University of Chester

Programme Specification
Dance BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)



University of Chester

University of Chester

Kingsway Campus, Chester

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - October




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Performing Arts

Dance, Drama and Performance (DDP)


Performing Arts

Wednesday 16th January 2013

The purpose of the programme is to provide students with experience and knowledge in dance practice, which draws upon a range of performance, education and community perspectives. It aims to provide an environment of innovative learning, extending the study of dance far beyond its traditional boundaries, equipping students with the necessary tools and experience to find lasting employment in the dance profession and related fields. The modules on offer are intended to provide a broad based dance curriculum which seeks to provide students with intellectual, artistic and creative challenges, encouraging the development of a diverse range of key practical and cognitive skills essential for survival in the current cultural and economic climate or preparation for further study. The undergraduate single honours programme aims to:

  • Foster in students a well-developed movement intelligence, linked with a reflective, critically informed approach to current dance practice;
  • Ensure that students engage in critical debate associated with this field of study and relate this to their own developing practice;
  • Provide the conceptual tools and practical experience in performing, creating work and applications for specific contexts and diverse audiences;
  • Offer opportunities for students to reflect on their work through the provision of diagnostic, formative and summative feedback;
  • Offer a supportive learning environment, encouraging students to achieve in a culture of openness and dialogue.
  • produce supportive and motivated graduates willing to work cooperatively as part of a team yet ready to work with initiative and enterprise as an independent practitioner;
  • To achieve graduateness and subsequent employability in the arts and cultural industries.

Key knowledge areas are a firm grasp of dance, the wider field of performance, and a systematic knowledge of the core areas as identified in section 27.

Level 4

Identify and understand methods and approaches of dance and movement techniques, compositional organisation and dance making, performance processes, histories and production and applied practices. [PA4110, PA4112, PA4113, PA4801, PA4802]

Level 5

Apply analytical approaches to develop conceptual understanding, techniques and practices within dance and performance. [ PA5112, PA5114, PA5115, PA5116, PA5121, PA5216, PA5214, PA5215, PA5001, PA5801, WB5101, WB5004, WB5008]

Level 6

Demonstrate contextual knowledge and ability to analyse, interrogate or create, and present findings or results, in a coherent and appropriate format relevant to the fields of study. [PA6112, PA6115, PA6001, PA6002, PA6003, PA6004, PA6010, PA6105, PA6301]



Level 4

Demonstrate emerging research capabilities and reflective practices within an ethos of creativity and exploration to examine dance or performance concepts, compositional approaches, participatory contexts and performance paradigms. [PA4110, PA4112, PA4113, PA4801, PA4802]

Show an understanding of the relationship and interplay between theory and practice in dance. [PA4110, PA4801, PA4112, PA4113]

Level 5

Appreciate and employ methods in the subject and/or approaches in practice, critically evaluating the inquiry and ability to exemplify relationship with what has been learned and a wider contextual and/or cultural discourse. [PA5112, PA5114, PA5115, PA5116, PA5121, PA5216, PA5214, PA5215, PA5801]

Show a critical understanding of the relationship between theory and practice, applying relevant approaches and methods to explain and demonstrate that interrelationship in a wider context. [PA5112, PA5114, PA5115, PA5116, PA5121, PA5001, PA5801, WB5101, WB5004, WB5008]

Level 6

Exemplify the ability to gather and assimilate information and to synthesise and organise relevant outputs. [PA6001, PA6002, PA6003, PA6004, PA6105, PA6112, PA6115, PA6010, PA6301]

Show an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in dance and performance, and be able to use relevant techniques and methods to explain and demonstrate that interrelationship. [PA6003, PA6004, PA6301, PA6112, PA6115]

Level 4

Demonstrate an understanding of the practices (contemporary and traditional), processes by which performance is created and realised, key practitioners and applied contexts and be able to place these within historical, social and cultural perspectives. [PA4110, PA4112, PA4113, PA4801, PA4802]

Level 5

Demonstrate critical understanding of the practices, traditions and histories of dance and performance, and place these within their historical, social and cultural contexts. [PA5112, PA5114, PA5115, PA5116, PA5121, PA5216, PA5214, PA5215, PA5801]

Understand professional practice and apply intellectual and imaginative skills in a variety of vocational, academic, educational and creative contexts. [PA5112, PA5114, PA5115, PA5116, PA5121, PA5216, PA5801, PA5001, WB5101, WB5004, WB5008 ]

