Dance and Study of Religions

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How to Apply

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Studying Dance at Bath Spa University provides you with an opportunity to immerse yourself in an exciting and challenging artistic environment. The course is focused on helping you build the skills you need to become a versatile, creative, and articulate dance professional.  

There are three undergraduate courses available:

BA (Hons) Dance. This is a specialised award and is suitable for students who want to study dance as a single subject.

BA (Hons) Combined Award. This course is suitable for students who want to study dance alongside another subject, for example: Education Studies, Film & Screen Studies, or Psychology.

BA (Hons) Creative Arts. This course is suitable for adventurous students who do not wish to be restricted by the boundaries of a single art discipline. You can study the subject with:

Dance at Bath Spa University is increasingly respected for its work in both live and screen-based performance practice. It is contemporary-based and will provide you with exciting artistic and professional experiences.

Why study Dance?

The course has a strong practical focus and will suit creative individuals who are looking for a dance training programme that is both physically and intellectually challenging.  You will have regular opportunities to present your work in a variety of different performance projects throughout the course and lots of chances to work alongside professional dance companies and artists.

"I could not be more proud to say that I was trained at Bath Spa, and I believe that I speak for all the dance students when I say that no matter where or what we do, the things we have learnt in the past three years have not only set us up for the 'real world' but have been invaluable in shaping our artistic thoughts and confidence."

- Sarah Dyke, dance graduate.



Course structure

Studying full time for your BA (Hons) in dance means you are with us for three years.  During this time you will take a wide range of exciting modules that will build your skills in choreography and performance.

Over the course of each year you take five modules totalling 120 credits.   At the heart of each year’s study is a 40 credit choreographic module.  This is where you develop your core practical skills as a creative practitioner/artist.  You will also develop a critical and analytical mindset that will help to support your creative enquiry.

Alongside this core study area there are modules that support and inform your performance practice as a creative dance artist. Technique forms an important part of this and you take classes in the studio on a regular basis. Limon and Cunningham-based work, somatic practice, and contact improvisation are all part of your training and give you the chance to develop into a strong and confident dancer.

BA Dance

 In each year there are also performance modules that build your skills as both a maker and performer of work.  These modules take you into the world of site-specific work, collaborating with composers and other artists, filmmaking and exploring the exciting world where different art forms intersect to make performance work.  Digital technology will play a significant role in the programme, both in its application to creative practice and in an e-learning context. Screendance, and the interface and integration of digital media in live performance work is one of the distinctive features of the course.

There are regular opportunities to work alongside professional dance artists and companies and in year 3 you will undertake a work placement with a professional organisation.  By the end of your three years you graduate with your video portfolio on your own website and we pledge to continue to support you as part of our graduate alumni scheme, no matter how long ago you graduated.



It is important to note that if you choose to study dance as a combined subject, you do not do all the available modules. You can choose to study a joint degree, with 60 credits in each module, or you can major or minor, placing a greater emphasis on one subject or the other.

Modules

If you study dance as a Specialised Award you take all modules below.
If you study dance as part of a Creative Arts programme or as a Combined Award subject, you will study all the modules in the Choreography strand * (Compulsory), and depending on the weighting of your route, have options on other modules marked **

Year 1

  • Choreography 1: Constructing the Body – An exploration of a range of choreographic principles, performance practice, research, analysis and study skills. *
  • Movement Techniques: Codified Practice Level 1 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release, as well as other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
  • Movement Technique and Improvisation: Somatic Practice – An introduction to anatomy and body-mind techniques, such as Alexander Technique & Shin Somatics. **
  • New Media and Performance Practice – An introduction to a range of digital software and practical projects exploring their use in dance performance.
  • Collaborative Practice 1 – An investigation into collaboration and creativity in dance performance. **

Year 2

  • Choreography 2: Body as a Conscious Site – Developing choreography through cultural and experiential memory, creating group and solo work. *
  • Movement Techniques: Codified Practice Level 2 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release. Other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
  • Movement Techniques: Contact Improvisation – An exploration through improvisation of dynamic and weight interchange between two or more practitioners. **
  • Dance on Camera: The practice of screendance – Exploring the relationship between dance and the lens.
  • Collaborative Practice 2: Sound and Site – Working with composers and musicians from the school of music, plus professional site specific performance making. **

Year 3

  • Choreography 3 – Your final independent project - practical or written. *
  • Movement Techniques: Codified Practice Level 3 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release. Other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
  • Movement Technique & Improvisation: Somatic Research – Further development of somatic skills focusing on self enquiry, movement therapy and the creative and performing body. **
  • The Company – Formation of a company to work with a professional choreographer. **
  • Professional Portfolio: The Enterprising Artist – Work placement, and the construction of your professional portfolio. **

Course assessment

Tutors assess your work through practical projects, essays, portfolios and seminar presentations. In practical projects, assessment may focus on your creative process, on the final choreographic product or both. 

