Advanced Dance Performance MA

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Course starts: 14 October 2019Apply now

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Develop your dance practice and technique, learn and develop choreography and performance. Be part of a touring company creating exciting new work, led by nationally acclaimed choreographers. Get taught by leading arts practitioners and educators.

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This brand new MA is offered by North East dance organisation Dance City in partnership with the University of Sunderland. The course is delivered by Dance City, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, and validated by the University of Sunderland.

The course is a practice-based qualification which offers new and recent dance graduates the opportunity to develop their dance practice and technique, learn and develop choreography and perform their work. 

Dance Technique:
Advanced technical training in ballet and contemporary styles
Complementary techniques – pilates, fitness training, strength and conditioning

Dance Performance:
Rigorous and detailed study of selected repertoire works
Development and performance of 3 x newly commissioned works
Touring of created works 

Professional Contexts:
Development and realisation of a choreographed work, delivery of teaching sessions or a cross-arts project (film, installation etc). MA participants will be part of a touring company creating exciting new work, led by nationally acclaimed choreographers. Daily technique classes as well as regular workshops will ensure the company is well prepared to perform extensively across the UK.

The course will be based at Dance City’s flagship venue in Newcastle and brand new studios at The Fire Station in Sunderland. Dance City are at the interface of the professional and education sector and have extensive skills in working with and in the professional sector and within the student marketplace, hosting hundreds of students each year.

Dance City logo

Why us?

  • Access state of the art facilities at Dance City
  • As a University of Sunderland student, you will also benefit from all of the University facilities and support on offer
  • Increase your earning and employability potential
  • Learn from leading sector professionals

New Sunderland Culture logo

A city brimming with creative potential

Offering a year-round programme of exhibitions, events and performances, Sunderland Culture brings big-name artists from the worlds of contemporary visual arts, glass, ceramics and performance to the city, alongside showcasing the best and most exciting local talent. There is a huge range of opportunities for students to visit the venues, take part in events and get involved in the programme. Learn more about Sunderland Culture.

Course structure

All three modules on the MA Advanced Dance Performance take a longitudinal approach with assessment points throughout the year of study. Individual progress, personal development and future employability underpin the delivery and are at the heart of all teaching and learning. As the course prioritises physical and technical development, the modules in Advanced Dance Technique and Advanced Dance Performance are worth 70 credits each.

The modules complement each other and it is expected that you use a cross-curricula approach to all aspects of their learning. For example, classical ballet is taught as a core technique in the Advanced Dance Technique module, however you will not be performing classical ballet pieces when touring, rather you are expected to use the knowledge gained in classical sessions to enhance your contemporary work and to draw on the choreographic explorations required in the Advanced Dance Performance module. By using this approach you are developing an embodied and deep understanding of your technical options and gaining an advanced awareness of your own physicality. Classical ballet is also an important requirement for dancers when auditioning for work with professional companies and so is considered a relevant and realistic employability skill.

Practical sessions are led by highly experienced tutors who are experts in their fields. Detailed and in depth physical exploration into practical concepts is explored and the application of feedback is a necessary part of the learning throughout the course. Tasks are specifically designed to enable you to discover and understand links between techniques, choreographic ideas and abstract concepts. You will be given individual and group feedback which you will critically evaluate in relation to your own physicality and apply it appropriately to your practical work.

As the course progresses you are expected to problem solve and adapt your practices more confidently. Tutors become increasingly removed from technical problem solving and you are expected to apply your knowledge with more awareness of your body and to make positive decisions about artistic style. You are always supported throughout the course but it is vital that you begin to trust your own judgement and this is encouraged as the course evolves.

