Dance at the University of Surrey has a great variety of modules compared to other dance degrees available. I was drawn to the mix of dance techniques and diverse theory modules, which allowed me to expand my knowledge and then tailor my studies to particular interests.
On our unique Dance, Culture and Choreography degree programme you experience and interrogate dance as an embodied practice that is embedded in our contemporary globalised culture. You encounter a broad range of contemporary dance practices, including somatic and body work, release-based techniques and fusion styles of South Asian and African dance. In a combination of practice and theory you study the histories, influences and contexts of dance in Western and non-Western cultures, past and present.
Our rich and varied programme gives you the vital knowledge and competence for a professional career as a dance teacher in education, a dance manager in the creative industries, a reflective dance artist or a dance researcher and scholar. The programme offers a broad range of contemporary dance practices and explicitly welcomes differently abled bodies.
Almost 30 years ago Surrey was the first university to set up an academic dance department. Since then we have continued to build on our reputation as an internationally leading centre for dance research. Our unique pedagogic approach rejects the artificial separation of ‘practice’ and ‘theory’, and instead develops your understanding of dance as a diverse, complex and dynamic cultural practice where moving and thinking simply cannot be separated.
You are taught by our team of world-leading international experts whose research includes contemporary European dance and dance theatre, African and South Asian dance, dance in popular culture, digital arts and film, movement analysis and choreography, dance dramaturgy, dance management and dance facilitation.
You study within the vibrant creative environment of the Surrey School of Arts, which, along with dance, includes theatre, film and music, as well as the Guildford School of Acting (GSA), the Digital World Research Centre and the Lewis Elton Gallery.
Our unique Dance, Culture and Choreography programme offers both three-year and four-year degree pathways, the latter including the highly regarded Professional Training placement year. As you progress through your studies you will encounter a range of perspectives and approaches to dance, from various dance practices to movement analysis and choreography, dance history and cultural studies, dance management and dance facilitation. This will provide you with a broad and deep knowledge of dance.
Students following the four-year degree participate in the Professional Training Year (PTY), during which you benefit from a unique mentoring scheme in an internationally or nationally renowned organisation, where work-specific techniques are enhanced by transferable skills in professional communication, organisational strategies and critical reflection.
With the opportunity to specialise in the final year of your studies, you will be perfectly prepared for your career in dance education, arts management, creative practice and further dance study and research.
Other than the PTY element, all modules are shared between both the three-year and four-year degree programmes.
Dance and context
Year 1 provides you with an introduction to key skills in dance studies. You develop new learning skills in academic study and you get started in creative research into contemporary dance practices. You explore your own body as a source for solo choreography and movement analysis, examine the role of dance in culture and society, and encounter the foundations of somatic body work and release-based techniques.
• Contemporary Dance Practices I
• Movement Analysis and Notation
• The Body in Dance: Theory and Aesthetics
• Dance Management and Facilitation
Dance and the creative industries
In Year 2, you begin to make and develop work, exploring dance and its relationship to the creative industries and arts sector. You engage with dance history, dance policy and politics, choreography and dramaturgy, movement analysis and devising performance, and you further develop your professional dance practice. We work closely with external partners, companies and organisations to offer you the opportunity to follow a performance project from inception to completion.
• Contemporary Dance Practices II
• Dance and Theatre in the 20th Century
• Dance and the Creative Arts Industries in Britain
• Professional Project
• Dance, Film and Digital Arts
If you choose to undertake a Professional Training Year placement, you will work with an established dance organisation, based within the United Kingdom or internationally. You may choose to specialise in a particular area of dance, for example within dance management, community dance or dance company education, but whatever your specialism you will find yourself involved in a wide variety of activities.
Dance and professional practice
Year 3 offers you further opportunities to specialise in your chosen career direction and to develop your professional profile. You concentrate, through independent research and a final dissertation project, on your expertise in choreography, dance education, arts management, movement analysis and somatic practice or other areas. In addition to a range of module options, the final year enhances your overall proficiency in independent creative research and critical reflection, and provides opportunities for collaboration with students across the School of Arts.
