Dance and Visual Design

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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).

"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.

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.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

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 internships

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.

Teaching methods

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.

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

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - A Level grades CCC including Grade C in Dance, Performing Arts or related subjects accepted.
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades Merit, Merit. Merit (MMM) in Dance, Performing Arts or related subjects accepted.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum of 26 points will be required in addition to evidence of further experience/ qualifications in dance or performing arts .
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher) in addition to other qualifications and experience in Dance.
  • Graded Dance qualifications above Grade 6 also accepted in addition to other qualifications listed above.

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Eligible applicants will be invited to auditions at our Newton Park Campus between December and March.

Auditions will consist of: Technique Class: We are looking for commitment, enthusiasm and physical evidence of dance training to an appropriate level (alignment, accuracy, energy). Creative Workshop: We are looking for creativity and imagination, the ability to work as a group and to create and present work in a contemporary style. Course Overview/ Q&A Session: This session should clarify what you can expect from the course in terms of practical and written requirements, workshops, projects and placements. We will also be able to answer individual questions to help you to decide whether this course is right for you.

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

A course that will develop your visual and graphic design ability and skills.

  • Study and combine two areas of creative practice
  • Taught by practicing members of staff
  • Excellent workshops and technical support

Why study Graphic Arts?

Graphic Arts is studied as a subject within the Creative Arts course, so you’ll select another subject to study alongside it. The way subjects interact varies, so the shape of the course depends on the subject you combine with Graphic Arts. For example if you decide to combine Graphic Arts and Creative Writing the subject may function differently than if you study Graphic Arts and Music.

You’ll choose one of the following subjects to study alongside Graphic Arts:

Course structure

You’ll be able to study and practice a wide range of disciplines from typography, illustration, photography, printmaking, web design, book binding and media. As the course progresses you’ll find the emphasis is placed on you; you’ll pursue your own areas of interest, with support from specialist academic and technical staff.

In your first year you’ll develop your practical skills and thinking. You’ll gain new knowledge and hands on experience, through practical typography projects, introductions to industry standard software and lectures on art theory and history.

In years two and three we’ll encourage you to develop your individual areas of practice and contextual research through live project briefs, weekly group seminars, critiques, lectures and individual tutorials.

Modules

  • Year 1
    Attend practical project led workshops, as well as historical and contextual studies lectures, complemented by optional modules in print and photography.

  • Year 2
    Undertake self directed studio practice in your chosen area and work on live design projects.

  • Year 3
    Complete self directed studio practice, work on more live design projects, and work towards your degree show exhibition.

Course assessment

You’ll be assessed by practical portfolio submissions or exhibitions of coursework, supported by research/context folders. At various stages of the course you’ll be required to give presentations, curate exhibitions and work collaboratively.

As part of your historical and contextual studies programme, you’ll be required to demonstrate your understanding and research through short written tasks and group presentations.

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 Norway, Germany, Japan, Australia and the USA

Field trips

You’ll have opportunities to participate in regular field trips across all the Creative Arts course modules. As a department we run at least four London study trips per year. We also organise international study visits to places like Berlin, Paris, New York and Venice (please note that you’ll have to pay for some study visits).

Work placements, industry links and internships

There are opportunities for you to undertake work placements as part of the wider Creative Arts professional practice programme. Past Graphic Arts students have worked with companies such as Oakwood DC.

Competitions/awards

We’ll encourage you to participate in competitions such as the Porthleven Prize and the Gane Trust Travel Grant among many others. Each year you are asked to enter the Penguin Book Cover competition. Our students have been nominated for, and won, awards such as the Threadneedle Prize, the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize and the Royal West of England student drawing prize.

Each year we offer three prizes to our second and third year students:

  • The ‘Beyond the Studio’ Student Prize for Entrepreneurship in Art
  • The Outstanding Art Student Prize
  • The Excellence in the Creative Arts and Contemporary Arts Practice Development Prize

Teaching methods

You’ll be taught by staff who are practising designers and researchers through technical demonstrations, individual tutorials, group critiques, lectures and seminars. Teaching takes place in workshops (year 1) and studio spaces (years 2 and 3).

You’ll benefit from a programme of visiting speakers who will talk about their own practice and their experience working as contemporary designers, curators, artists, makers and publishers within the creative industries.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

For more information please contact Martin Thomas on m.thomas2@bathspa.ac.uk

Entry requirements

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 opportunities

List of current alumni careers

Graduate careers include:

  • self employment as designers;
  • curatorship;
  • gallery administration;
  • teaching;
  • art administration; and
  • community based art work.
  • 90% of students go on to work and/or study in the Art subject area.