal candidates are expected to arrange their own choreography, costumes, props (if required), music (choice and edit), which is overseen by the teacher.

As this is the pinnacle performance examination which completes all syllabus training, candidates are permitted to invite an audience to view the performance pieces if they wish.  Filming by the audience is permitted if agreed by the candidate and teacher.

If the Solo Seal candidate wishes to be considered for the Izzie Toman Solo Seal Scholarship, the teacher is required to film the candidate choreography in the examination and submit the footage prior to the 1st October via the APDA website.  Results are announced by 1st February the following year.

The prerequisite for this examination are Levels 9 and 10.