Level 6

Exemplify competence in the practices, processes, techniques and methodologies required in the study of the relevant sub-discipline(s), and the ability to recognise, apply and synthesize knowledge and skills learnt through such study to other areas, or to other disciplines. [PA6112, PA6115, PA6001, PA6002, PA6105, PA6001, PA6002, PA6010, PA6301 ]

Demonstrate intellectual curiosity and the potential for continuing artistic and creative development. [PA6003, PA6004, PA6112, PA6115]

Level 4

Present a structured and coherent simple argument and be able to interpret and evaluate the underlying concepts and principles of the discipline. [All modules]

Level 5

Effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms. [all level 5 and 6 modules]

Level 6

Demonstrate the ability to present work in accessible form, intelligible to both expert and non-expert audiences (readers, consumers etc). Demonstrate the ability to develop ideas and construct arguments in both verbal and written form and to evaluate such ideas and arguments critically. [all level 6 modules]

All programmes in the Department of Performing Arts aim to develop students who are performance literate through rigorous engagement with theory, practice and notions of professional practice. Teaching in the department seeks to move students from being interested spectators and occasional practitioners towards being professionally engaged in their own practice and creative production. Most modules will encourage learning by trying and testing in the workshop environment under tutor supervision, but significant learning will also be planned through writing, lectures, demonstrations, screenings, seminars, dialogues, tutorials and relevant field visits. The Single Honours dance programme focuses on current dance practice as well as the wider field of performance. Throughout the programme theory and practice run side by side and module design is premised on student progression in learning.

Level 4 introduces performance, creative and contextual modules and allows for the development of discipline specific skills through which students will engage in workshops and dance classes, aiming to develop physical and somatic knowledge, movement intelligence and creative dance exploration in preparation for performance making. Alongside practice-led modules - Studio Practices 1; Choreography, Improvisation and Performance; Dance Projects - there is the opportunity to extend practical skills in the use of performance technology and dance devising through the module Performance and Technology. The module Introduction to the Study of Performance outlines important moments in the development of performance and dance: key practitioners, theories and practices supported by developing students understanding of scholarly practice including essay writing, reflective practice, presentations, referencing and bibliographies.
Level 5 extends knowledge acquired at Level 4. Physical dance abilities, the artistic body and somatic knowledge are extended in Studio Practices 2, Somatic Movement Practices and in Dance Making and Choreography, choreographic and compositional strategies provide students with rigorous experimentation and exploration platforms alongside developing evaluative abilities necessary in the realising and analysing of dance performance. Through theory and practice, the new and experimental are explored in relation to vocabularies and techniques, choreographic approaches and subject matter. Dance Teaching and Professional Development is designed to develop students’ teaching skills in various dance contexts and further their knowledge and understanding of the dance industry and professional preparation. It is hoped that for all dance students a thriving connection is made between being a dance artist and a facilitator, providing the knowledge and skills to apply in their chosen professional field of dance practice. Students will also have the option to choose one of the following: Interactive Intermedia Performance to further knowledge and applications of technology in performance or Urban and Street Dance, expanding knowledge and abilities of more popular dance forms within our dance cultural landscape or Site Specific Practices exploring site-responsive work in a range of non-theatrical spaces and places or Live Art exploring more experimental performance and in forging links between visual artists and those working in the field of theatre and performance or Performing Musical Theatre to provide opportunity for students to extend their performance skills and knowledge in singing, acting and dance. Students will also have the option to choose Enhancing your Employability through Work-Based Learning or Learning in the Wider World or the experiential learning module Performance Practice. These work-related modules affords students the flexibility to select a work-based learning experience that suits their needs and aspirations within the professional working environment either here in the UK or overseas.

WB5004 (Learning in the Wider World) is similar in ambition to WB5101 but facilitates undertaking the work based learning placement at a location outside the United Kingdom. WB5004, although available to all students as an alternative to WB5101, must be applied for and participation is restricted to students who meet the criteria of interview, attendance and behaviour during Level 5. All students will be required to receive clearance from their PAT prior to departing on their overseas placement. Students must complete and have a Risk Assessment approved before they are eligible for this module.

WB5008, The Study Abroad Experience, will be offered as a complementary year of study abroad to students who have successfully completed their second-year of study (level 5). Application will occur in January of Level 5. As such, students may be required to present evidence of successful completion of Level 4, satisfactory on-going assessment, academic references and attendance in order for their application to be accepted. Students must also complete a Risk Assessment to indicate that they are fully aware of the requirements for the exchange, university/college and destination that they are applying for.

