Type: Postgraduate

Qualification: MA Contemporary Dance Performance

Duration: 1 year (full-time only) 10th September 2019 - 16th August 2020

Validated by: University of Kent

VERVE is a one-year, full-time programme that offers dancers a safe and inspiring space to grow as an artist, rigorously challenge their physical skill and build an understanding of the professional working environment.

Applications for 2019 entry open on Monday 1st October 2018.

Visit the VERVE company website

Download Course Fact File Apply now

Course overview

VERVE is the postgraduate company of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. This MA equips students with Professional performance skills as members of a touring Contemporary dance company. Each year VERVE  commissions choreographers to create a distinct, engaging, and thought provoking programme of work. The programme offers emerging dance artists the opportunity to challenge and develop their skills across a varied repertoire of work, guided by the Artistic Director, alongside an exciting range of guest teachers and visiting artists. The programme enables students to take creative risk with their practice, to grow their individual artistry and develop their identity as a performer.  VERVE undertakes a tour across the UK and to select international venues seeking connection with partner institutions, industry professionals, choreographers, and companies, to broaden and enrich the dancers understanding of the professional dance world and their future options within it. Verve works with established and emerging choreographers, giving dancers an appreciation of the breadth of what is happening in dance. Choreographers who have worked with the company include, Akram Khan, Gemma Nixon and Jonathan Goddard, Ben Wright, Ben Duke, James Wilton, Kerry Nicholls, Anton Lachky, James Cousins, Luca Silvestrini, Lea Anderson and Frauke Requardt.

Choreographers working with the company in 2018/19 are (subject to change):

The course operates on a modular basis. Most modules count for either 15 or 30 academic level 7 credits, with the final major research project being worth 60 credits.  Each credit taken equates to a total study time of around 10-20 hours. Total study time includes scheduled teaching, independent study, directed study and assessment activity. Students on this programme take modules worth 60 credits per term.  All students take a total of 180 credits for the MA as a whole.

Entry requirements

Entry is through successful audition and interview, plus completion of a written task. Our postgraduate programmes are open to graduates of two/three year dance training programmes at higher education level, who would therefore usually be 21+ years of age, or to dance artists with some professional experience. Application to VERVE can also be made through a remote audition for International applicants.

Please note: This course is for recent graduates or graduates with extensive performance experience.  If you are an independent artist or dance graduate who is looking to shift your focus from performing to becoming the creative independent producer, have you considered applying for our MA in Dance & Creative Enterprise programme.

What will I study?

Students will take modules worth a total of 180 credits at level 7. Our teaching is informed by research, and module content changes periodically to reflect developments in the discipline.

  • Dance Techniques: (30 Credits) Compulsory module
  • Rehearsal (creation) (30 credits) Compulsory module
  • Rehearsal (touring) (30 credits) Compulsory module
  • Final Major Research project (Dissertation)

Teaching and learning

You are taught through a combination of practical classes and workshops, lectures and seminars. Seminars and small group tutorials enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in smaller groups. In addition, you have timetabled meetings with your academic tutors. You use industry-standard facilities throughout your course.

At level 7 (as a guide) you typically have around 24-30 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:

  • approx. 24 hours of practical classes or workshops
  • 1 hours of seminars /tutorials
  • 2 hours of lectures
  • 3 hours directed study

Assessment and Feedback

NSCD employs a wide variety of assessment methods including formative, continuous and summative assessment.

Assessment evidence is collected through:

  • Continuous and summative assessments in technique modules
  • Assessed rehearsal processes
  • Showings of performance, choreographic work, improvisation & movement research

Students receive ongoing feedback in practical classes and through the tutorial system in which professional and academic development are considered and evaluated.

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, around 24-30 hours per week, on top of this independent learning which is expected to be at least 2 hours per module, rehearsals (varies) and assessment activity with each credit taken equating to a total study time of around 32 hours. While your actual contact hours may depend varying aspects of delivery e.g. intensive rehearsal periods or technical weeks or touring, the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the course.

Download Course Fact File Verve Company website

NSCD Value for money

Based on a comparison with other HE Dance degrees of the same price, NSCD are devoted to the experience we give our students and to what we try to offer them as ‘value added’ for their course fees:

  • A full term extra of tuition (May-August) including classes, support and guidance
  • On average more contact hours per week  (creative workshops and technique classes)


  • Enrichment classes are offered in the evening, some of which are free to NSCD students – these have included pointe work, fitness, men’s ballet vocabulary, yoga, percussion and Lighting for dance, Gymnastics for dancers
  • Visiting workshops with guest Choreographers and companies
  • Access to visiting artists and practitioners talks
  • Cost of travel to placements, performances etc
  • Career development workshops inc. audition preparation
  • Sponsored Theatre Visits
  • Health and well-being days
  • On-site injury intervention and support
  • Reduce priced theatre tickets and deals
  • On-site counselling service
  • Access to additional rehearsal spaces
  • Access to projects and research run by staff and our network of partner organisations
  • Subsidised support for injury support including Physiotherapy