Professional Dance BA (Hons)

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Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now

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Celebrate all aspects of dance. Challenge yourself physically and mentally. Become a performer, choreographer or teacher.

Book on the Dance City Open Day


This unique course 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 is validated by the University of Sunderland.

The course has been designed by industry professionals to prepare you for a varied and multi-faceted career, ensuring you’re able to function professionally in a range of roles and settings in the dance industry.

It’s a challenging course and will demand much of you physically and mentally across the three years of practice and study.

In completing different creative, practical and academic projects you will often work with other students as part of a team. While you are focusing on your own work, collaborating with others will also be a key element in successfully completing the course (as it is in any area of the dance industry). Your commitment, then, to engaging with all the aspects of the course will make your time here more beneficial and more fun.

If you’re passionate about dance and dream of a career as a professional practitioner, then this course will provide you with the skills, knowledge and experiences you need to excel.

Dance City logo

Why us?

  • You'll be based at Dance City in Newcastle, the National Dance Agency for the North East of England. Dance City can offer further opportunities to explore a variety of dance styles
  • You will benefit from the passion, experience and dedication of inspiring tutors who have worked within the dance industry as professional performers, choreographers, teachers, managers or academics
  • As a University of Sunderland student, you will also benefit from all of the University facilities and support on offer
  • Dance City has a unique approach, nurturing dance careers in education, health and management as well as performance
  • Dance training is daily and rigorous, with technique classes taught with live musical and percussive accompaniment
  • Nationally renowned guest artists and choreographers are regularly invited to teach and these may include Joss Arnott, Angus Balbernie, Kerry Biggin, Gary Clarke, Neus Gil Cortes, Rosie Kay, Kerry Nicholls, ReGina Wielingen and Renaud Wiser

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

This course is practically focused and has a strong emphasis on developing your dance technique. You’ll spend up to 75% of your study time in the dance studio, undergoing rigorous technical training aimed at supporting you to fulfill your potential, and help to push you to the highest levels of excellence.

The course celebrates all aspects of dance and you’ll be encouraged and inspired to become a versatile professional, able to achieve a long-term career with real world skills and viable career opportunities.

Study will be divided into three focused areas: professional practice, education and management.

These modules will develop your abilities and physical understanding of accurate and artistic dance technique. You will cover a wide range of dance styles with a major focus on contemporary techniques and ballet, with further studies in urban/street, jazz and world.

Working with a diverse range of professional choreographers, you will gain an understanding of various choreographic processes and learn how to develop your own style and ideas, with annual performances in Dance City's working professional theatre.

Teaching methods include a mixture of classroom, practical work, workshops and seminars.

Assessment includes a mix of assignments, reports, presentations, case studies and practical work-based portfolios.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Dance Technique 1
  • Dance in Performance 1
  • Dance Management 1
  • The Fundamentals of Dance Teaching
  • The Evolution of Choreography
  • Dance Management 1
  • Preparing to Teach in the Community

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Dance Technique 2
  • Dance in Performance 2
  • Dance Management 2
  • Dance Teaching and Teaching Practice
  • Supporting Techniques
  • Choreographers Today

Year 3 (national level 6):

Choose one of two pathways:

Performance Pathway

  • Dance Leadership and Teaching Practice
  • Project Leadership
  • Working in Dance
  • Dance in Performance 3
  • Creating Dance

Management Pathway

  • Dance Leadership and Teaching Practice
  • Project Leadership
  • Working in Dance
  • Research Project
  • Arts Administration

More about BA (Hons) Professional Dance 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


All of your practical and academic sessions will take place at Dance City in Newcastle upon Tyne, which will give you access to professional tutors and facilities as well as placing you at the heart of the region’s dance industry networks.

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

Entry requirements


We usually require applicants to have 112 UCAS points from a minimum of three A Levels or a BTEC Extended Diploma (DMM or above) or equivalent (eg: 1 AVCE double award / HEFC).

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator.

We accept a maximum of 6 points from Level 3 Key Skills qualifications.

We also require 2 passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

Those without traditional qualifications may be offered a place, depending on a successful interview/audition.

In your first week, you will be required to complete an enhanced DBS check with Dance City. Successful completion of this and subsequent DBS enhanced clearance will allow you to undertake placements in schools and with young people. If you are not able to obtain an enhanced DBS check, you will not be able to undertake these placements and alternative placements will be made available to you. If you believe you will not be eligible for enhanced DBS clearance, please contact Dance City direct to discuss your options.

Please note that you will be required to purchase appropriate dance wear.


Places on this course are limited so you must be able to demonstrate the following: a basic grounding in one or more dance styles, excellent basic coordination, excellent musicality and sense of rhythm, good ability to pick up movement and to push yourself physically, good physical potential, a desire to dance/teach/choreograph as a career.

Audition requirements

If your application is successful you will be invited to attend an interview which includes an audition, held at Dance City, Newcastle. You will be asked to take part in a ballet barre, a contemporary class, and also have the option of performing a solo dance piece in any genre, of no more than one minute in length that demonstrates your strength and ability.

For more information on this programme and details of upcoming open days, please visit Dance City.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU

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


This course develops skills, knowledge and understanding that will equip you for a range of careers in performance, dance marketing and management, choreography, dance journalism, community dance and technical aspects of production.

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.

Career options

Dance City graduates are working in the dance sector in a number of industries:

Running community dance classes, teaching dance in schools, training in dance rehabilitation and therapy, managing their own dance academies, training to teach dance in schools, studying for dance MAs and working with regional, national and international dance companies.

Performing dance

Dance City graduates are currently working with the following dance companies: State of Emergency, VerveLo-Giudice Dance, Fertile Ground, Rosie Kay Dance Company, Southpaw Dance Company, Kelly Abbot Dance, Mapdance and balletLorent.

Dance education

Dance City graduates are teaching dance and undertaking further teaching qualifications with the following companies: Dance City, Decote Dance School, RGS, and Dame Allen’s School.

Dance in health

Some Dance City graduates are pursuing a career in the health industry including training to become registered therapists in rehabilitation.

Meet the team

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