Dance Performance BA Honours | Middlesex University London
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Dance Performance BA Honours

Learn about the course below
October 2019
EU/International induction: September 2019
3 years full-time
£9,250 (UK/EU) *
£13,000 (INT) *
Course leader
Anne Donnelly

The BA Dance Performance degree embeds high quality vocational and theoretical training that underpin the creative industries and equip you with the ‘tools’ for an exciting career in dance.

Why study BA Dance Performance at Middlesex University?

Performing Arts at Middlesex has a long established tradition of excellence in training and educating students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and is one of the top universities in the UK for dance, recognised nationally and internationally for its high calibre teaching and research.

Your lecturers have a depth of experiential expertise to share as you engage with your dance technique, performance, choreographic and collaborative skills. In addition, we facilitate your study in areas such as dance science, critical and reflective analysis in order to develop and challenge your theoretical thinking, nurture an enquiring mind, and support your creative artistry. You will gain the skills, experience and networks to launch your career in dance and the creative industries.

We pride ourselves on offering a vibrant and inclusive environment, instilling you with a sense of confidence, passion, and achievement. This, together with the vicinity of London's many theatre and dance venues in this global city, and access to our state-of-the-art facilities, makes for a unique student experience.

Course highlights

  • Our teaching staff are professional artists and acclaimed academics
  • You will attend daily practical classes with live accompaniment
  • You will have frequent performance opportunities during your three years, including collaborative and inter-disciplinary work
  • You will attend industry professional workshops to enhance your learning
  • Our student-led dance society offers the opportunity to pursue your own interests in different dance styles
  • We have close links with the sport and rehabilitation clinic
  • Our campus is located close to central London, one of the cultural capitals of the world.

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What will you study on the BA Dance Performance?

You will intensively engage with the skills of dance practice; encompassing dance technique, dance performance and creative/innovative choreography. You will do this through expert guidance in the core dance techniques of the Graham-based, Humphrey-based, Cunningham-based, and Release-based, supplemented by classes in ballet and body conditioning. A range of optional classes such as jazz dance, repertoire, improvisation, as well as involvement in interdisciplinary opportunities contribute vitally to the development of technique and performance skills.

The theoretical modules are designed to develop your academic analytical skills, nurture enquiring minds alongside the performance and creative components. A range of studies such as anatomy, science of movement, dance history, critical and reflective analysis will help develop your independent thinking providing you with a solid academic foundation if you wish to further your studies by enrolling in one of our postgraduate degrees.


Daily practical classes in contemporary dance will develop your technical skills.


Performance work is an important part of the curriculum – we have a purpose built dance theatre alongside large studio performative spaces. Final year Dance Performance takes place in the Arts Depot, a thriving theatre in North London.


Choreography plays a fundamental part in years 1 and 2. As well as developing your creativity, choreography assessments provide students with regular performance opportunities


Theory classes play a key role in enhancing students’ study and practice by helping them gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the contexts within which dance is embedded.

Although there is more contact time devoted to practical classes than to theory, students are expected to support this with independent study and research. Theory and practice are weighted as equally important when it comes to assessment.


  • Year 1

    • The Emerging Dance Artist (120 credits) – Compulsory

      This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of the diverse range of ideas, practices and skills embedded in the dance field and creative industries. Through participating in practice-based projects, you will explore the inter-relationship between subject areas such as dance techniques, performance, anatomy, choreographic processes, collaboration and independent work, cultural identities and connections of current and past practices.

  • Year 2

    • Theorising Performance and Practices (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module develops key academic frameworks of methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives for analysis and interrogation of dance practices and works. The module will also introduce you to areas of professional practice, alongside developing your understanding of ethical considerations, strategies and skills required for navigating a journey through the profession.

    • Dance Techniques and Performances (30 credits) - Compulsory

      Through practical work you will explore various dance techniques, enhance your technical and artistic abilities and develop your knowledge and understanding of technique and performance. You will be introduced, learn and perform dance works ranging from twentieth century repertoire to current creations.

    • Creativity and Enterprise (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module further develops your knowledge and understanding of collaborative creative processes and practices in dance. You will be introduced to different modes of presentation (screen, site specific and theatre) and engage in collaborative processes to produce a creative outcome. The module also introduces you to different approaches to framing, presenting and disseminating your creative work.

    • Dance Science (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module develops your understanding of the moving body. You will be introduced to common postural changes in dancers, and the effects of this on dance performance. The module will equip you with the skills to recognise the importance of warm up/cool down, supplementary fitness training, and nutrition, for safe dance practice.

  • Year 3

    • Applied Professional Practices (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module make links with the wider dance profession, develops key skills and attributes and engages you in practice-based experiences / work placements. Learning through reflection on your engagement with professional practice, you will gain vital employability skills necessary to effectively plan and pursue a career in the creative arts industry.

    • Directed Performance (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module further develops your understanding of dance repertoire. You will be challenged to apply and expand your technical proficiency, acquire stylistic and interpretive skills through your engagement with rehearsals in a directed context. You will explore the multiple layers inherent in the rehearsal process and performance of dance repertoire.

