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BA Hons Dance

Course description for the undergraduate Dance programme at the School of Creative Arts, University of Ulster

The Dance degree programme is presented in three strands: Professional Arts Practice, Creative Dance Practice and Contexts for Dance Practice.

 

Major Dance students take the Creative Dance Practice and Contexts for Dance Practice strands. Minor Dance students follow the Contexts for Dance Practice strand only.

 

The Professional Arts Practice strand begins with an introductory module preparing you for the interdisciplinary modules that deal with generic skills and knowledge in professional Arts practice, incorporating examples and experience from Drama, Dance and Music.

 

The first module of the Creative Dance Practice strand introduces you to fundamental components of choreography and each of the following four modules takes a different approach. The skills learned in these modules support the Professional Arts Practice modules in that they help you to bring specialist creative dance skills to the more generic skills and understanding you will be learning in Professional Arts Practice. The final module in this strand is an Independent Choreographic Project in which you can choose the choreographic approach (or combination of approaches) you wish to take to a piece. In all the choreography modules you are encouraged to work with other students in the School of Creative Arts but this is particularly the case with the Structures module. Here the assessment requires you to work with live music and this is most often provided by Music students. In the Choreography and Technology module you will be given opportunities to work with students from the Creative Technologies degree, while the Independent Choreographic Project has seen a number of collaborations with composers and designers.

 

The Contexts for Dance Practice strand investigates the historical and cultural contexts of the development of contemporary dance practice from nineteenth-century Ballet and twentieth-century Modern Dance up to the current dance world you will find yourself in when you leave the programme. The final module in this strand is an Independent Project, which is an opportunity for you to pursue one line of investigation in breadth and depth. The area of investigation can be drawn from either the Contexts for Dance or the Professional Arts Practice strand.

 

For further information on studying Dance at Ulster, course structure and entry requirements please visit the course prospectus here

 

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Modules

    Year 1

  • Historical Contexts for Dance (DAN109)
    Semester 1
    • Historical Contexts for Dance traces some of the main lines of development towards the professional dance practice taking place in the UK and Ireland today. By so doing, it enables students to examine historical, social and artistic contexts for the dance practice that is being undertaken in the rest of the programme. It also allows students to reflect on Dance as an Art form in comparison to other Art forms, considering genres such as Classicism, Romanticism and Modernism across the Arts. The focus of the module is on the development of Modern Dance from Ballet and tracing that development through to the present day. The students experience selected examples visually, aurally and physically and these examples are placed in the context of Classicism, Romanticism and Modernism in other Art forms. The students are given weekly classes in two appropriate dance techniques and have group sessions in essay-writing.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Introduction to Professional Arts Practice (DAN107)
    Semester 1
    • Introduction to Professional Arts Practice introduces students to knowledge of the present day landscape for the dance practitioner and enables students to develop an understanding of the many contexts within which creative dance practice is produced and received.  It will introduce key organisations, support infrastructures and current thinking about dance practice in the UK and Ireland. In particular the module will explore the roots of community dance practice and dance in education and the context for the development of these particular areas of practice. It will explore significant developments and interrogate the principles and values inherent in these particular contexts for dance. The module will provide a foundation to support learning in further modules such as Performance Technologies, Arts Administration, Educational Arts, Arts Entrepreneurship and Performing Community.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Introduction to Creative Dance Practice (DAN108)
    Semester 1
    • Introduction to Creative Dance Practice introduces students to fundamental choreographic skills in relation to movement vocabulary as well as introducing physical technical skills to support this exploration. The module is the first in a choreographic strand that supports the Professional Arts Practice strand by enabling students to work creatively with movement. It is in turn supported by the Historical Contexts for Dance 1 module, in that both share the same examples of key choreographers and dance practitioners of the early twentieth century who have concentrated on the development of new movement vocabularies for specific purposes.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Structuring Creative Dance (DAN110)
    Semester 2
    • Structuring Creative Dance focuses on some of the many processes for structuring phrases, sections and complete dance pieces. The students continue to take a selection of contemporary dance classes through this module, enabling them to create, rehearse and perform their own choreography. The core of the module is a series of practical sessions focusing on choreographic structures. Taking the compositional method of working with existing music as a useful starting point for structuring creative dance, it explores the various ways in which choreographers can, and have, worked closely with music. The module also introduces students to structural analysis of dance works, giving the students practical experience of the essential interplay between creativity and analysis of what is being created.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Historical Contexts for Dance (DAN111)
    Semester 2
    • Historical Contexts for Dance places key figures and works in twentieth-century American Modern Dance in wider artistic and social contexts. The focus of the module is on the development of techniques and choreographic approaches developed by such artists as Duncan, St Denis, Shawn, Graham and Cunningham. The students experience selected examples visually, aurally and physically and they are encouraged to make comparisons between these experiences and what they learn of contemporaneous developments in other Art forms, in particular, Modernism. The students are given weekly classes in two appropriate dance techniques and have one lecture and one seminar each week.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Performance Technologies (DAN110)
    Semester 2
    • Performance Technologies equips students to manage performance events of knowledge in real space and time by developing basic skills in lighting, sound and digital projection technology and a grounding in stage management. This provides them with a language with which to communicate staging ideas and the practical skills to run events. This is a practically-focused module which enables students to develop the skills to run a performance event, using theatrical lighting and sound equipment and media for digital presentation. Students learn the processes of stage management and how to implement these in supporting practical projects across the semester. Assessment is by 100% coursework.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Year 2

