History

The 2015/16 academic year will mark the thirtieth anniversary of Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD). Based in Leeds, NSCD is a unique training institution that consistently attracts the most talented dance students from across the globe.

Leeds’ journey to become the number one city for dance outside London started with the pioneering dance education that became available in the area during the 1970s and early 1980s. During this time, Nadine Senior MBE, a P.E. teacher in Leeds, was integral in nurturing dance on the curriculum and tirelessly worked to promote Contemporary Dance as a viable career path. In 1985, this innovative training (often delivered in spare space in schools and community centres) led to the founding of NSCD with Nadine as Principle, and the city acting as a Northern hub for Contemporary Dance ever since. NSCD went on to rapidly establish itself as a world-class Contemporary Dance institution and today offers professional training at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level.

In 1987 the School moved to its current home, a former synagogue in Chapeltown, and over the following decade underwent a series of phased developments to extend the site and enhance the training facilities. This extensive re-development, which included the refurbishment of Brandsby Lodge, the creation of four new dance studios and additional teaching facilities, was completed in 1997 with support from the National Lottery through the Arts Council of England, enabling the number of students at NSCD to increase over the years from the original group of 12 to around 200.

The end result is an architecturally bespoke site that successfully blends the modern with the historic. Now one of the eight affiliate schools that make up the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama (CDD), NSCD offers outstanding training facilities whilst still maintaining the building’s intrinsic character and integrity as part of the local Chapeltown community. At the heart of the site sits The Riley Theatre where, since 1988, the School has hosted an impressive range of performances by NSCD students and local community groups, as well as professional dance companies from across the UK and Europe.

Today, NSCD enjoys an international reputation as a centre of excellence for the quality of dance education and training it provides. The School also remains committed to its founding principles of equal opportunity and open access, nurturing and developing talent without regard to race, gender or social background.

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