Level 6 allows students to take greater responsibility for the planning and management of their own studies, as they have a more informed choice aligned to their individual future dance career aspirations. The compulsory module, Creative Practice, is to ensure that dance students have an informed critical and authoritative voice in professional creative processes, methodologies and approaches, whether they aspire to be a performer, choreographer, teacher, facilitator or producer. The development of personal artistry, agency and creative authority through and ownership of, emerging practice and performance is emphasised. Optional modules include: Emerging Dance Ensemble: Studio towards Performance, requiring a more advanced physical intelligence and reflective practice in studio-based technical dance classes as well as the body in performance. Students will refine their own physical dance and movement capabilities and expression, develop reflective and reflexive practice and employ collaborative and professional approaches. Developing Professional Practice aims to support students in planning their next step as a practitioner or as a continuing scholar. Screendance is a module that enables students who are interested in an exploration of dance film and technology, to examine the processes and issues raised by the translation and re-framing of dance by the camera. Liquid Space: The Intermedia Ensemble (for which PA5216 is a pre-requisite) requires students to focus on the inter-relationship of live performance and digital media and develop creative skills and understanding of the conventional and unconventional juxtapositions of media with live performance. Pedagogy and Policy presents students with a theoretical perspective on current education practice and debate. In addition, Negotiated Study and Dissertation modules provide students with flexibility at this stage in their learning in being able to make informed choices about practice-led research and/or written methodologies.



Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
PA4105 4 Dance Production 1 20 N/A
PA4110 4 Dance Projects 20 Comp
PA4111 4 Exploring Participatory Dance Practice in the 21st Century 20 N/A
PA4112 4 Choreography, Improvisation and Performance 20 Comp
PA4113 4 Studio Practices 1 40 Comp
PA4801 4 Introduction to the Study of Performance 20 Comp
PA4802 4 Performance and Technology 20 Comp
PA5001 5 Performance Practice 20 Optional
PA5111 5 Dance Teaching and Facilitating 20 N/A
PA5112 5 Dance Making and Choreography 20 Comp
PA5113 5 Studio Practices 2 40 N/A
PA5114 5 Studio Practices 2 20 Comp
PA5115 5 Somatic Movement Practices 20 Comp
PA5116 5 Dance Teaching and Professional Development 20 Optional
PA5121 5 Urban and Street Dance 20 Optional
PA5206 5 Interactive Digital Performance 20 N/A
PA5214 5 Site Specific Practices 20 Optional
PA5215 5 Live Art 20 Optional
PA5216 5 Interactive Intermedia Performance 20 Optional
PA5801 5 Performing Musical Theatre 20 Optional
WB5004 5 Learning in the Wider World 20 Optional
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional
PA6001 6 Negotiated Study (single) 20 Optional
PA6002 6 Negotiated Study (double) 40 Optional
PA6003 6 Dissertation (Performing Arts) 40 Optional
PA6004 6 Developing Professional Practice 20 Optional
PA6010 6 Pedagogy and Policy 20 Optional
PA6105 6 Screendance 20 Optional
PA6112 6 Creative Practice 20 Comp
PA6115 6 Emerging Dance Ensemble: Studio towards performance 40 Optional
PA6301 6 Liquid Space - The intermedia ensemble 20 Optional

Level four of the programme corresponds to Framework of Higher Education Qualification (FHEQ) Certificate level, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Certificate of Higher Education (120 Credits).

Level five of the programme corresponds to FHEQ Intermediate Level 5, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Diploma of Higher Education (240 Credits).

Level six of the programme corresponds to FHEQ Honours Level, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Bachelor Degree with Honours (360 Credits).

UCAS points: 112 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent. Typical offer - BCC/BBC

BTEC Extended Diploma: DMM

BTEC Diploma:D*D*

Irish/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects
International Baccalaureate: 26 points
Access Access to HE Diploma, to include 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at Merit

OCR National Extended Diploma - Merit 2
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma - DMM
OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma - D*D*

Additional Requirements:

You will be required to attend an audition which will consist of a 1 hour 30 minutes Studio Practice (technique) class and an 1 hour Creative Workshop. You will also be given the opportunity to see undergraduate work and the Performing Arts facilities.

Extra Information:

Please note that we accept a maximum of 8 points from GCE AS Levels and that Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and A level General Studies will be recognised in our offer. We will also consider a combination of A levels and BTECs/OCRs.

Candidates who do not meet the minimum entry requirements, or who have non-standard qualifications and/or relevant experience, are encouraged to apply and will be considered if they can demonstrate appropriate ability through their audition.

