Dance and Visual Design
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.
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.
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 **
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. **
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 **
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. **
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.
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.
All full time applications are through UCAS
For further information about the programme or other enquiries, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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:
- community dance work
- 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
A course that will develop your visual and graphic design ability and skills.
Why study Graphic Arts?
This course will enable you to express and articulate your ideas and study interests through a confidence in design. You will experience publishing your work in a variety of media (print, web, lens-based) and develop specialist areas of knowledge and ability by the end of the course.
As part of the Creative Arts programme you will select another subject to study alongside Visual Design, and your other subject will no doubt have a strong influence on your choices within the course. Visual Design can complement other routes by giving you the techniques and abilities to confidently express and communicate your ideas in a visual context.
You will choose one of the following subjects to study alongside Visual Design:
In Year 1 the subject starts with the basics of design related to typography, image and layout. You will be taken through design principles and become familiar with concepts to help you learn how to layout text and graphics with confidence and knowledge. You’ll be shown how to use industry standard layout software in readiness for creating printed publications, such as magazines and books.
By the middle of the first year you will be introduced to aspects of web design, including developing personalised blog sites. This will allow you to develop research skills and methods of gathering and interpreting information. Your online presence is also increasingly vital way of self-marketing and you will develop this over the period of the course. Online publishing is also a rapidly expanding area with the electronic book and website enabling people to self-publish to the world.
The first year ends with an introduction to creating printed publications, making you aware of how to create books and binding techniques (how books are physically put together). You will have gathered content from research to make a publication of your own.
Year 2 will allow you to study a subject area of your choice related to visual design, for example typography, publications, visual design, lens based media. An emphasis will be placed on design narratives and you will be guided through your projects. In addition you will study how graphic designers work and how theory influences contemporary design.
Year 3 expects you to contextualise your work with increased sophistication. You will have a knowledge of contemporary design and be able to apply it to your own study area with independence. Supported by regular tutorials you will develop a body of work, a portfolio in readiness for a professional career, or self-employment.
Optional professional studies based modules allow you to increase your awareness of professional practice and improve your chances of gaining the career you want upon graduation.
This subject is part of the Creative Arts programme, so you will select another subject to study with Visual Design.
Continuous assessment (100% course work)
You will benefit from specialist resources to equip you for eventual employment in this fast-moving field.
Lecturing staff have a detailed understanding of the industry, and there is a strong practical element to the course in areas such as typography, publications, visual design and lens based media. There is also an important emphasis on the support of practice by theory.
All full time applications are through UCAS
For more information please contact Martin Thomas on email@example.com
If studying A Levels: 260 UCAS points from A Levels, including a grade B in an art/design related subject
If studying a BTEC Extended Diploma: Overall Merit grade (Merit Merit Merit)
Art Foundation Diploma: Merit
If applying for a combination of Art, Textiles, Ceramics and Visual Design, then we would invite you for an interview and ask you to bring a portfolio of creative work with you to support your application.
Career areas directly related to Visual Design include graphic design, web design, art-worker, publishing, artist, book illustrator. However, combined with your other subject, a wider choice is available allowing you to uniquely position yourself within the jobs market, or develop a successful freelance or self-employed career.
% going on to work and/or study for courses in this subject area: 90%