  • Working Creatively in Contact Improvisation (DAN307)
    Semester 1
    • Working Creatively in Contact Improvisation takes choreographic and dance-performance skills into the realm of Contact Improvisation. It gives students physical experience in working “in the moment” with each other, developing their awareness of themselves and each other in time and space. The students are enabled to take this physical awareness, and skills to work creatively in dance, into a number of areas of Professional Arts Practice. The module also helps students to understand the background and development of those choreographers who have worked with and from Contact Improvisation, studied in Cultural Contexts for Dance 1.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Arts Administration (DRA315)
    Semester 1
    • This is one of a sequence of related but free standing modules which seek to develop students’ understanding of entrepreneurship and of the relationship between enterprise and the context in which art is produced and received. The module aims to enable them to acquire skills relevant to working in the arts industries. It has a crucial function, therefore, in developing students’ career prospects and in preparing them to undertake appropriate work placement at the end of the second semester of year 2.

      Credits: 20

      This Module Is Compulsory

      Staff

  • Cultural Contexts for Dance 1 (DAN308)
    Semester 1
    • Cultural Contexts for Dance 1 investigates aesthetic and cultural issues surrounding the emergence of Release Technique and Contact Improvisation in dance practice in North America over the last 50 years. Tracing the history of these developments, the module provides a context for the parallel Creative Dance Practice module in Contact Improvisation. It also investigates a particular construction of postmodernism within the development of performance art in the USA revealing ways in which this is both similar to and different from other constructions of postmodernism.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Educational Arts (DRA313)
    Semester 2
    • This module develops the ability of students to plan and deliver creative arts workshops for education and development. Students will engage with a range of theory about learning, undertake practical workshops as a member of a group, and facilitate workshop activities. Assessment is 100% coursework.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

      Tom Maguire - Module Co-ordinator

      Sandie Fisher -

  • Cultural Contexts for Dance 2 (DAN310)
    Semester 2
    • Cultural Contexts for Dance 2 investigates aesthetic and cultural issues arising from developments in contemporary dance practice over the last three to four decades with a particular focus on Physical Theatre.  While the module can stand alone as part of a minor Dance route, it is also designed to match the parallel Creative Dance Practice module, enabling students to reflect critically on their own creative and physical practice.  The module also draws on and further develops the investigation of Reception theory begun in Cultural Contexts for Dance 1 and examines such issues as gender construction and sexual politics, as raised in such exponents of Physical Theatre as Pina Bausch and Lloyd Newson. 