The dance department has the use of three fully equipped dance studios, the University Theatre, Mac editing suite and additional rehearsal spaces for independent study. In addition, site-specific work takes advantage of our outstanding campus and the architecture and history of the City of Bath. Our greatest resource is perhaps the professionalism and experience of the tutors who teach on the course and our professional partnerships.

BA Dance

Teaching methods

Lectures, workshops, seminars and choreographic laboratories are led by qualified staff, visiting choreographers and artists.  You work in our dance studios, which are fully equipped for choreography, performance and work with digital media, our Apple Mac edit suite, and in the University Theatre performance spaces.

Bath Spa regularly host professional performances and workshops from leading dance artists in the University Theatre.
 Previous guest artists/companies have included: 
Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company, Bedlam Dance Company, Earthfall (our Associate Company), Gill Clarke, Siobhan Davies and Company, Wendy Houston, Nigel Charnock, Precarious, Silesian Dance Theatre, Liam Steel (Stan Won’t Dance), Yael Flexer, Jessica Cohen, Sean King, Arthur Pita and Protein Dance, Helen Bagget, Stuart Lynch, Maresa von Stockert, Dan Watson (Richard Alston Company), Beth Powesland. Karla Shacklock (our associate dance artist) and Jean Abreu.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

For further information about the programme or other enquiries, please email us at admissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points, with minimum 80 points from Dance or Performing Arts preferred.

OR dance experience outside education.

We select eligible candidates to attend a practical auditions. Auditions are normally scheduled between December and April.

Overseas applicants may submit a video application. Details from Bath Spa University Admissions.

Career opportunities

The undergraduate programme prepares you for a range of careers in the creative industries by giving you the opportunity to develop the technical, creative and performance skills needed to become a confident and highly skilled individual.  On graduating, you may choose to study further at postgraduate level or to find work as a choreographer, performer, teacher, filmmaker, community dance practitioner, independent dance artist, dance administrator, starting your own company, or a combination of more than one area of interest.  

On graduating, you may choose to study further at postgraduate level or to find work as a choreographer, performer, teacher, filmmaker, community dance practitioner, independent dance artist, dance administrator, starting your own company, or a combination of more than one area of interest.  Bath Spa dance graduates have moved into a wide range of roles that include dance teachers in schools, lecturers in further and higher education, choreographers, dance company and solo performers, filmmaking, running a dance company/school, making and performing work as an independent dance artist, continuing in education, dance movement therapists, community dance practitioners, digital media specialists and events managers.

BA Dance

Our students say:

"I thought I would write to let you know that I have had loads of work since graduating. I just got the job as lead practitioner for the Youth Company at Theatre Royal. I also run a theatre company at Sterts Theatre Cornwall."

Lauren Davey; BA Hons Dance graduate.

"I can't thank you all enough for all of your help and support, since returning to Ireland I have got so much work:

  • Contemporary Dance Tutor in the Bray Institute of Further Education on their 3 year dance course (Fetac and BTEC HND qualification)
  • Teach Movement for the Actor module on a Performing Arts Course
  • Dance Theatre of Ireland on their DPOP programme
  • 'Remote Intermedia Dance Theatre Company' are still around and we hope to go to the Fringe Festival next year

I am so very very happy and love all of my jobs, this is thanks to the great training and education I received at Bath Spa."

Eimear Byrne; BA Hons Dance Dance graduate.

What students say...

Here are a selection of recent student comments:

"Through my time at Bath Spa I feel I have really developed as a dancer/choreographer but most importantly I have been able to do so in my own way. The course has been challenging but also very rewarding and has allowed me to believe in myself and realise I can achieve things that I want."

Emily Gibbs BA (Hons) Dance graduate

"I will be forever grateful to the highly encouraging, supportive and knowledgeable Dance Department at Bath Spa University. All aspects of the course have enabled me to become a diverse dancer with a wide skill set. In a forgiving and understanding environment, I was able to be myself and produce innovative work that challenged me creatively and technically. I couldn't have asked for more..."

