Postgraduate MA/PgDip

Dance: Performance and Professional Practices

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology




One year

Next enrolment

September 2023


In a nutshell

This MA Dance Performance and Professional Practices programme is professionally focused course, co-designed and co-delivered with our industry partner, Joss Arnott Dance (JAD). In this intensive course, your will focus on contemporary dance and contemporary dance performance at the highest level. As part of MA Post Graduate Dance Company, Emergence, you will work with internationally acclaimed choreographers to produce a programme of new performance works each year.

This course addresses the wider needs of the dance professional and includes modules that focus on producing, teaching workshop design and delivery, and practice as research. You’ll also expand on your skills by undertaking Emergence company roles throughout the year in marketing, social media design, production, and rehearsal directing. As part of the tour, you’ll be involved in both production and workshop delivery, giving you a real-world experience of working in the industry.

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.

International applicants: Please check the international intakes page for the latest information and application dates.

You will:

  • Develop as a performer through opportunities to work with Joss Arnott and Internationally acclaimed 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 long-term 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 with a national tour
  • Create a portfolio of work and experience that can be used in your wider career

options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


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


You are ready for an intensive and rewarding 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

If you’re an emerging or established dancer who wants to add another dimension to your performance technique, as well as gain an understanding of what it’s like to dance professionally, our MA dance course is for you.

Your first trimester will lay the foundations for your time on this master’s programme. Alongside your fellow students and In the first trimester, you will work creatively  with international choreographers to devise new pieces of repertory. You will develop your choreographic and reflective skills as a developing dance artist.

In your second trimester, you will begin to hone your skills as a performer and ensemble member,  as you rehearse and refine the Emergence repertoire ready for touring. As well as continuing to develop your dance technique and performance skills, you’ll look at professional elements of the dance industry, including producing for small to mid-scale touring, and teaching dance in both curriculum-based and community dance settings.

Your final trimester will take you through the performance and professional practices involved in touring.  You may be involved in elements such as workshop delivery, supporting the tour producer, engaging with the technical team, and more. As well as this, you’ll put together your practice as a research dissertation where you’ll be researching an area of your choice, to develop innovative performances and research outputs.

Find out what you’ll be covering in each module in the full course breakdown below.

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. Whilst practically focused, you will also be developing your skills as a reflective artist through engagement in reflective writing and critical analysis.

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 Spring 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 Community Dance setting, including areas such as:

  • Engagement with current issues through dance experience.
  • Inclusive Dance Practice
  • 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:

Producing For Small/Mid-Scale Touring

This online-based module digs into the knowledge, skills and professional context surrounding producing and touring. Taught by professional producers, this module deals with 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.

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 will equip you with a foundation of pedagogic theory and practical knowledge central to work in the dance studio as a classroom.

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 at New Adelphi alongside a wider programme of dance performances and events.

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 your 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 part of this postgraduate dance performance course, your timetable will include a breakdown of your scheduled lessons with timeslots for you to explore your independent research interests.
Your classes will be based at our New Adelphi Building.

When studying on this course, you’ll learn through a mixture of physical and practical sessions. This could be a practical demonstration in a technique class, or a rehearsal with your company.

Your modules will combine practical workshops, lectures, seminars and student-led discussions. The theoretical elements of this course are often related directly to your practical projects to give you the best understanding of the relationship between theory and practice.

When working on independent research projects, you’ll benefit from the support of your tutors.


Through a combination of formal and informal assessments, you’ll gain a better understanding of your personal and professional development.

You’ll 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 your process will also be considered (16%).


All our Dance courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.

Each year - through the Create Student Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.

Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it.


This course is based at our £55 million New Adelphi building, the home of performance and creativity on campus.  

Our range of performance facilities include: 

Dance studios – our industry-standard studios are where you’ll spend much of your time, honing your skills in a professional environment to best prepare you to enter the world of dance. 

New Adelphi Theatre – this 350-seat venue provides opportunity for you to stage performances in front of live audiences. It also regularly hosts of professionals shows and performances. 

Studio theatre - this classic black-box performance space offers a more intimate venue than the New Adelphi Theatre. It features flexible seating and staging, so you can shape the space to meet your creative needs. 

Joss Arnott- Artistic Director Emergence

Founding Joss Arnott Dance in 2010, Joss is an internationally award-winning choreographer who has been continuously supported and commissioned by leading UK dance agencies, venues and funding organisations.