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Working Creatively in Dance-Theatre (DAN309)
    Semester 2
    • Working Creatively in Dance-Theatre takes choreographic and dance-performance skills into the realm of Dance/Theatre – sometimes called Physical Theatre. It gives students physical experience in working with voice, body posture and gesture as well as movement, to evoke specific emotions or meanings. It thus provides another creative process that can support working creatively with Dance in a range of Professional Arts Practice contexts. The practical investigation of Dance/Theatre in this module both aids understanding, and is informed by, the more theoretical investigation of key practitioners working in this genre, in the parallel Contexts for Dance module. The module explores the movement and vocal skills required to participate in dance-theatre (Physical Theatre). It also investigates various ways in which content, meaning and narrative can be constructed and interpreted within dance theatre. The students have weekly workshops in which they develop both performance and creative skills and they are also shown examples of key figures working in Physical Theatre, both on video and, whenever possible, live. At the same time students continue to take three classes a week in appropriate dance techniques in order to enable them to experiment physically in their own and others’ creative work.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Year 3

  • Technology in Creative Dance Practice (DAN507)
    Semester 1
    • Technology in Creative Dance Practice introduces students to the employment of a selection of technologies in both the process and product of creative dance practice. In so doing it enables students to engage with new technologies when they are working creatively in a range of Professional Arts Practice contexts and also to document that practice. The module will also help students to develop their own personal creative work by introducing new technological possibilities in both creation and performance. The students continue to receive regular classes in technical dance practice in order to be able to have movement to address through the various technologies investigated.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Arts Entrepreneurship ( DRA517)
    Semester 1
    • This is one of a sequence of related but free standing modules which seek to develop students’ understanding of the context in which art is produced and received and to enable them to acquire skills relevant to working in the creative and arts industries. This module assists students in developing specific skills and awareness to maximise their ability to meet their career goals. It has a crucial function, therefore, in developing students’ career prospects and in preparing them to engage in the world of work within the creative industries upon graduating.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Issues in Dance Research (DAN508)
    Semester 1
    • Issues in Dance Research is a preparation for the Independent Project and offers opportunities for students to raise issues they meet in researching topics of their own choice in depth. These issues, for example particular research methodologies or aspects of critical thinking, are investigated and discussed by the group as whole. Sub-groups are then identified, in the manner of research clusters, and they then make presentations to the rest of the year-group. In negotiation with the tutor, each student selects a topic or area, constructs a research question and devises a plan of action for addressing this question. The topic may relate to any area of dance studied. It may draw on and develop skills, knowledge and experiences from any part of the dance degree.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Independent Project (DAN510)
    Semester 2
    • Independent Project offers an opportunity for students to pursue a topic of their own choice in depth. In negotiation with the tutor, each student selects a topic or area, constructs a research question and devises a plan of action for addressing this question. The topic may draw on and develop skills, knowledge and experiences from any part of the dance degree programme and it may incorporate practical investigation and outcomes as well as written. The proportion of practical and written work will be negotiated with the module co-ordinator but the outcome must be at least 50% written.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Independent Choreographic Project (DAN509)
    Semester 2
    • Independent Choreographic Project provides an opportunity for students to develop their individual choreographic practice with the goal of presenting a finished piece at the end of the module. Students will select, integrate and develop skills they have explored through all five previous Creative Dance Practice modules to create, develop and rehearse a dance, or dance-based, piece. The students will be encouraged to collaborate with students from other disciplines within the School in the creation and/or performance/presentation of the final piece. The module is designed to give students the freedom to specialise in an area of choreographic practice of their choice. A series of practical seminars explores and develops choreographic processes with the students choosing the focus of each session, depending on their own independent choreographic investigations. The practical sessions depend on students being articulate and versatile in dance practice and they, accordingly, continue to take contemporary dance technique classes through the module. As the module progresses, students spend more time developing their own pieces with tutoring available from the Dance faculty.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

  • Performing Community (DRA518)
    Semester 2
    • This module builds on the work of students in previous semesters in developing their abilities to create performance works. Here, students use these abilities to respond to the rights, needs and demands of communities in creating original performance works which might articulate or respond to some aspect of the community’s identity or experience, or assist in the development of that community.Students will develop methodologies in engaging with communities and will have the opportunity to work with others across different disciplines. The module covers three main areas of content: a) ethnographic practices within community settings b) methodologies for creating community performances c) the creation and enactment of a community performance project. These will be articulated through the development of students as reflective practitioners, able to link theoretical and critical principles with their own experience of creative practice in community settings through a number of learning cycles.

      Credits: 20

      Staff

      Sandie Fisher -

      Paul Moore - Lecturer

      Tom Maguire - Module Co-ordinator

Staff