Mature entrants are welcomed on the course and may be admitted on the basis of relevant experience rather than standard qualifications.

The Subject Benchmark Statements for Dance, Drama and Performance are available on the QAA website ( The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) is the government agency that seeks to establish and maintain standards of academic quality and consistency across Higher Education programmes of study. The structure of the Single Honours Dance programmes takes into account the National Benchmark Statement for Dance, drama and performance, (DDP). Close attention has been paid to the DDP Benchmark Statements in reviewing this programme’s aims, content, learning outcomes and methods of learning, teaching and assessment.

The module learning outcomes drawn from the Indicative statements of threshold (Level Four) and focal (Levels Five and Six), levels of achievement, in relation to the “Knowledge, understanding and abilities”, “Subject Skills”, and “Generic and graduate skills”, benchmarks. Through engagement with theory, practice and professional practice, the Single Honours programme is rooted in the study of current contemporary dance practices. The programme aims to facilitate in developing students critical faculties, introducing various modes of knowledge production with a strong focus on imaginative and creative processes. Whilst established methods, processes and techniques continue to inform approaches to practice, clear recognition is given to the impact of applied practices, emerging technologies, and new conceptual frameworks which have arisen out of interdisciplinary and inter-media performance, encouraging students to develop a diverse range of key practical and cognitive skills essential to working within a changing and dynamic arena.

The National Benchmark statement recognises a number of key issues related to the study of performance, citing common characteristics including; knowledge and understanding of the ways in which “performance originates, is constructed, circulated and received”, examples of which can be found in modules which focus on performance techniques, choreography and production; (PA4110, PA4112, PA4113, PA4802, PA5001, PA5112, PA5114, PA5115, PA5121, PA5114, PA5216, PA6105, PA6112, PA6115). Subject knowledge of “…. key practitioners and practices, and/or theorists”, are explored in (PA4801, PA4112, PA4113, PA5116, PA5112, PA6003, PA6105, PA6112). “….. the interplay between theory and practice”, underpins all work in dance. The Benchmark Statement also makes reference to a “….range of general abilities…..and transferable skills in relation to various critical, analytical and expressive skills”. Skills such as ” developing ideas and constructing arguments and the capacity to present them in appropriate ways”, modules; (PA5116, PA5112, PA5121, PA6001, PA6002, PA6003, PA6004, PA6010, PA6112). Collaborative skills, “…negotiate and pursue goals with others”, modules; (PA5001, PA5116, PA5112, PA5216, PA6112, PA6115). It is important to note that although learning outcomes provide a clear indication of student achievement within a module, they will never reflect the full range of teaching and learning activities or student achievement, and whilst not always listed as a learning outcome, a number of benchmarks are evident in most modules, for example,” appropriate information retrieval skills”, modules; (PA5116, PA5112, PA6004, PA6010, PA6112, PA6301).

The delivery of individual modules within this programme adopts a variety of approaches in order to maximize the student experience and introduce a range of teaching styles appropriate to module content. Prior to entering Level 6 students will have had experience of group lectures, practical workshops, live performances, research seminars and one-to-one tutorials. The varied modes of delivery also enables lecturers and students to benefit from the opportunity that interdisciplinarity- departmental and college wide- affords whenever possible.

Knowledge and understanding can be gained through teaching which includes sessions with lecturers, but also through directed and independent learning.

Classes with lecturers may include;

  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Technical and physical demonstrations
  • Performance skills classes
  • Rehearsals
  • Individual and group tutorial
  • Staff and student led seminars
  • Practical projects
  • Visits to performances

Self motivated/directed learning may involve;

  • Directed critical reading
  • Research using print, digital and other resources
  • Engagement with arts/dance events
  • Projects
  • Live performance
  • Working with visiting artists

Assessment is designed to allow students to demonstrate achievement of the stated learning outcomes of every module they study. Given the constant relationship between practice and theory, students will encounter a range of assessment demands including:

  • Oral examination
  • Formal Essays
  • Reflective notebooks
  • Dialogue Assessment
  • Seminar presentations
  • Practical demonstrations
  • Public performance
  • Lecture demonstrations
  • Presentations supported by appropriate media
  • Planning and facilitating workshops for others

Formative assessment

Formative assessment in the form of pre-assessment, peer appraisal and self-appraisal is normally a feature of all practical work. It is a keystone method in developing practical and written work and in strengthening autonomous learning. Reflection and critical contextual commentary on the student's own practice will be encouraged through ongoing discussion, and will be summatively assessed in written and through oral examination at levels 5 and 6. Reflective writing will be used to further develop students' autonomy as both learners and practitioners, and will be summatively assessed via reflective notebooks or journals. Formal essay skills are embraced on the programme.

