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.

Find out more

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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

    • Dance Practices 1 (60 credits) – Compulsory

      Dance Technique, Dance Performance, Choreography: Compositional design, Participatory Arts (Community dance)

      This module contains core material paramount to the understanding and practice of dance and is the key foundation for progression of all other modules in Year 2 and 3. You will practice and study the fundamental principles involved in dance technique, composition, performance and dance in participatory arts contexts in the UK. You will establish an awareness of the physical creative complexities involved and how these disciplines can be applied in a broader context.

    • Dance Studies 1 (30 credits) - Compulsory

      Anatomy for Dancers, Dance History

      This module will equip you with an understanding of anatomy in relation to the dancing body. The module will also deepen your knowledge of the historical and social influences on the arts. The module will develop your independent research and critical thinking.

    • Dance: Learning in Context (30 credits) - Compulsory

      Arts in London, effective learning skills, seminar presentation, research strategies, written skills

      This module aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills to be an effective learner, with particular relevance to dance and the performing arts. You will be introduced to research, library research/ source location, reading and writing skills through different strategies and modes of learning. The module forms the basis for both BA (Hons)Dance Performance and BA(Hons) Dance Studies programmes and sets dance, as artistic expression, into an artistic and academic context.

  • Year 2

    • Dance Practices 2 (60 credits) - Compulsory

      Dance Technique, Choreography, Dance Analysis. This module aims to extend and develop your level of knowledge and understanding in dance technique, choreography and performance acquired in the Dance Practices 1 module. This module introduces dance analysis by building on knowledge from the Dance Studies 1 module and skills from the Learning in Context module enabling you to identify, contextualise, analyse and interpret key issues relating to professional repertoire in order to enhance your knowledge and appreciation of dance. The module is designed to encourage a balanced and holistic approach to the study of Dance by establishing and reiterating logical connections between practice, composition and theory.

    • Dance Studies 2 (30 credits) - Compulsory

      Critical Studies, Science of Movement.This module aims to deepen the knowledge gained in both components of the Dance Studies 1 module. You will explore how issues of cultural and philosophical relevance can usefully illuminate contemporary dance theory and practice. Science of Movement allows you to develop your understanding of the moving body introducing postural and movement analysis in relation to dance performance. It will prepare you for the Dance Science Research Project, the Independent Research Project and the Choreography Research Project modules in Year 3.

    • Jazz Dance (30 credits) - Optional

      This module aims to further develop practical dance and performance skills in relation to the specific stylistic demands, conventions, and principles within the jazz dance genre. This module works alongside dance technique, performance and choreography, developing the dancer's versatility, through focusing on the application of complementary technique and performance skills specific to diverse jazz techniques and styles.

    • Improvisation (30 Credits) - Optional

      This module will explore the breadth of improvisation as a discipline both as a mode of development in creative dance making and as a principle of performance. Focus will be given to key methodologies such as Contact Improvisation, Action Theatre, and Authentic Movement. In addition the module will highlight the creative possibilities such as task setting and the use of scores towards the development of a choreographic lexicon. This module will serve to support choreography as part of the Dance Practices 2 moduel, release technique, and performance practice.

    • Repertoire (30 credits) - Optional

      This module has been designed to provide, through practical experience, an artistic understanding of selected contemporary dance repertoire to allow you to form cohesive links with theoretical areas covered in dance history, critical studies and composition and the physical and stylistic aspects of dance technique. You will gain experience of learning from and rehearsing under a professional director. You will have the opportunity for developing your discipline with regards to self-directed practice, as this is an essential part of the learning process.

  • Year 3

    • Dance Technique - Performance Pathway (30 credits) - Compulsory

      Dance techniques and technique evaluation. This module will provide, through study and practice, a depth of knowledge of dance techniques. You will acquire increased technical, stylistic and interpretative abilities through further development of the dance techniques encountered in Year 2.

    • Dance Performance - Performance Pathway (30 credits)

      Dance Performance: repertoire/new work, performance evaluation. The module will provide through study and practice a depth of knowledge of choreographic works from the modern/contemporary dance genre. Students will acquire increased technical, stylistic and interpretative abilities through participation in either new or recreated dance works. They will have the opportunity to investigate, develop and apply varying rehearsal techniques. The module draws upon tutors' professional performance, directional and/or choreographic experience.

    • Applied Professional Practice (30 credits) - Compulsory

      Overview of subfields within the dance profession, with optional choice of components. On this module, you will gain an awareness of career paths in dance, especially those outside the routes of choreography and performance. The module will cover a range of professional areas, providing information on opportunities for employment and skills required for navigating a journey through the dance profession in the UK. You will also gain a grasp of funding structures and an overview of the dance ecology that supports dance and the performing arts in the UK. This module allows you to step outside of the safety of university life and make vital links both in research and practice with the wider dance profession. You will then have a choice of one component out of three possible strands:

      • The Teaching Dance Technique component aims to provide experiential understanding of the teaching of contemporary dance technique through study and practice
      • The Work Placement component will provide first-hand experience of a UK dance/arts organisation along with an opportunity to reflect on that experience
      • Dance Criticism aims to develop the journalistic side of theatre practices in giving you the opportunity to foster your written skills
    • Independent Research Project (30 credits)

      The module aims to equip you with the skills, methods and procedures to enable you to research and present a major, individually chosen, designed and managed research project. It will draw upon the research and study skills acquired in previous modules such as library searches, data analysis, academic writing, argumentation, critical thinking, discussion skills, analysis, and scholarly presentation as appropriate for the chosen topic.

    • Dance Science Research Project (30 credits)

      Including Science of Movement lectures. This module aims to equip you with the knowledge, skills, and methods required to research and present an individually chosen, designed and managed dance science related research project. It will extend and develop knowledge gained from anatomy and science of movement components, and build upon the research and study skills acquired in previous modules such as library searches, observational analysis, data collection, critical thinking, discussion skills, and scholarly presentation, as appropriate for the chosen topic.

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
  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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