Dance Studies BA Honours | Middlesex University London
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Dance Studies BA Honours

Learn about the course below
October 2019
EU/International - September 2019
3 years full-time
£9,250 (UK/EU) *
£12,500 (INT) *
Course leader
Dr Astrid Bernkopf

Our BA Dance Studies degree allows you to engage in a comprehensive study of dance, focused around a central core of choreography, performance and critical appreciation. On this degree you will develop performance, creative and critical skills to experience the multifaceted dimensions of dance as an art form. Our programme is distinguished by the flexibility of choice offered in Year 3 with the additional option to focus fully on choreographic processes and exit with the award title BA Honours Dance Studies (Choreography).

Why study BA Dance Studies 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.

We pride ourself in offering a vibrant and inclusive environment, instilling in you 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.
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.

Find out more

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What will you study on the BA Dance Studies?

You will engage with core of Humphrey-based, Cohan method (Graham-based), Cunningham-based and Release-based dance techniques, which are supplemented by ballet. Additional optional techniques are offered in the form of jazz dance, repertoire and improvisation. Middlesex provides a stimulating environment for you to grow as a versatile practitioner, performing and creating work in our state-of-the-art Dance Theatre, the Arts Depot, North London, and other performance venues.

Our programme is distinguished by the exit award options. The programme divides into BA Dance Studies and BA Dance Studies (Choreography) in the final year. On the BA Dance Studies pathway, you will have the option to take either Dance Technique and Performance or Choreography modules, along with an option between two Research Project strands which focus on your strengths.

On the BA Dance Studies (Choreography) programme, you will focus entirely on your creative work by taking the Choreography modules and writing a Choreographic Research Project.

Our programme also encourages students to fully engage with the London art scene and incorporates theoretical studies including dance history, science of movement and critical theory to underpin the practical work. Students are asked to connect practice and theory to become full dance practitioners, choreographers and artists. The diverse range of theory and practical components expose students to the professional field of dance today. You will develop critical, analytical skills and independent thinking to engage with the discourse of the dance profession. With such a solid foundation, many students move on to our postgraduate programmes to further their interest in dance.

Choreography, practice and performance

Choreography plays a fundamental part in years 1 and 2. As well as developing your creativity, choreography assessments provide students with regular performance opportunities. Daily practical classes in contemporary dance will enable you to develop and hone your technical skills and artistic understanding with a view to dance performance. Performance work is an important part of the curriculum; we boast a brand-new, purpose-built dance theatre, the Grove, which we use for our first and second-year dance student shows. Our final, third-year performance takes place in the Arts Depot, a thriving theatre in north London


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. We pride ourselves on combining practical and theoretical approaches to offer a thorough, well-rounded contemporary dance foundation. 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. You will also deepen your knowledge of the historical and social influences on the arts as well as 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 will 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 and 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 students to develop their understanding of the moving body, introducing postural and movement analysis in relation to dance performance. It will prepare students 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 your 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 module, release technique, and performance practice.

    • Repertoire (30 credits) - Optional

      This module will 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 and get the opportunity to develop your discipline with regards to self-directed practice, as this is an essential part of the learning process.

  • Year 3

    • Choreography 1 - Choreography Pathway (30 Credits) - Optional

        Dance on Screen, New Technologies, Live Practice, Research Portfolio This module aims to develop choreographic skills and depth of approach through direct and intense experience with artists in the profession. This will encompass a range of models in regard to presentation including site work, installation formats and dance for screen. The aims are to encourage dialogue with professional choreographers and to deepen understanding of the inter-relationship between dance and other elements. In addition, the purpose is to introduce concepts, practices and theories relating to varied choreographic strands and to widen knowledge and perspectives in current theory and practice of choreography.

        This module is compulsory for those wishing to exit with BA (Hons) Dance Studies (Choreography).

    • Choreography 2 - Choreography Pathway (30 Credits) - Optional

      Collaboration, Final Chorographic Presentation and Evaluation This module will enable you to develop research in collaboration with other disciplines such as music, architecture, fine art or art and design, to facilitate your autonomy in research, invention and planning of potential choreographic projects. You will further develop knowledge and understanding of the range and diversity of contemporary professional choreographic practice. This module aims to deepen choreographic investigation, foster independence in dance making and to encourage dialogue with other artists.

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

      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) - Optional

      Dance Performance: repertoire/new work, performance evaluation This module will provide through study and practice a depth of knowledge of choreographic works from the modern/contemporary dance genre. You will acquire increased technical, stylistic and interpretative abilities through participation in either new or recreated dance works. You 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 students to step outside of the safety of university life and make vital links both in research and practice with the wider dance profession. Students will then have a choice of one component out of three possible strands: a) The Teaching Dance Technique component aims to provide experiential understanding of the teaching of contemporary dance technique through study and practice. b) The Work Placement component will provide first-hand experience of a UK dance/arts organisation along with an opportunity to reflect on that experience: c) Dance Criticism aims to develop the journalistic side of theatre practices in giving students the opportunity to foster their written skills.

    • Independent Research Project (30 credits) - Optional

      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 include 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) - Optional

      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.

    • Choreography Research Project (30 credits) - Compulsory for exit award BA (Hons) Dance Studies (Choreography)

      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 choreography 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.

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. Interviews and auditions
  4. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

How can the BA Dance Studies 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.

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.

  • Jordan Franklin

    Dance Studies BA graduate

    Having had experience in the dance industry prior to coming to Middlesex University, the course was able to further my dance knowledge and skills a great deal. It gave me all the necessary tools to become stronger and more physically able in order to better my dance styles within and outside of contemporary dance. It also improved my professionalism, punctuality and organisation.

    After graduating I performed in Boy Blue Entertainment's production of Blak, Whyte, Gray at the Edinburgh International and Emancipation of Expressionism in the GCSE AQA Curriculum as shown on BBC2’s Darcy Bussell’s New Dance. In addition to my work as a performer and choreographer I have also taught dance in multiple countries and around the UK, something I was able to continue whilst studying.

  • Bethany Holmes

    Dance Studies BA graduate

    Choreographer Bethany Holmes talks about the inspiration behind her stunning final year dance piece, how she came to collaborate with a Music student, and what her time at Middlesex was like.

  • Cherilyn Albert

    Dance Studies BA graduate

    I am very grateful for the creative freedom I had whilst studying at Middlesex University. I was able to test my choreographic ideas and take risks, which has already benefited me since graduating. For example, I have presented a developed version of my 2nd year choreography at Resolution! at The Place. I collaborated with a designer of whom I connected with during my 3rd year collaboration project at Middlesex. I was very happy to be invited back to the Dance department to create a new work with 15 first years and alongside that I have been teaching dance to children across London. I am part of YAAG at Siobhan Davies Dance where I'm an advisor, panellist and a co-curator of their youth events. A lot of my time post graduation has been focusing on solidifying my company Instigate Unknown, doing research and development, workshops and performances. Aspirations for the future are being able to spend more time focusing on my company, applying for funding, hosting events and taking our works on tour.

Other courses

Dance Performance BA Honours

Start: October 2019, EU/International induction: September 2019

Duration: 3 years full-time

Code: W500

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