A shortlisted artist for One Dance UK’s People’s Choice Award 2020, Joss is in demand as a choreographer and has been commissioned to create work for professional dance companies including Rambert and for leading dance conservatoires. His artistic vision is fuelled by creating a portfolio of work for a diverse range of audiences which are at the heart of everything he produces, including indoor, outdoor and family orientated productions.

Joss strives for innovation of the highest quality and curating world class collaborations for JAD which became evident in 2015 with the company’s 5th anniversary tour that featured live music from the world’s premier solo percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie.

With a commitment and passion for talent development, Joss has been a Focus Group Artist for Sadler’s Wells National Youth Dance Company, BBC Young Dancer consultant and has worked with and produced multiple works for national Centre for Advanced Training Schemes. He is also a featured artist for AQA’s 2020/21 Performing Arts Qualification.

He received his first international dance award in 2016 for his solo work V for Outstanding Choreographic Musical Interpretation and Dance Technicality from WARSAWZawirowania Dance International.

2018 marked the year of the newly formed partnership between Joss Arnott Dance and the University of Salford with the launch of a new MA Dance Performance and Professional Practices programme that established EMERGENCE, now a leading postgraduate performance company, that tours newly commissioned performance work by internationally acclaimed choreographers annually.

In 2019 he became an Associate Artist at Déda and in the same year Joss Arnott Dance were selected to be part of Surf the Wave, UK Dance Showcase and joined the Without Walls Programme with PULSE!, a dance and live music duet created for the streets set around a 3.5m high percussion wheel designed by Linbury Prize winning artist Eleanor Bull and engineered by Rolls-Royce.

2020 marks Joss Arnott Dance’s 10th anniversary and the company celebrated this key milestone developing the DANCE:CONNECTS – PULSE! 2.0 initiative. With support from Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Funding and commission funds from Pavilion Dance South West, JAD were able to financially support more than 25 independent dance artists and work with hundreds of people of all ages from across the world including Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and the USA through online live workshops, tutorials and accessible pre-recorded Learn at Home videos.

The legacy in this work is through the film documentation and the existing and new global relationships the company developed throughout the duration of the activity.

Photo credit - Josh Hawkins.


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

I have  a proven track record in Artistic Lead and Rehearsal Director roles. Most recently as the Artistic Director of the all-male undergraduate company EdgeFWD. I 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.

 I have been working in Higher Education for 12 years and have developed my teaching knowledge with an MA Education( Distinction) and am an HEA Fellow. My dance teaching draws on my experience as professional dancer and incorporates current industry knowledge gained from  continued personal engagement in professional dance employment, workshops and training. This breadth of experience has given me a broad palate of knowledge and skills to share and explore  with my students.

My 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 my teaching I encourage students to be curious, intuitive and honest in exploration and play.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?


If you study a Master’s in dance performance, you’ll be well-positioned to forge a career as a freelance dance artist, a performer within an established dance company, a dance animateur, a creative educator, or an arts administrator.

Studying on this course will equip you with a wide range of transferrable skills that can be used in a variety of roles and industries. You’ll be able to generate, develop and present your ideas to a professional standard, as well as have strong research and evaluation skills, all of which are highly valued by employers.


Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further academic research path through our doctoral (PhD) programmes on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal.

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 Master’s degree in Dance Performance has links with a number of industry bodies, including Joss Arnott Dance,  The Lowry and , Company Chameleon,

Our annual dance artist-in-residence scheme which has  included companies such as Company Chameleon, Hawk Dance Theatre, Kapow Dance Theatre, as well as independent dance artists. As part of this scheme, our dance students benefit from workshops, apprenticeships, performance and project opportunities, mentoring opportunities. Each academic year, we run a range of Masterclasses to devlop your knowledge of the wider dance ecology and to assit you in developing your personal career trajectory. als. Recently, this has included work with artists such as Kerry Nichols, James Wilton Dance, and Gemma Nixon, among many others.

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


What you need to know

Are you an enthusiastic and committed dancer? Would you like to improve your technical ability and enhance your career prospects? Do you envision yourself dancing as part of a company?

If so, we’d love to hear from you. Our MA in Dance Performance is designed for dancers at all stages in their career. We’re looking applicants who have either been working professionally for a while, or have studied on a related undergraduate course.

You should be dedicated to pursuing a career as a professional dancer, performing in a company model. You’ll need to be prepared to undertake intensive rehearsal and touring, as well as rigorous independent research.#

The application process will also involve a series of two practical auditions and a personal statement (approximately 500 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.

Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

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



International students

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.

We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take our Pre-Sessional English course.

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 2023/24 £10,590per year
Full-time international 2023/24 £14,440per 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. Explore our international scholarships.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2023

September 2024