The course focuses heavily on continuous assessment. You are expected to develop reflective skills using a journal or video diary to assist you in evaluating and analysing your own development. All performances are live graded. At the end of the Advanced Dance in Performance module you will submit a show reel for assessment while the Professional contents module is assessed against the learning outcomes in a mode which you select.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Advanced Dance Technique (70 credits)

  • Advanced Dance in Performance (70 credits)

The Advanced Dance Technique module and the Advanced Dance in Performance module significantly inform each other and the interplay between technique and choreography are acknowledged and developed through a holistic approach to your individual development. The ability to select contemporary and classical techniques appropriate to each choreographic work is a key feature of this programme and is a realistic and important aspect of employability.

  • Professional Contexts (40 credits)

The Professional Contexts module assesses you against the learning outcomes in a mode which you select. For example, if a choreographic work is devised as the final project this will be assessed, if a lecture demonstration is delivered, this will be assessed. This flexibility in approach ensures that your individual learning and goals are recognised and allows you to take control of your own development.

More about MA Advanced Dance Performance at Sunderland

Discover more articles
  • Dance City is a major UK and international centre for dance. They are a purpose built environment with 5 studios, meeting rooms, café and theatre. They host performances throughout the year from visiting professional companies, and provide opportunities for regional dancers to showcase their work. They deliver 85 community classes each week and have many years’ experience of delivering degree and BTEC courses with performance, education and community at the heart of their work.

    They are linked to the National Dance Network, a meeting point of organisations in the UK who support and develop artists from across the world.

    Dance City
    Temple Street
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    NE1 4BR

    Dance City Sunderland
    The Fire Station
    High Street West
    SR1 3EX

    Tel: 0191 261 0505

    Dance City
  • The University Library subscribes to a comprehensive range of academic journals and databases so you can access reliable and up-to-date information.

    Our experienced Library team provide a high-quality service and are sensitive to the requirements and working methods of our students. A dedicated Academic Liaison Librarian supports students and staff in the arts, design and performing arts disciplines.

    Students are encouraged to develop their research skills, working with lecturers and library staff to cultivate their knowledge of contemporary and historical perspectives of performing arts, as well as the wider contexts of their subject.

    The key resources for your course include:

    Discover: The Library’s multi-disciplinary search tool

    Art Full Text: A major resource for media and arts information

    Dance in Video: Giving access to dance productions and documentaries in the 20th century

    JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’): Providing access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences

    Lexis: A major resource of full-text newspaper articles and legal information

    Library Services - performing arts


The course is delivered in Dance City’s landmark building in Newcastle city centre, utilising the studios and theatre. The Dance City venue is the ideal place for you to be based. It programmes more professional performances in its theatre each year than any other theatre outside London.

You will also access the library, a range of student support services, student accommodation and generous scholarships through the University of Sunderland.

Entry requirements

We usually require you to have a good undergraduate degree in a dance or performing arts discipline, relevant experience or equivalent qualifications.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is £9,500.

Please note that this course is not available to international students.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

This information was correct at the time of publication.

City Campus by night


You will develop advanced skills and an understanding about working at an advanced level as a professional dance artist or practitioner in a range of contexts such as health, education and community engagement. You will leave this course with the knowledge required to work at the highest level in the dance sector.

Dance City

Dance City is a vibrant and friendly place where people come together to take part, enjoy, experience and talk about dance; where professional and aspiring dancers meet, learn and train; somewhere to watch world-class dance performances and somewhere for everyone to come along and get involved in dance.

People come to Dance City to socialise, learn new skills, keep fit and active, train professionally and find out more about dance.

This all takes place under one roof, in the purpose-built dance-house, in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne.

What can I expect to develop?

  • Improved dance technique across a variety of styles
  • An advanced understanding of choreographic practice
  • An advanced understanding of how to work with choreographers
  • An advanced understanding of how to work as part of a team/ company
  • An advanced understanding of creative choreographic input within a company
  • A better understanding of the dance touring landscape and opportunities
  • The capability to reflect on learning and express this to another
  • Deeper understanding of current choreographic/dance trends
  • Ability to absorb different learning methodologies and embody them

Meet the team

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