Postgraduate MA/PgDip

Dance: Performance and Professional Practices

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology




One year

Next enrolment

September 2021


In a nutshell

This course is a professionally focused course, co-designed and co-delivered with industry partner Joss Arnott Dance. You will explore dance performance in a ‘company model’: as a dancer in a small ensemble, you will work with a collection of international choreographers to co-produce a programme of new performance works. The student company will tour nationally under the artistic direction and guidance of Joss Arnott and a wider team of dance professionals.

You will not only focus on contemporary dance performance at the highest level, but also address the wider needs of the dance professional. As such, the course includes modules on teaching/pedagogy and small scale touring, widening your skills and knowledge for your portfolio career. You will be involved in the production and workshop delivery as part of the tour, equipping you with the skills, knowledge and experience to expand your professional opportunities upon graduation.

This prestigious and highly selective programme has industry collaboration at its very heart and mirrors working environments in the creative industries. Join us to expand yourself as a performer, an artist, a collaborator and a well-rounded dance professional in the thriving cultural scene in Salford and Manchester.

You will:
  • Develop as a performer through opportunities to work with Joss Arnott and top international choreographers
  • Enhance your ability as both a professional dancer and dance professional, developing your skills as a creative entrepreneur and enabling you to pursue a sustainable career in dance
  • Be given the opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and performance scene in Salford and Manchester, and expand your creative horizons in a national tour

Find out more by signing up to our upcoming Open Day, or if you have any general questions please contact course enquiries.

You can also find helpful FAQs, learn more about student life at Salford or explore all our Dance courses. Continue reading to understand more about this MA Dance: Performance and Professional Practice course.


options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You are an early career dance professional who is an engaging performer, brave and committed collaborator


You are ready for an intensive and exciting learning experience


You have a strong technical base in contemporary dance, in addition to a willingness to experiment creatively and a hunger to develop as a professional dance artist

Course details

All about the course

You will be supported to expand and refine your approaches as a dance artist in the choreographic process, hone your skills in dance performance and develop the professional experiences central to a sustainable career in dance.

Through the programme, you will:

  • Collaborate with Joss Arnott, other international choreographers and other student company members to develop new dance works
  • Develop technically and creatively in preparation for a national tour
  • Expand your professional skillset in producing, touring, education and community dance pedagogy, dance workshop development and delivery
  • Engage with creative trends and current issues within the field of professional dance and performance
  • Develop your own creative research project, drawing on your experiences within the student company and positioning your future practice in the wider creative field after graduation
Semester one

Dance Repertory Development

In this first semester, you will establish the new student company and work intensively with international choreographers to create new pieces of repertory. This module is wholly practical in nature and is focused solely on the rehearsal and development process.

Approaches To Dance Pedagogy

In this module, you will be introduced to the creative and physical techniques implicit in dance workshop development and delivery. This course explores the methods and practices of teaching dance, but specific 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.
Semester two

Personal And Ensemble Development

This module shifts the company from an intensive creative mode into a deeper period of rehearsal and development. Ballet, Contemporary technique and body conditioning classes support the rehearsal and refinement of the new works, as well as developing a new ensemble work with Joss Arnott. This module supports you to reflect on your specific development as a dancer and collaborator, building on strengths and addressing areas for development: physically, creatively and professionally. The module is delivered throughout the autumn semester and will include the premiere performance of the new programme of work.

Approaches To Dance Pedagogy

In this module, you will be introduced to the creative and physical techniques implicit in dance workshop development and delivery. This course explores the methods and practices of teaching dance, but specific 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.

Students have a choice of a second module option in semester two, choosing from one of the following two modules:

Teaching Strategy And Design In Dance

This practical and theoretical module delves into the concepts and approaches central to dance teaching within a curriculum setting. You will consider the function of curriculum as the ‘spine’ of the learning experience and explore creative and physical approaches to engage you with new skills and knowledge within and through dance. This module i will equip you with a foundation of pedagogic theory and practical knowledge central to work in the dance studio as a classroom.

Producing For Small/Mid-Scale Touring

This classroom-based module digs into the knowledge, skills and professional context surrounding producing and touring. Taught by professional producers, this module deals with aspects such as funding, programming, liaising with venues, programmers and technical teams, marketing and audience development. The content is designed to support skills in self-producing as a part of your portfolio career development.

Semester three

Practice-As-Research Project/Dissertation

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 in dialogue with opportunities emergent in the Collaborative Practices in Dance module, aiming to make the closest links between your final project and professional activity happening in the local, regional and national dance ecology.