    • Dance Techniques (Performance) (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module focuses on the development of a sophisticated understanding and physical articulation of the artistic and technical skills embedded in dance technique. Alongside the technical training you are expected to advance your physical fitness.

    • Creative Performance (30 credits) - Compulsory

      Through engaging with a professional choreographer you will develop a sense of personal artistic interpretation and an awareness of ‘self’, enhancing your understanding of the role the dancer plays within the creation and performance of new work. You will have the opportunity to investigate, develop and apply varying rehearsal techniques and perform in a professional theatre context.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning
  3. Assessment and feedback
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  4. Interviews and auditions
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

How can the BA Dance Performance support your career?

A degree in Dance from Middlesex opens up a wide range of careers:

There is such a wide range of performance opportunities available to you once you graduate. Recent graduates have performed with:

  • Akram Khan Company
  • Alter Ego
  • Amici Dance Theatre Company
  • Attik Dance Company
  • Avant Garde
  • Boy Blue Entertainment
  • C-12 Dance Theatre
  • CandoCo Dance Company
  • Eddie Peake
  • Ensemble Dance Company
  • Flawless
  • Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company
  • Loop Dance Company
  • MCDC - Michaela Cisarikova Dance Company
  • Mavin Khoo Dance
  • Melody Squire - Sol Dans Company
  • New Adventures (Matthew Bourne)
  • Olympic 2012 opening and closing ceremonies (as choreographer and dancers)
  • Reside Dance Company
  • Ross McKim
  • Royal Opera House (Covent Garden)
  • Sia and Zayn dance music video
  • Shobana Jeyasingh
  • Uchenna Dance
  • Vocab Dance Company

After graduation, you might wish to enhance your skills with an internship. Our graduates have taken advantage of a range of dance internships at studios and organisations such as Dance Research Studio, Dance Programme Support Graduate Intern at Trinity Laban, Ombetja Yehinga Organisation Namibia, Tanzplattform Rhein-Main Frankfurt, DanceXchange, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.

There are also a number of arts organisations you could forge a career with and previous graduates have been successful at One Dance UK, The Lowry Theatre, Creation Box, MOVE IT, Capezio, East London Dance, DanceXchange, Big Dance Bus, Arts Depot, The Place, Dance UK, Jackson's Lane Theatre, London Studio Centre, Activate Performing Arts Richard Alston Dance Company, Dance4, Blac Canvas, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, National Dance Teachers Association (NDTA), The Royal Ballet School.

Interested in choreography? Our graduates have worked with the following companies GradLab ACE funded project, Young Choreographer South West, Resolutions!, ACE funded dance artist Ieva Kuniskis, Siobhan Davies Dance Young Artists Advisory Group.

You could also be successful in the journalism industry and several of our graduates are working as dance writers or critics for Resolution, Dance UK, Dance Direct Blog, and Cloud Dance Festival.

Distinguished graduates

Dance at Middlesex counts many distinguished names among its graduates:

Adam Benjamin trained in Dance and Fine Art at Middlesex. He is the co-founder of CandoCo Dance Company, one of the world's premier companies for disabled and non-disabled dancers, and the author of the widely-read book Making an Entrance, Theory and practice for disabled and non-disabled dancers.

Mavin Khoo took both his undergraduate dance degree and postgraduate degree in Choreography at Middlesex. Malaysian-born, he performed with many of today's leading choreographers, including Akram Khan and Wayne McGregor. He is also celebrated as one of the leading male solo Bharata Natyam performers, both in India and around the world.

Jenny Sealey did her undergraduate dance degree at Middlesex. She was the Co-Artistic Director of the 2012 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony, and is Artistic Director of Graeae, a major disabled-led theatre company in the UK. She was awarded an MBE in 2009 for services to disability arts.

What support is available?

Our Employability Service can help you to develop your employability skills and get some valuable work experience. We provide workshops, events and one to one support with job hunting, CVs, covering letters, interviews, networking and so on. We also support you in securing part-time work, placements, internships, and volunteering opportunities, and offer an enterprise support service for those looking to start their own business.

Anne Donnelly
Associate Professor in Dance and Director of Programmes, acting Programme Leader Dance Performance

Anne had a long career as a dancer with London Contemporary Dance Theatre, (under the name Anne Went) performing internationally including the Olympic Arts Festivals at both the Los Angeles 1984 and the Seoul Olympics 1988. In September 2014, Anne came out of ‘Performance Retirement’ to dance at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London and was nominated, alongside the cast of the Elders Project, for the Lawrence Olivier Award for the most outstanding achievement in Dance. She has served on international dance panels and is currently a mentor for One Dance UK Dance Teachers Mentoring Programme. Her research coheres around the specific focus on the mastery of Robert Cohan’s method of teaching.

Read more about Anne's work.