• Contemporary Dance Practices III
• Advanced Independent Project
• Researching Dance
• Dissertation Project
Optional modules include:
• Dance and Globalization
• Interdisciplinary Collaboration (Music, Theatre, Film)
• Professional Practices
• Choreographic Writing
Our unique and optional Professional Training Year gives you the chance to apply your knowledge and understanding in the context of a year-long placement, and thereby build your experience in a professional dance environment with high-quality mentoring and support from experienced placement hosts.
A pioneer in integrated professional training, the University has operated its placement scheme in partnership with industry and professional bodies for the last 40 years. Employers interviewing graduates have been impressed by the maturity and professionalism of those with placement experience. Although dance students do not usually receive a salary, they are normally paid a bursary by their employer.
Organisations and companies that have participated in the scheme include Northern Ballet Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, Sadler's Wells, South East Dance and Birmingham Royal Ballet.
You will have practical classes, lectures, seminars and tutorials. Performance and choreography modules have higher class-contact time, while classroom-based modules have fewer contact hours but require independent study where you read, research, write and prepare work in your own time. You have the opportunity to develop computing skills using our E-Learning facilities, in addition to word-processing, spreadsheet and database packages.
You are also able to participate in dance classes, events, performances, seminars and residencies on campus, including extracurricular classes in Guildford School of Acting’s evening programme. These are open not only to students studying Dance, Culture and Choreography, but also to the wider University and the general public. This provides you with a lively and challenging dance environment.
Modules are assessed in a format that is most suited to the content and structure of each. We therefore use a variety of assessment methods, such as essays, portfolios, seminar presentations, lecture demonstrations and performances.
Our Dance degree programmes are well resourced and include the PATS dance studio and the state-of-the-art Ivy Arts Centre. The campus is home to a unique archive, the National Resource Centre for Dance, and the School of Arts.
You have the opportunity to spend time abroad on a work placement in a foreign country or studying at one of our partner universities. These include the North Carolina State University and the universities of Florida and Cincinnati in North America. Additionally we operate exchanges with La Trobe University and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
The benefits of working or following courses abroad are numerous. You are exposed to a different culture with its language and its traditions which broaden your horizons in terms of knowledge but also in terms of employment opportunities.
Graduates of our Dance and Culture degree programme are currently employed in performance and choreography, education (including private, secondary, further and higher education), community dance settings including arts centres and arts and dance projects, theatre management, dance company education, public relations and marketing. Dance graduates have received employment in some of the foremost dance institutions in the UK, including Greenwich Dance Agency, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, The Place Theatre and the English National Ballet.
Our graduates have an excellent track record in securing places on MA and PGCE courses in dance and related subjects. Over the last few years, Surrey Dance students have gone on to careers such as:
• West London Partnership/Surrey County Council – Graduate Dance Teacher
• Royal Opera House – Education Department
• Independent Dance – Administrator
• King Edward VI School – Dance Teacher
• East London Dance – Project Co-ordinator
• Ludus Dance Agency – Project Manager
• Self-employed – Ballet Teacher
• Dance School, Maya Sofou, Athens – Dance Teacher
• Rambert Dance Company – Development Officer
• Arts Strategy, Arts Council – Assistant Officer
• Greenwich Dance Agency – Programme Co-ordinator
• South East Dance – Programme Producer
• The Place – Education Officer
• Laban – Education Officer
We offer a range of bursaries, scholarships and other financial support.
There are no specific subject requirements. Dance at either A or AS-level (or equivalent) is preferable.
GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above (or equivalent).
Offers are normally made in terms of grades. Suitable candidates may be invited for an audition and interview. During the visit to the University the candidate can find out more about the programme and meet staff and students.
Non-native speakers of English will normally be required to have IELTS 6.5 or above, with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-skill (or equivalent).
We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
|Qualification||Course Length||Professional Training||UCAS code||KIS code|
|BA (Hons)||3 years||PPM3||View KIS data set|
|BA (Hons)||4 years||PPM4||View KIS data set|
Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.
Emily Labhart, BA Dance and Culture with Professional Training, talks about her Professional Training placement year at Sadler's Wells