Dance and Study of Religions

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Build the skills you need to become a creative and articulate dance professional.

  • Rigorous practical training in choreography, technique and performance.
  • Gain industry experience and contacts with weekly classes from our extensive network of professional dance artists and companies.
  • 100% of graduates agreed we prepared them well for employment and/or further studies in dance (2015).

Why study Dance?

Immerse yourself in an exciting and challenging artistic environment, studying dance at Bath Spa University. You’ll be part of an exciting dance training programme with a strong practical focus.

Creativity and performance lie at the heart of the course; this, as well as the breadth of opportunities we offer, makes our Dance course distinctive. The course suits creative individuals who are looking for a degree that is both physically and intellectually challenging.

You can choose from three undergraduate courses:

  • BA (Hons) Dance. This is a specialised award, you’ll study dance as a single subject.
  • BA (Hons) Combined Award. In this course you’ll study dance alongside another subject, for example: Education Studies, Film and Screen Studies, or Psychology.
  • BA (Hons) Creative Arts. This course is for adventurous students who don’t wish to be restricted by the boundaries of a single art discipline. You can study the subject with Art, Ceramics, Creative Writing, Drama, Music, Mixed Media Textiles or Visual Design.

"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

You’ll find yourself immersed in a world of exciting choreographic opportunities, broadening your understanding of performance making. You’ll regularly present your work in a variety of performance projects, with lots of opportunities to work alongside professional artists and companies. We’ll encourage you to develop a critical and analytical mindset that will support your creative enquiry.

Technique forms an important part of the course, full-time dance students benefit from four to five classes in the studio on a regular basis. Cunningham and Limon­ based classes, somatic practice and contact improvisation are all part of your technical training and give you the chance to develop into a strong and confident dancer.
Each year you’ll take performance modules with visiting professional companies. As part of this, you’ll take part in intensive projects that build your skills as a maker and performer. We’ll introduce you to the exciting world where dance intersects with other art forms to make performance work.

Please note, if you choose to study dance as a combined award, you won’t study all the available modules. You can choose to study a joint degree, or you can place greater emphasis on one subject by taking it as a major.

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

Your first year will be a fast-paced, challenging experience that builds your skills in the key areas of performance, creativity and critical thinking. You’ll work on regular performance projects, creating solo, small group and large ensemble work. We introduce you to new ways to think and move that will help you to broaden your skills as a dance artist.

Regular sessions with visiting companies and artists will help you expand your understanding of the dance industry and inspire you to think about your own career aspirations.

  • Creative Dance Practice 1 – An exploration of a range of choreographic principles, performance practice, research, analysis and study skills. *
  • Movement Technique 1 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release, as well as other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
  • Somatic Practice – An introduction to anatomy and body-mind techniques, such as Alexander Technique & Shin Somatics. **
  • Digital Performance Practice – An introduction to a range of digital software and practical projects exploring their use in dance performance.
  • Performance Project 1 – Build your skills in dance performance through weekly class and an intensive week with a professional dance artist. **

Year 2

You’ll stretch your creative and performance skills in exciting new directions. A wide range of practical sessions will deepen your understanding of how performance work can be created for different contexts; we encourage you to see yourself – and the work you make – within a broader perspective.

The visiting guest artist programme continues to provide you with inspirational workshops and residencies that help to build your knowledge of the field and inform your artistic practice.

  • Creative Dance Practice 2 – Develop new performance work through cultural and experiential memory, creating group and solo work. *
  • Movement Technique 2 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release. Other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
  • Contact Improvisation – An exploration through improvisation of dynamic and weight interchange between two or more practitioners. **
  • Digital Performance Practice 2 – Explore the relationship between dance and the lens.
  • Performance Project 2 – Work with musicians and a professional dance company in the creation of two new site specific performances **

Year 3

You’ll focus on developing a specialist area. Modules allow you to follow a specific pathway that supports your interests, such as performance, choreography, teaching, dance movement therapy. You’ll embark on a large scale performance project, as well as completing a work placement with a professional dance organisation and undertaking an independent project that you design and manage to completion.

Regular individual tutoring, with specialist dance careers staff, will help you build a plan for after you graduate. We pledge to continue to support you as part of our graduate alumni scheme, no matter how long ago you graduated.

  • Independent Project – Your final independent project - practical or written. *
  • Movement Techniques 3 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release. Other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
  • Somatic Research – Further development of somatic skills focusing on self enquiry, movement therapy and the creative and performing body. **
  • Professional Development Planning – Work placement and the construction of your professional portfolio. **
  • Performance Project 3 – Join with other dancers to form a proto-professional company working alongside guests choreographer. **

Course assessment

We’ll assess your work in a variety of ways such as practical performances, presentations, portfolios and essays. Practical projects may be assessed on your creative process, the final product or both.

The course has a strong practical focus with workshops, technique classes and choreographic laboratories. These are led by qualified staff and visiting choreographers and artists.

Digital technology plays a significant role in the course; we apply it to creative practice as well as using it to teach. Screendance, and the integration of digital media in live performance work is a distinctive feature of the course.

You’ll work in our dance studios, which are fully equipped for choreography, performance and work with digital media. We regularly host professional performances and workshops from leading dance artists in the University Theatre.

You can hire out equipment using SISO, Bath Spa University’s free equipment loan service. We provide a huge variety of equipment including laptops, ipads, projectors and cameras.

Our greatest resource is, perhaps, the professionalism and experience of the tutors who teach on the course and our professional associates and partners.

Teaching methods

Study abroad

You’ll have the opportunity to study in a wide range of locations around the world. Our students have completed Erasmus+ and Exchange programmes in a variety of countries including the USA and Spain.

Work placements, industry links and internship

Our students have worked with professional dance organisations including Earthfall Dance, Bath Dance, ICIA, Hofesh Shechter, Pavillion Dance, ITV, Dance Voice, The Egg Theatre, Impermanence Dance Theatre, Circomedia, B&NES Youth Dance Company, Jean Abreu Dance.

Guest artists and companies

Previous guests who have worked with our students include: Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company, Bedlam Dance Company, Earthfall , Impermanence Dance Theatre, Lila Dance, Karla Shacklock Dance, Wendy Houston, Alexander Whitely, Protein Dance, Maresa von Stockert, Jean Abreu, Laila Diallo.

Festivals and Exhibitions

We’ll encourage you to participate in dance festivals and exhibitions. You’ll have the opportunity to apply for choreographic platforms and screen dance festivals.

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.

We are looking for individuals who are:

  • strong and confident performers;
  • creatively open-minded and willing to take artistic risks;
  • good team players;
  • passionate about dance and prepared to work hard to see results.

If you apply, we’ll ask you to attend an audition day so that we can assess your suitability for the programme. The audition gives you a chance to demonstrate your physical dance skills and your creative abilities. Your personal statement is your chance to show your skills and experience in dance. We want to know about what inspires you and what you hope to achieve with your training.

Career opportunities

100% of our Dance graduates are in work or further study after 6 months (NSS, 2015).
Our dance graduates have a range of professions including:

  • performance
  • choreography
  • community dance work
  • teaching
  • dance movement therapy
  • arts management/administration

Graduates have been employed by organisations including: Earthfall Dance, Maresa Von Stockhert, Bath Dance, Institute for Contemporary Interdisciplinary Arts, Hofesh Shechter , Pretty Good Girl Dance Theatre, Theatre Bristol, Karla Shacklock Dance, Royal Academy of Dance, Zinc Arts, Citrus Arts, Kapow Dance and numerous schools, colleges and universities.

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.