Dr Astrid Bernkopf
Senior Lecturer in Dance, Programme Leader Dance Studies

Dr Bernkopf has danced as a professional ballet dancer in Austria, Germany, the Czech and Slovak Republics. She studied pedagogies of ballet (MA with distinction) at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where she also taught ballet. She then commenced her studies at the University of Surrey, Guildford, where she now holds a PhD. Her research focuses on the narrative of the ballet scenario for which she has created a method of narrative analysis and approaches to analyse dance through written source materials.

Adesola Akinleye
Programme Leader (BA Professional Practice)

Adesola is a choreographer and artist-scholar, training initially at The Rambert Academy. She began her career as a dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem, later working with Green Candle Dance Company and Union. She now directs her own company DancingStrong which tours UK and North America. Her choreographic awards include One Dance UK Champion Trailblazer, Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award and ADAD Trailblazer Award. For her work in community dance and education she was awarded Woman of the Year in Community Dance by the Town of Islip, New York. Adesola has published in the field of dance scholarship as well as cultural and social studies. She holds a PhD from Canterbury Christ Church University and MA (Distinction) from Middlesex University.

Helen Kindred
Senior Lecturer Dance (Choreography and Professional Practice)

Helen is a dancer, choreographer and movement practitioner and has toured as a performer, taught within a variety of settings in and beyond formal education and presented work at venues, festivals and conferences across the UK, Europe and USA. As a movement practitioner, Helen specialises in release-based techniques and improvisation. She is currently co-curator and choreographer for the trip project (Turning Research Ideas into Practice) with DancingStrong and is a member of TIN (TransDisciplinary Improvisation Network). Helen has previously served as an executive board member for DanceHE, worked as Artistic Assessor for Arts Council England and is an External Examiner for other HEIs.

  • Jac Coxall

    Dance Studies BA graduate

    One thing I loved about training at Middlesex University was getting the chance to be around such diversity. I loved working with people who had completely different strengths and interests within dance. The technique classes continually pushed me as I moved through my three years of training and helped me to develop such a strong technical base. Dance at Middlesex has so much to offer, so many amazing opportunities, so many incredible tutors and facilities. I took so much from my 3 years of training, things I still refer back to now, 2 years later.

    Since graduating from BA Dance Studies I have gone onto perform with a contemporary and commercial company and started to explore a performance path. I competed in the Britain’s Got Talent live semi finals and also featured in Zayn Malik and SIAs music video ‘Dusk till Dawn’. I have developed a portfolio career working professionally within the fields of choreography, teaching and as a dance artist in London schools and universities. My big dream as my career broadens is to be booked for a world tour with a professional music artist and I’m getting closer to that dream every day! Middlesex University was one of the best decisions I ever made!

  • Joshua Chapman

    Dance Performance BA student

    Joshua explains what it was like working with renowned choreographer Robert Cohan building up to his final year degree performance.

  • Jennifer Vogtle

    Dance Performance BA graduate

    I chose to study at Middlesex because of the amount of practical hours and varied techniques the course offered and because I wanted a real university experience rather than a vocational or conservatoire route. The BA Dance Performance course introduced me to four very different contemporary techniques (Cohan, Release, Cunningham and Humphrey) that have formed a strong and well-rounded platform of movement vocabulary. The programme also made me start to delve into my own creativity more through choreography and improvisation. My three years not only progressed my physical training but also taught me about contemporary dance history, gave me skills to work and support myself as a freelance dancer, and an in-depth anatomy education that has been an invaluable asset across my portfolio career.

    Being in London offered endless opportunities; while I was studying I had the incredible experience of working with Professor Robert Cohan, re-staging his work ‘Forest'. All the tutors are very passionate about their subjects and were always very helpful throughout the three years. They have become professional contacts and friends that I can still reach out to now.

    If you are considering studying dance further this course will help equip you for any kind of career in the dance industry, from performing, choreography, admin and education to name a few! If you put the work in and make the most of the amazing resources available at Middlesex you will grow immensely as a dancer.

    I'm currently dancing with Michaela Cisarikova Dance Co and Black Orchid Ballerinas and doing other work I've been contracted for with Regents University and various photographers. Also since graduating I have toured with Ensemble Dance Co, worked for Eddie Peake, and Yorke Dance Project and am currently getting into more circus related work with my aerial and acrobatic training.

  • Jessica Wilson

    Dance Performance BA graduate

    I began working as the Marketing and Communications Assistant for the Royal Academy of Dance the week following my final degree performance at artsdepot. Since I have also taken on the role of Editorial Assistant for the RAD's flagship publication, the Dance Gazette and the smaller member publication, Focus on Members.

    Since graduating from the Middlesex Dance Performance course in 2012 with a First Class Honours, I have continued to write and review for a variety of external publications, both online and in print, including those such as Critical Dance, A Younger Theatre and 4dancers and Resolution! I have also continued to write and co-ordinate the blog for dance wear retailer Dance Direct, and write for retailer Dancewear Central under a pseudonym. Dance writing has opened up many opportunities for me, including being asked to guest lecture on Dance Writing in the Professional Studies module at Middlesex. In terms of performance, I have worked with Rambert's youth dance company, Quicksilver as well as being a senior dancing member of The Chelmsford Ballet Company since 2012.

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