Dance at UCS is at the forefront of dance practice, with exciting new facilities which support students’ cultural, social, artistic and academic development. Studying Dance at UCS encompasses a wide range of professional dance practices that integrate dance as performance, dance as making and dance as participation. On this dynamic course, students study performance, choreography, dance history and criticism, dance science, dance education and applied dance practice. Students work with a highly qualified course team who are experienced practitioners, artists, researchers, companies and organisations throughout all three years of the course. Students also benefit from working with guest artists throughout their studies.
Our two, newly-equipped and purpose-built studios have a fully functioning performance space, with lighting, sound and projection facilities. Opportunities to perform, make and see work are numerous both within UCS and the surrounding area. Students also have an opportunity to participate in classes at DanceEast’s new home, the Jerwood DanceHouse, which is a five minute walk away on the Ipswich Waterfront. We work closely with DanceEast and other national partners to foster opportunities for students to apply their skills within the working context.
Dancers: Sarah Gilson, Kirsty Lock, Ben Turnham, Demi Milton, Vanessa Mansaray, Keisha-Paris Banya and Lauren Cowley
Photography: Rachel Cherry and Hayley Ryan
Content and Modules
The course runs for 5 days a week over two semesters, developing across the three years through a series of progressive modules. Lectures are designed to practically engage students in learning with most modules being taught in the studios in the Arts Building. Level 4 modules are designed to lay a foundation through the development of subject specific skills as well as the necessary academic skills required to meet the demands of university study.
Level 5 modules further develop the students’ critical, analytical and reflective understanding and their ability to apply different principles, theories, techniques and approaches to their work.
Level 6 modules challenge the students’ understanding of practical and theoretical ideas through the application of their knowledge and experience to a range of more complex professional contexts.
Just five reasons to study Dance at UCS:
Technique classes for all students are available each day of the week
Supplemental dance fitness and Pilates training each week, plus access to classes at DanceEast
Choreographic and compositional exploration in a supportive, refreshing and challenging environment, drawing on the inspiring location of Ipswich and surrounding beauty of the Suffolk countryside and coast
A focus on creating employable, creative and adaptable dance professionals, capable of undertaking and initiating a range of roles in the dance and arts sector upon graduation, with volunteering opportunities on your doorstep at DanceEast
A chance to be a member of Forefront Dance, a company for all dance students to work with international choreographers and dance professionals such as Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company and Rachel Cherry
Student testimonials “The course gives us the opportunity to experience working with a range of people of different ages, abilities and cultures, providing a greater knowledge than a normal dance degree and allowing us to find our own specific area of interest.” (Oliver Tibble, Level 6)
“I feel that this course, which focuses on contemporary dance techniques, creative work and a balance of theory and practice, in really well equipped facilities, will provide me with the platform I need to fulfil my ambitions.” (Kirsty Lock, Level 4)
Dancers: Oliver Tibble, Amy Finnigan and Nathan Jackson
Photography: Hayley Fraser-Howe and Rachel Cherry
The staff team place great importance on helping students with their careers. All staff maintain professional careers in dance as artists, choreographers and researchers, and focus on bringing back this expertise to inform the curriculum throughout. As such the BA (Hons) Dance course maintains an up to date understanding of the wider dance and arts context, and students benefit from the valuable networks which the staff bring with them to their roles. Employers also provide lectures and classes throughout the three years of study to introduce the dance workplace and discuss what it is to be an employable dance graduate, and the skills and attitudes needed to succeed in this field.
Our preparation culminates in an intensive work placement as part of the final year, with past students working across the country on different projects and with many organisations, including DanceXChange, Gecko Theatre Company, DanceEast, Norfolk Dance, London Contemporary Dance School, Trinity Laban and others. Careers in dance include making and performing work in a variety of contexts, working in professional companies as performance and outreach artists, developing dance in school and community settings for people of all ages and abilities, managing and administrating dance and arts projects and employing dance in a range of settings to address health, economic and other societal needs.
At UCS students have the chance to try all of this and more with opportunities to specialise in their chosen areas of interest, whilst maintaining a broad palette of skills necessary in the age of the portfolio artist.
'DanceXchange hosted a placement student from UCS in 2011 and were very impressed with her commitment, drive and organisational skills. She was able to grasp complicated projects quickly and devised strategies for increasing engagement with our activity, demonstrating a good understanding of dance education, communication skills, and time-management. We were very pleased with her work and trust that the knowledge she gained from working with us – and understanding how an organisation such as ours works, and interconnects projects – will help her employability in the future.'
Jane Ralls, Dance Development Director, DanceXchange, Birmingham.
'It was a pleasure to host a UCS placement. We had a mutually enjoyable and worthwhile experience which benefited both parties. We found our placement student resourceful, conscientious and a delight to host. She made an excellent contribution to the organisation and quickly established herself as very much part of the team. We were sorry when the placement came to an end!'
Derek Purnell, Norfolk Dance
Dancers: Alex Stevens, Kirsty Lock, Kate Hodkinson, Forefront Dance Company
Photography: Hannah Whiting and Rachel Cherry