Dance at Bath Spa University
Dance at Bath Spa University is known for its focus on creativity and performance. This applies to a broad range of creative dance practice. Our Masters programme is designed to create space for you to explore and create, and to reflect on your own practice as a dance artist. It is highly flexible and allows you to develop skills in areas of individual interest and also presents opportunities for you to collaborate with others who are studying the same or other creative disciplines.
The course has particular specialisms in screen-based practice, interdisciplinary performance work, and site based performance, but its flexibility allows for a range of individual interests beyond these areas. Over the course of your studies we will support the development of your postgraduate level research skills to help you to interrogate and develop your own creative practice. In addition, professional engagement forms a key part of the programme to ensure that you have an understanding of a range of highly useful skills that include those of business, marketing, and the touring of work. As well as support from your tutors, you will be allocated a professional mentor who works in the field of your own interest, and you will have access to the university’s careers specialists.
Why study Dance?
If you are interested in spending a year (or 2 years part-time) in a supportive and highly creative environment to explore and develop your skills as a dance artist, to work creatively with other artists, and to learn the entrepreneurial skills needed to succeed in what is a challenging and changing workplace, this may be the course for you.
Studying for your MA in Dance will mean that you will be with us for one full year, or two if you choose to study part time. As a full time student you will take two 30 credit modules in term one, two 30 credit modules in term 2, and one 60 credit module (your final project) in term 3. As a part time student you will take 2 modules in your first year and three in your second, the last of which is your final project.
Where practical, the taught elements of the course will be undertaken in short intensive blocks and, where appropriate, tutoring may be done on-line to create flexibility and to help those who may not wish to move to the area for the full duration of the course.
Your work will be assessed through practical project essays, portfolios and seminar presentations. In practical projects, assessment may focus on your creative process, or on the final product. All work is assessed against a generic criteria so you can compare your achievements against your previous work.
PA7010.30: Research Methodologies. 30 credits
This module gives you the opportunity to develop a sophisticated understanding of, and ability to, research at a professionally applicable level. Engaging with current scholarship and research in an area that is of relevance to your own practice, you will engage with key methodologies and critical evaluation skills in the undertaking of a substantial project. Your focus may be orientated towards practice, or may embrace a solely theoretical approach. Your research may inform work in an upcoming module or work beyond the curriculum of this course.
Assessment: Submission of a 7,000 word research paper, or a combination of written and practical work as negotiated with your tutor.
PA7021.30. Creative Practice 1. 30 credits
This module concerns itself with ‘live’ or screen-based, performance making. Live work might be a stage performance and may engage with other ‘media’, for instance, video, writing, painting, textiles, or it may involve practice not normally associated with the arts, such as engineering, chemistry, or architecture. Screen-based performance, in the context of this module, focuses on the interface between choreography and digital technology to design and produce work for the single screen. At the core of this module is an exploration of possibilities, leading to the development, construction, and performance/screening of an original work.
Assessment: Performance/screening of work 70% On-line reflective journal 30%
PA7040.30. Professional Engagement. 30 credits
This module is designed to support the design of your professional profile and for you to gain an in-depth understanding of how to get your work ‘out there’.
You will negotiate an individual project content with your tutors that explores and develops an area of professional engagement that is relevant to your own practice. This may, for instance, be in the areas of funding, creative production, marketing, or research.
Assessment: Presentation 50% Written 50%
PA7031.30. Creative Practice 2. 30 credits
This module responds to the potential offered by non-theatre performance locations and draws on collaborative opportunities to work with artists and students studying other BSU masters courses to construct cross-disciplinary performance work. The potential of an ‘assembly of texts’ forms a key element to this module. Drawing on site, choreography, and other art forms, an understanding of the impact upon individual texts when layered against one another, will be central to the construction of a major performance work.
In addition to the creative aspect of this project, you will be expected to negotiate with your chosen site’s stakeholders and deal with all issues relating to health and safety and performance management.
Assessment: Performance 80% Journal 20%
PA7050.60. Thesis Project. 60 credits
Your final project will draw upon skills and knowledge acquired in modules 1, 2, 3, and 4. The content is negotiated with course tutors but might, for example, be a work for the single screen, an interdisciplinary site-specific work, or a stage performance work that draws upon an area of practice that is central to your interests and aspirations. This project will have individual tutor guidance but is also largely self-directed. A single summative assessment will conclude this, the final module of your masters degree.