Dance Performance Practices

This module is embedded into the performance and professional practices involved in touring. In a six-week block, your learning will occur both on campus in rehearsal and in various national venues during performance. You will also have a professional role in supporting the wider tour, which may include elements of workshop delivery, supporting the tour producer, engaging with the technical team, etc. The module will focus on students’ practical knowledge of dance performance, but in the professional contexts specific to a touring company.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


Written work





  • As the course is highly practical in nature, you will be taught by a mixture of physical and practical methods. This includes practical demonstration in technique classes and rehearsal, with a mixture of verbal and embodied feedback given throughout.
  • Modules are also supported by practical workshops, lectures, seminars and facilitated student discussion/debate. In many areas, theoretical or screened content is related directly to the students’ practical experiences to underpin their holistic development as dancers.
  • You will also be supported by staff supervision in your own independent research projects. In these projects, student-centred approaches consider the individual’s chosen area of enquiry and combines instruction with guidance and feedback to support your 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 (25%), portfolios of creative, reflective and analytical written work (25%), practical/creative presentations (17%), as well as essays (17%). Some ongoing assessment of the student’s process will also be considered (16%).

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

All our Dance courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology.

Our School and University have strong and long-lasting relationships with local and national industry.

Once you graduate with us, you’ll join a thriving alumni community in Greater Manchester and beyond.


You will use and perform in the New Adelphi Theatre, Studio Theatre and specialist dance spaces. This also includes the Digital Performance Lab at the MediaCityUK campus.

Debbie Milner, Programme Leader, MA Dance: Performance and Professional Practices


Debbie has twenty years’ experience of working as a professional dance artist. Debbie enjoyed 6 years touring with Ludus Dance Company where she developed a passion for delivering high quality creative and cultural experiences to young people. Debbie has since made and performed new works with Axial Dance, Gary Clarke, TC Howard, Lisi Perry and Joe Lau.

Debbie has a proven track record in Artistic Lead and Rehearsal Director roles. Most recently as the Artistic Director of the all-male undergraduate company EdgeFWD. Debbie was also artistic lead for the North West Graduate Company- 12 Degrees North, a non-certificated graduate training programme and touring company that promoted the development and retention of emerging dance talent in the North West Dance Sector.

Debbie has been working in Higher Education for 10 years, receiving a Chancellor’s award for Teaching Excellence in 2011. She went onto receive a DDTALL with Distinction in 2013 and an MA Education with Distinction in 2016. Her dance teaching draws her experience as professional dancer and incorporates current industry knowledge gained from her continued personal engagement in professional dance employment, workshops and training. This breadth of experience has given Debbie a broad palate of knowledge and skills which she shares and develops with her students. Her teaching and research considers how we can best prepare and support dance students so that they graduate with the information and confidence necessary to navigate their chosen career path.  In her academic teaching practice, she encourages herself and students to be curious, intuitive and honest in exploration and play. Debbie’s pedagogical philosophy is one that encourages the maintenance of a nurturing teaching environment in which commitment to focused participation is expected and where vulnerability and failure are encouraged as an essential antecedent of the learning process.

Debbie’s main areas of research are viscerally connected to teaching practice and pedagogical values. These include: Dance Employability and Entrepreneurship- The development of the ‘emerging professional’, Fostering self-efficacy in Dance- Enabling a teaching climate fostering vulnerability, risk taking and self-efficacy, Dance Science- Injury prevention, dancer fatigue and the benefits of dance fitness testing.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

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

  • A freelance dance artist
  • A performer with established dance company/companies
  • A dance animateur
  • An arts administrator
  • A creative educator/lecturer

A taste of what you could become

A freelance dance artist

A performer

A dance animateur

An arts administrator

A creative educator/lecturer

And more...

Career Links

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

  • Joss Arnott Dance
  • The Lowry
  • HOME
  • Dance Manchester
  • Ludus Dance

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. We also 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.

As part of the annual tour, your will also be performing at a range of UK venues and the industry professionals at each. In addition to personal networking, this will strengthen your understanding of the ecology of venues for dance performance in the UK.


What you need to know

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

Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

To join this MA you should have a second class honours degree, 2:2 or above.

The application process will also involve a series of two practical auditions and 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.

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

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).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2020/21 £10,590per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £14,400per year
Full-time home 2021/22 £10,980per year
Full-time international 2021/22 £15030per year
Additional costs

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

Scholarships for international students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
We have a range of scholarships available for students applying for courses in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Our Global Gold Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,500 and our Global Silver Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,000 - both are available for students studying in our 2021/22 intakes.

We also offer the Salford International Excellence Scholarship which offers up to £5,000 discount on tuition fees. As this is a prestigious award we have a limited number of these scholarships available.

See the full range of our International Scholarships.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2021