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Dance: Creative Dance Education


School - School of Arts & Media

Subject area - Performing Arts

Start Date(s): September


One year full-time 

Two years part-time

Fees 2018-19:

2019-20 fees will be displayed shortly.

Full-time - £7,560

Part-time - £1,260 per 30 credit module, £3,690 for PGCE part time top-up pathway

In Brief:

  • A creative university with leading industry partnerships, including  relationships with Arts Council England in talent development, OneDanceUK, and many regional youth dance companies
  • Supports students’ development as both dance teachers and creative artists, enabling them to pursue a sustainable career in their field
  • A part-time ‘top-up route’ for applicants holding a PGCE Dance and wanting to pursue an MA Dance
  • Part-time study option
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

The MA Dance: Creative Dance Education explores the creative and professional skills needed for dance teachers, educators and youth dance leaders.  The design of the programme is built around the shape of a PGCE Dance: theoretical modules in dance pedagogy and two long teaching placements. It explores the wider educational needs and remits for dance teachers beyond secondary schools: further education colleges, youth dance groups, dance schools and a range of community dance settings.

This programme supports emerging dance educators in a unique way: identifying and supporting the artistry inherent in dance teaching. The programme highlights the role of choreography in teaching young people and explores the creative aspects of a dance educator, exploring choreographic skills specific to making dance works with and for young people.

This programme also holds a ‘top-up’ route for PGCE Dance holders to pursue the MA on one-year, part-time course. For dance educators at any stage in their career, this course will support you in developing your creative skills and deepening your abilities to support your students in and through dance.

Course Details

MA Dance: Creative Dance Education supports you to expand and refine your approaches as a dancer educator working in a wide range of educational situations.

Through the programme, you will:

  • Engage with key theories, concepts and practices central to dance teaching and education
  • Engage with creative trends and current issues within dance teaching, such as talent development, core UK dance curriculums and strategies for inclusive dance teaching
  • Undertake two  teaching placements, supporting dance education delivery in both curricular and extra-curricular/non-curricular settings
  • Develop your own creative research project, drawing on your experiences in teaching and choreography and testing your future creative practices your wider work as a dance educator

Semester 1                                

This module interrogates key concepts, theories and practices inherent in contemporary choreographic practice. It integrates a mixture of practical workshops and seminars and is delivered in two, 4-week blocks.  The practical workshops will introduce a range of approaches to dance-making.        The        seminar        series will include both screening and discussions of professional practitioners and their work and engage with basic concepts in scenography, such as lighting and costume design, and production elements.                        
In this module, you will be introduced to the creative and physical techniques implicit in dance workshop development and delivery. The course will be delivered intensively in a two-week block. This course explores the methods and practices of teaching dance, but specifically to a workshop setting,        including        areas        such as:                                                        
  • Talent development for young dancers                                                                                
  • Engagement with current issues through dance experience                                                                                
  • Workshop design                                                                                
  • Educational aspects of dance performance and touring                                                                                
This practical and theoretical module delves into the concepts and approaches central to dance teaching within a curriculum setting. Module content will consider the function of curriculum as the ‘spine’ of the learning experience and explore creative and physical approaches to engage students        with        new skills and knowledge within and through dance. This module is taught in an intensive, two-week block and will equip you with a foundation of pedagogic theory and practical knowledge central to work in the dance studio as a classroom.            

Semester 2                                

This module builds on your creative practices established in the first semester, focusing more on the dance studio as a laboratory space:  testing conventions, trying new approaches, challenging and re-thinking your own modes of dance making. Weekly practical workshops will be accompanied        by        a        seminar series (shared with the MA Contemporary Performance Practice programme) addressing some broad strategies in creating performance, including:                                
  • Practice as Research approaches                                                                                
  • Research and development                                      
  • Audiences and strategies for engagement                                                                                
  • The performance landscape, including venues and arts organisations                                                                                
  • Networks and critical friends                                                                                
  • Documentation and dissemination                                        
This module embeds the student in a 12-14 week placement within a dance teaching setting.  Working alongside established dance teachers and/or workshop leaders, you will develop knowledge, skills and experience in teaching dance.  The Dance Teaching Placement works in conjuction        with        the Industry Placement module, ensuring that students have a balance of placements in both curriculum based (i.e. schools, colleges) and non-curriculum based settings. You will be supported by a staff supervisor who will support you in connecting the placement experience with your own development        as        a creative dance educator.            

Semester 3                                

This module embeds the student in a second 12-14 week placement within a dance teaching setting.  Having completed the Dance Teaching Placement, this module will complement that experience, ensuring that you have held placements in both curriculum based (i.e. schools, colleges) and non-curriculum        based        settings.  Knowledge, skills and experiences developed in the first placement will be re-interrogated in this differentiated setting.  Your staff supervisor will continue to support you in connecting the placement experiences to the areas for creative research proposed for the        Practice-as-Research        Project/ Dissertation module.            
In this final project, you will be asked to propose an area of exploration, arising from your experiences in the previous modules and focused on future work within profession. Upon submitting a proposal, you will be assigned a supervisor to support you on this journey of enquiry. Either individually        or        in        collaboration        with        others,        the results of these investigations will be presented at New Adelphi alongside a wider programme of dance performances and events.            