Amy Osborne; BA Hons Dance graduate

"What a fantastic degree! It has made me the creative teacher and performer that I am today! After having graduated for a year, the support from all of the dance staff is still extremely strong. The staff are always at the other end of an email or the phone and genuinely still care about all we decide to do!"

Laura Polson; BA Hons Dance graduate.

'Throughout my time at Bath Spa University, working with the staff and other students, I have found a massive support system that enhanced my confidence and helped me with my creative practice.'

Sophie Taylor BA (Hons) Dance and Drama

"Thanks for the best 3 years of my life!"

Beth Townsend; BA Hons Dance graduate

BA Dance

This course explores a wide range of religious traditions, from Buddhism to Christianity to Paganism, with a focus on living traditions. The approach taken is open and exploratory, with an emphasis on direct first-hand experience of religious communities.

The religious traditions studied are diverse, including major traditions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam or Christianity, and the less well known such as newer religious movements. Included in the programme are contemporary developments such as Paganism and Goddess spirituality. We range from the local, such as religions in Bath and Glastonbury, to the global, such as Japanese Religions. Crucial to the study of religions is direct encounter and experiential learning, and the course includes visits and a one-week placement in a religious community. There are opportunities to follow up your own interests or career plans in a variety of special projects, employment related placements and a dissertation.

Study of Religions is offered as a Major, Joint or Minor component of a Combined degree. If you want to combine it with Philosophy and Ethics you should take the Religions, Philosophies and Ethics specialised award.

Why study Study of Religions?

‘My stay at the Buddhist monastery was challenging, yet very rewarding. I learnt a lot about Theravada Buddhism, but about myself too’

Diverse range of traditions

We try to explore as many different traditions as possible, from Buddhism to Christianity to Paganism, with a focus on living religions followed by people you can meet today.

Open and exploratory

We stress that we are studying religions, trying to understand, rather than trying to convert, and we are equally welcoming of those who belong to a religious tradition and those who don’t.

First hand experience and community placement

‘There is no substitute for seeing the architecture, rituals and colours first hand as well as the account of the religion from a believer’

We think it is important to meet people from religious traditions, and the programme includes visit to religious communities, mosques, temples, gurdwaras and churches. You may visit the Goddess temple in Glastonbury, meet a Druid or have an opportunity to interview a Buddhist monk. In the third year all students have the opportunity to spend a week living with a religious or belief community: such as a Buddhist monastery, a Christian convent, the Hare Krishnas, the British Humanist Association or the Salvation Army. For further details see www.livingreligion.co.uk

Excellent teaching 

Our external examiners praised us last year for the excellent quality of our feedback to students on their work. Tutors think it is important to make time for individual students.

Appropriate for teaching RE

A popular career destination for our students is teaching RE in primary or secondary schools, or sixth-form colleges. Every year the numbers of pupils taking GCSE and A level Religious Studies is going up.

Chance to study abroad

One semester can be spent abroad, for example, at the University of Helsinki in Finland or the University of Sibiu in Romania.

Course structure

In Year 1 we offer a core module which explores the meaning of religion and spirituality, examines a variety of methods of studying religions and spiritualities, and illustrates these from a variety of contemporary traditions, from Druidry to the Bahá’í faith. There is also a field visit to Glastonbury. An optional module in global religions and philosophies looks at major traditions and movements, and key thinkers. 

The core module in Year 2 focuses on philosophies and religious or non-religious world views in Indian and Chinese traditions. Optional modules include philosophy, religions and the environment; and in depth study of major religious traditions including Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.

There is also a Special Project in which you can explore topics of your choice, engage in a placement or project relevant to employment, or take part in a summer school in another country such as Korea.

In the third year, as part of a core module on religion in the contemporary world, you will undertake a fieldwork placement with a religious community such as a Buddhist monastery, a Christian convent, the Hare Krishnas or the Salvation Army. For further details see our website www.livingreligion.co.uk. Optional modules include religion, philosophy and gender; advanced study of pagan, new and alternative religions; and modules studying the Bhagavad Gita, Muslim migration and Islam in Europe, culture and counter-culture, religion and education internationally, Buddhism, and religion, culture and society in Japan. There is also a special Research Project (past students have helped to run a conference for year 12 students or to digitise an archive on contemporary religions), a Dissertation which allows for in-depth concentration on a topic of your choice, or an employment related project.

NOTE: You will need to study another subject to study with Study of Religions.

 

 

Modules

Year 1

  • Beyond Belief: Introduction to the Study of Religions and Spiritualities (core module);

  • Truth and Value: Introduction to Philosophical and Ethical Enquiry (core module);
  • Global Religions and Philosophies;
  • Spirituality, Culture and Civilisation: An Introduction to faith and Belief in Global Perspective
  • Philosophy and Thinking in Schools;
  • Medieval and Renaissance Worlds.

