Dance and Visual Design
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.
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.
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.
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 **
- 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. **
- 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. **
- 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. **
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.
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.
All full time applications are through UCAS
For further information about the programme or other enquiries, please email us at email@example.com.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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%