Top-up route

For students pursuing the one-year ‘top-up’ route, your programme of study would include:

TRIMESTER 1  (September-January): CHOREOGRAPHIC PRACTICES (30 credits)



For ‘top-up’ students on the MA Dance: Creative Dance Education course, the Industry placement would act more as a case study or test-bed for ideas you aim to develop in the Practice-as-Research Project/ Dissertation module.  With support of your supervisor, this placement or work-based  learning module would allow you to test and develop your ideas with students prior to your full independent research project.

Entry Requirements

Applicants to this programme must have a good degree in a dance-related subject.

The application process will also involve a practical audition and record of a piece of choreography (live or pre-recorded).  In a personal statement (approximately 400 words), students will be asked to write about the ways that this specific MA programme will help them advance from their current work within dance towards specific career aspirations.  Both skype and digitally transferred materials can be considered in support of the application’s practical elements.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5 (with no less than 5.5 in any band) as proof of this.

Suitable For

This course is for emerging and established dance educators needing the time and support to deepen their creative work and advance their careers towards a new aspiration.  As such, we are seeking graduates from dance-related undergraduate programmes at any stage in their career as dance teachers or youth dance leaders.

This programme will require students to challenge, explore, expand and potentially re-think their practices in creative dance education.  As such, students will need to be prepared for intensive studio-based creative work, as well as rigorous, independent and creative research.

Fees 2019-20

Fees for entry in 2019 will be displayed shortly.

Fees 2018-19

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,260 per 30 credit module, £3,690 for PGCE part time top-up pathway
Full-time International£13,860

Additional Costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships and Bursaries

For more information please see our funding section


  • As the course is highly practical in nature, students will be taught in a mixture of physical and practical methods.  This includes practical demonstration in technique classes and workshops, with a mixture of verbal and embodied feedback given throughout.
  • Modules are also supported by practical workshops, lectures, seminars and facilitated student discussion. In many areas, theoretical or screened content is related directly to the students’ practical experiences to underpin their holistic development as dance educators.
  • Students will also be supported by staff supervision in their dance teaching/industry placements and independent research projects. In these final projects, student-centred approaches consider the individual’s chosen area of enquiry and combines instruction with guidance and feedback to support their personal development and exploration.


  • Assessment on this course is done through a combination of formative and summative assessment, supporting and promoting the slow and ongoing nature of your personal development.  There will also be formal means to present the outcome of your learning through writing, practical presentations and performances
  • You will be assessed through: performances, portfolios of creative, reflective and analytical written work, practical/creative and oral presentations, as well as essays.

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Sarie Mairs Slee-  Programme Leader, MA Dance Performance and Professional Practices

Sarie is an artist/academic who has been working in the messy hinterlands between dance and theatre for the past 15 years. Originally from the US, Sarie emigrated to the UK from Washington DC in 2003, leaving her work with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange for postgraduate study at Laban.  Her work in physical performance led her into Grotowski’s tradition of theatre laboratories and, from 2010-2013, she worked with Studio Matejka at the Grotowski Institute (PL) as lead academic and rehearsal director. Her current practice takes ‘laboratory frameworks’ into interdisciplinary collaborations.  Since 2013, she has been working with poet Scott Thurston in the exploration of poetic language, movement and the creative possibilities of writing as a physical act. Her collaboration with composer Alan Williams has spanned from work with opera singers to percussionists, including an ongoing collaboration with Evaristo Aguilar in Tampico, Mexico.

Sarie’s research and practice also delves into the intersection between artistic career development and creative entrepreneurship. Through collaborative work with Arts Council England, the Lowry, Castlefield Gallery, Salford City Council, Dance Manchester and a range of other regional arts organisations, we explore how artists can feed into the development of their cities and communities and develop sustainable and interconnected careers.


Career Prospects

Graduates will be able to work in a range of environments within the cultural sector. This may include career opportunities as:

  • A dance teacher
  • A creative educator/lecturer
  • A freelance dance artist
  • A dance animateur or youth dance leader
  • An arts administrator

A PhD student on a practice-based programme

Links with Industry

This programme has links with a number of industry bodies, including:

  • OneDanceUK
  • The Lowry’s Youth Development Team and Commotions Youth Dance Company
  • Dance Manchester
  • Ludus Dance and LYDC

In addition, we have an annual dance artist-in-residence scheme which has engaged with companies such as Company Chameleon, Hawk Dance Theatre, Kapow Dance Theatre, along with many independent dance artists.  These schemes bring workshops, apprenticeships, performance and project opportunities, mentoring opportunities to our dance students.  In addition, we hold two intensive masterclass weeks each academic year, hosting a range of national and international dance artists to work with our under- and postgraduate dance students, recently including work with choreographers Gary Clarke and Gemma Nixon, among many others.

Further Study

Graduates of this programme would be well-positioned to pursue practice-based MPhil/PhDs, which would build on and further develop the work established within this MA.


New Adelphi Theatre, Studio Theatre and specialist dance spaces

Digital Performance Lab at the MediaCityUK campus

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