Year 2

  • Darshana, Dharma and Dao: Philosophy in the Indian and Chinese Traditions (core module);Exploring Global Christianity;

  • Exploring Global Christianity
  • Power, Duty and Desire: Life and Liberation in the Hindu Tradition;
  • Special Project;
  • Buddhism: Historical and Doctrinal Developments;
  • Saints and Soldiers: Mysticism, Militancy and Modernity in the Sikh Tradition;
  • Philosophy, Religions and the Environment.

Year 3

  • Studying Religions in the Contemporary World (core module);
  • Dissertation;
  • Employment related placement (alternative to Dissertation);
  • Buddhism in Practice;
  • Religion, Philosophy and Gender;
  • Life and Meaning;
  • Advanced Special Project;
  • The Song of the Lord: Hinduism, Religion, Scripture and the Bhagavad-Gita;
  • Spiritual Revolution: Pagan, New and Alternative Religions in the 21st Century;
  • Religion, Culture and Society in Japan;
  • Muslim Migration and Islam in Europe
  • Without Fear or Favour: National and International Perspectives on Religion, Culture and Education;
  • Culture and Counterculture: from Orientalism to the ‘Hippy Trail’.

Course assessment

Assessment is mainly by coursework such as essays, reports, projects, presentations, on-line discussion board participation, or even the production of a short film, and there are also some timed elements such as critical analyses or examinations.

Learning is encouraged through participation in a wide variety of activities including lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and fieldtrips.

We teach with attention to individuals. We welcome non-traditional entrants and mature students.

Resources include a well-stocked library, on-line materials in our virtual learning platform and our many contacts with faith communities (and ethical associations) locally and nationally.

BACRA (the Bath Archive of Contemporary Religious Affairs) is an archive of ephemera devoted mainly to New Religious Movements and concentrated on the 1980s and 1990s before most movements had their own websites.

 

Teaching methods

Our lectures set out the broad themes and issues, often include visual materials and enable you to participate and raise questions.

Seminars are in smaller groups where you have more opportunities to participate and interact with each other. These might involve you giving short presentations, working in groups, debates and discussions. They help you clarify issues that you find in your readings and raised in lectures; some seminars may include viewing of brief documentaries.

One-to-one tutorials are an important part of our teaching, especially in giving individual feedback on your work.

To give you an experiential understanding of the subjects that you study, we organise educational visits and fieldtrips to religious and pilgrimage centres in Bath, Glastonbury, Bristol, London, etc. We also enable you to take part in a one-week placement in a religious or ethical community to see how religions and philosophies impact on people's daily lives. For examples see www.livingreligion.co.uk.

We encourage you to take part in the study abroad programmes by, for example, participating in the existing Erasmus exchanges in Europe (e.g., University of Helsinki and University of Sibiu).

Application method

Full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

A popular career for our students is teaching Religious Education and/or Citizenship in secondary or primary schools, where there is a shortage of specialists. The combination of studying religions and philosophy is particularly good preparation for this, and one module is specially designed as preparation for a career in education. Others have gone on to further academic study and university teaching.

It is increasingly important for people in a wide range of careers to be able to mix with people from different religious and cultural backgrounds, for example past students have had careers in the police, hospital administration, social work, and journalism. Study of Religions comes in useful when working overseas whether in tourism or other businesses.

Since 2010, employers such as Global Xchange. Ethicall, Citizens' Advice Bureau and Birmingham University have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Healthcare Assistant, Fundraiser,  Children's Home Activities Coordinator and Assistant to the Communications Director.

What students say...

Student Profile: Alex Hyde, Year 3 Study of Religions

I chose my course because I have always been interested in the world and in people.  I am fascinated by the thoughts, needs, beliefs and knowledge of others who have been brought up outside of Christianity.

I really like the structure of the course because the first year enables you to study in breadth and then in the second year focus more deeply on some of the religions studied in the first year. I was enthralled by the prospect of going on a placement for a week in a religious community as part of the course in second year.  I am soon to find out whether I will be going to live with The Community of the Many Names of God or the Hare Krishnas.

The Department has a friendly ethos, with lecturers who are genuinely willing their students to do well and continually supporting them along the way. It is with thanks to this course that my understanding of people in the world is ever expanding and even when the pressure is on with assignments due, I continue to brim with enthusiasm for the knowledge I gain.