Patterns of assessment

Modules in the Single Honours Dance programme are assessed in line with general departmental policy. This means that progressive development for the student occurs between each level within the programme. Components of assessment in individual modules generally follow the principle of enabling students to interrogate theory through practice and critically evaluate the aesthetic, procedural and/or technical outcomes in the light of current theory.

The QAA level H characteristics include the abilities to:

  • Apply the methods and techniques that they have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects;
  • Critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), to make judgements, and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions - to a problem;
  • Communicate information, ideas, problems, and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;

Qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:

  • The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;
  • Decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts;
  • The learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a
    professional or equivalent nature.

Students graduating from the Single Honours Dance programme will be able to work independently, to manage their time effectively, and to access and process information in forms appropriate to particular tasks. In addition they will have acquired a great deal of experience in presentation and group dynamics, as part of the practical component of the course. Students leaving the degree programme should possess the confidence and the ability to function well in professions in which the ability to present oneself and the ability to work well as a member of a group are useful skills. Students will be equipped with the basic skills necessary for a further exploration of the idea and practise of performance, whether at postgraduate level at Chester or elsewhere, or professionally. However, it should be emphasised that the course is not vocational, and students wishing to work in the profession should aim to acquire additional skills and experience after graduation.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.


Research, scholarship and professional practice are vital components of the programmes within the Department of Performing Arts.  The vibrant research environment created by the staff and students is very important and much investment is made in order to ensure its success. The internationally recognised quality of research in the Performing Arts Department was highlighted by the results of the UK-wide Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014, with a significant proportion judged to be of internationally recognised or internationally excellent quality in terms of originality and significance. Furthermore, significant grants have been awarded to staff from organisations such as the British Council, European Union and the Arts and Humanities Research Council in order to fund cutting edge work.

Staff are producing books, book chapters, journal articles, conference papers as well as a plethora of practice-based research such as performances, choreography, digital media and compositions.  Without exception the research interests of staff make a direct contribution to the curriculum and several modules derive directly from staff research thereby constituting research based teaching in the most complete sense.  Research interests include: dance development; dance pedagogy; anthropology, dance, and performance studies; collaborative practice; auto-ethnography; choreography; the interface between embodiment and the perception of block.

 There are a number of PhD students studying across drama practices, applied drama and music.  All postgraduates (research and taught) and staff are active members of the vibrant Departmental research seminar series and contribute papers to this and the Faculty’s Centre for Research in Arts and Media.  Furthermore, the Faculty and Department have organised a number of conferences, the most recent being held in June 2012 on the subject of Contemporary Ethnography and Traditional Performance which revisited the meetings of folklore, anthropology and the performing arts that formed a foundation for performance studies from an international point of view including representation from Canada, England, New Zealand, Philippines, Scotland, and Spain.

Induction for New Students:
A one week induction period is provided. Sessions typically cover familiarisation with the structure of the programme and introductory lectures and practical workshops. Students are also introduced to the expectations of life as an undergraduate in the Department of Performing Arts, key study skills, managing time, managing finances and personal safety.  Students will be able to meet and discuss any concerns with department staff.

Personal Academic Tutors:
The department fully endorses and adheres to the University's established Personal Academic Tutorial scheme.  All students on degree programmes are allocated a personal academic tutor and students are required to see their personal tutor regularly and particularly during the first year. This personal tutor (PAT) will usually remain with the student throughout their studies, providing advice on academic development and progress.

Academic/Learning Support:
In addition to the personal tutorial system, academic members of the Department of Performing Arts seek to be available and approachable for individual consultation. Although students will receive written feedback on their work, they may also make an appointment to see the relevant lecturer regarding any work submitted.

The University provides specialist subject librarians within the field of Performing Arts. The University also provides dedicated support for students who may encounter difficulties with their learning through an active Study Skills unit.

Programme Information and University Regulations:
Students will have access to a student handbook detailing the structure of the programme and relevant information concerning the University’s regulations. All such information is widely available through Sharepoint.

Careers Advice:
Careers Advisors have been allocated to the Faculty of Arts & Media and students in the Department of Performing Arts are able to access information concerning both vocational and educational opportunities both during their studies and after graduation.

DBS Check:

DBS checks will be carried out as required.

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