Assessment: Performance 100%
Work is assessed through a range of methods including: Performances, Presentations, Written Work, Journals and a 7,500 word Research Paper.
A characteristic of this Masters is that it is partly taught through intensive weekend or week-long sessions. In addition, weekly seminars are ideally attended in person but may be attended via Skype or similar in negotiation with your tutor. Other seminars and classes are open to you, including technique and somatic practice, seminars from the School of Music and Performing Arts Centre for Performance Research, and a number of special events, both off and on campus, that are flagged as the year progresses.
Dance facilities at our Newton Park campus include two equipped dance studios, the University Theatre, a Mac video editing suite, additional rehearsal spaces for independent study, and access to green screen film studios. We make full use of Minerva, the university’s virtual learning environment, and other on-line tutoring facilities. 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, as well as our professional partnerships.
In addition to your work on the campus, teaching supports e-learning, e-tutorials and placements. You will be given the opportunity to undertake some study from a distance, and 2014/15 students have performed or created work in Indonesia, Malta, and China. Studio and edit suite facilities for your creative practice will be negotiated, as much as possible, to fit in with your calendar and timetable needs.
An applicant's suitability will be assessed through an application statement and a sample of work on video (5 minutes maximum). Applicants will be invited to interview. This can be online through Skype or similar.
To apply for the programme, please email our Admissions team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will then contact you to discuss matters further, or telephone +44(0)1225 875624.
International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.
For any other enquiries about the course, please contact Chris Lewis-Smith on +44(0)1225 876121 or email email@example.com
A dance-based first degree (2:2 or above) or a relevant professional qualification/experience equivalent.
Having a post-graduate qualification opens up a range of options in the world of dance related work, and beyond. Postgraduate dance studies at Bath Spa University focus closely on you as an independent dance artist and you may choose to go on to be a choreographer, performer, teacher, filmmaker, or a combination of these things. However, the course is also designed to help you develop versatility and understanding of how to market and present your work in a professional manner. These skills, and the skills associated with creativity and performance, are highly transferrable to a wide range of creative working situations.
Graduates from the BA (Hons) Dance at Bath Spa University achieve above average ‘graduate level’ jobs 6 months after graduating at 71.4% and a 98% overall employment rate (2010/11 BSU data). We anticipate that our graduates' success will be continued as this existing successful programme provides its first Masters level study opportunity from 2014.
What students say...
'As a part time student the MA Dance is giving me the opportunity to deepen my research in a creative and supportive environment. Tutors and staff are highly trained and incredibly helpful with a lot of knowledge to share.
The course has a rich structure of seminars with guest tutors which have been enriching my development as a movement artist both as a performer and as a film maker.'
Silvia Carderelli. MA Dance student 2015/17
'The tutors are very experienced and have really supported my development as a dance artist'
Karolina Nieduza. MA Dance student 2015
'MA Dance has given me the opportunity to explore different approaches in making work. The quality of teaching has inspired me to shake up my ideas and chuck out conventional perceptions that block my creativity. This course offers me, a dancer, opera singer, choreographer and composer, an inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary emphasis in practice and research, which takes me on unexpected journeys. The modules, academic guidance and guest lecturers provide an ideal balance for growth and development in this highly competitive profession.'
Francesca Best. MA Dance student 2015
'The past year has been the most amazing 12 months. I have found so many new ways of creating work and doing this course has not only given me the confidence to put my work out there but has also enabled me to really find myself as a choreographer and performer. You have provided us all with an amazingly supportive environment without which I would not have been confident enough to push myself to the point I have. I can not thank you enough for all your support.' Naomi Hunter. MA Dance student, 2015
'I started studying at Bath Spa University in September 2015. The university is a place of inspiration where people respect creativity. Its beautiful campus, located in Newton Park, provides students with convenient study facilities full of technology. The rich resources enable students to make progress in their studies. I am currently a MA Dance research student in the School of Music and Performing Arts. The combination of dance and movie modules in this course has inspired me with rich ideas as well as fulfilling my dream of movies. The wide range of practice opportunities has made me understand the depth of my creativity and thinking. I used to view myself as a dancer on the stage, however, after gaining more practice and experience, I consider myself more of a creator who can create arts products as a whole. The innovative course structure stimulates my curiosity and encourages me to study constantly'.
Yu Zhou. MA Dance Student. 2015/16