NSCD is an international centre of excellence offering specialist, conservatoire-level contemporary dance training as a School of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama in Leeds.

At NSCD, we appreciate our diverse staff and student body that enriches and broadens the learning experience available here. We also recognise the importance of inclusivity in our learning environment, with staff working together to effectively support student’s individual development into aware and creative dance practitioners, ready to contribute to society through art and good citizenship.

We have excellent teachers, many of whom are also practicing artists, all of whom are highly committed to enabling our students in realising their full potential. Guest teachers and choreographers also regularly contribute to the curriculum, enriching our students’ learning with their variety and experience.

NSCD is proud to operate as an outward-facing cultural hub, with an active L&P department. One of NSCD’s greatest attributes is Riley Theatre, an on-site, dedicated dance venue around which, our building was architecturally developed. In this space we programme leading professional dance companies alongside the dance artists of the future, as well as maintaining a strong link with the local community through outreach classes and activities.

The student voice plays a key role in our organisation’s development and keeps programmes of learning and academic support current and relevant to their needs. Our teaching builds curiosity and experimentation, self-motivation and self-discovery, whilst embedding the rigourous discipline of conservatoire-level dance training. Research, creativity and innovation are encouraged within all areas of the curriculum, and our staff endeavour to support our students in their independent and critical thinking. Our overall mission is to empower the next generation of dancers and dance makers to shape the future of the art form.

An enhanced focus on preparing students to forge independent sustainable careers within the evolving dance ecology ensures students have the best possible opportunity to build a broad understanding of the profession, balanced with their individual interests. Independence is encouraged, and through both curricular and extra-curricular activity our students gain career-enhancing skills, including self-management and presentation, organisation, networking and business skills, which prepare them for successful entry into the dance industry.

Our teaching and learning process is rigorous and the work is physically and intellectually challenging; this demands commitment and dedication. We are aware that students can sometimes experience difficulty during this intense period of study and may encounter injury, technological, financial, housing or personal issues. We offer support via an effective tutorial system, as well as a dedicated team of staff across all departments, ready to offer support or advice if needed.

Students are encouraged to network and participate in dance across the region; Leeds is the major UK dance hub outside London. A growing number of graduates now choose to stay in the area and forge freelance careers in the city’s thriving and collaborative arts scene. In 2014, a number of dance organisations came together to recognise Leeds as a City of Dance and we hope to strengthen and develop this in coming years. NSCD has also forged strong links with the renowned Leeds College of Art and Leeds College of Music, and hopes to maintain diversity in existing and future collaborations.

Our graduates go on to wide-ranging careers across the dance and arts industry. They can be found internationally, leading a variety of dance companies. Some of our alumni also go on to transfer their skills and have successful careers in arts leadership, arts education, arts management, physical therapies, as well as health and nutrition. A thorough dance training and education builds many transferable skills and instils the discipline needed to achieve innumerable goals and fulfil potential.

We recognise the process of making mistakes and being given the space to fail are intrinsic to learning and artistic development. The open and supportive environment at NSCD makes the school a safe place to take creative risks – and to be brave enough to become outstanding. Dance is transformational and, above all, our graduates tell us that coming to Northern School of Contemporary Dance transformed their lives.

Janet Smith MBE