BA (Hons) Dance (Contemporary) - Northern School of Contemporary Dance


Type: Undergraduate

Qualification: BA (Hons) Dance (Contemporary)

Duration: 3 years (full-time only)

Validated by: University of Kent

Our students become performers with highly-tuned technical and creative skills, developed through dance experiences in a variety of professional, studio and community contexts. NSCD’s approach is founded on an openness to explore related theory and practice. You are encouraged to be curious about the place of contemporary dance within the broader landscape of the professional arts. We provide opportunities for you to work in collaboration with other Arts organisations and professionals, and for you to engage with different audiences in a variety of settings.

Applications for September 2022 entry are open

Apply by: 14 February 2022

Find out about our Undergraduate Experience Days

Download Course Fact File How to apply

Course overview

The BA (Hons) Dance (Contemporary) degree is a course of study specifically designed for the education and training of professional contemporary dance artists, performers, choreographers and artist facilitators. Our students become dance artists with highly tuned specialist knowledge, technical and creative skills, plus experience as a producer and teacher with understanding of project management and dance pedagogy. The range of technical training undertaken during the programme is designed to train the body, whilst developing artistic intelligence and an understanding of movement that enables the dancer to respond to the varied and changing demands of contemporary choreography. Students are encouraged to be curious about the place of contemporary dance within the broader landscape of the professional arts scene. We provide opportunities for students to work in collaboration with other arts organisations and professional settings, and for you to engage with different audiences at different stages of your professional training. Through the programme students embrace a range of industry relevant modes of working, such as dance film, site-specific practice, social responsibility in dance, collective working, as well as a thorough grounding in traditional theatre practice.

To note for information:

In 2019, NSCD took the decision to pursue independent registration as its own Higher Education Provider (HEP) and is currently in the process of making an application to the Office for Students (OfS).  As we work through a positive notice period with the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama (CDD), who will no longer be NSCD’s HEP from 2023, we would like to inform applicants that you will begin your studies as a student registered with NSCD directly.

Should you have any questions, please contact Darren Carr (Vice Principal & Director of Studies) at

Life at NSCD

Living in Leeds

Entry requirements

Entry is through successful audition and interview.  Additionally candidates should normally have gained five GCSE passes (grade C/4 or above), which must include English Language, and two A Level passes or a L3 BTEC National diploma or professional/vocational training at an appropriate level.  Equivalent qualifications may also be accepted depending on the strength of the grades achieved. Equivalent level overseas qualifications are also accepted.  Further details can be obtained from

What will I study?

Level 4

  • Dance Techniques: Ballet & Contemporary Dance Practices 1 (15 Credits) Compulsory module
  • Creative Practice 1 (15 Credits) Compulsory module
  • Performance in Context 1 (30 Credits) Compulsory module
  • Research Project 1 (15 Credits) Compulsory module
  • Dance Techniques: Ballet & Contemporary Dance Practices 2 (30 Credits) Compulsory module
  • Teaching Dance 1 (15 Credits) Compulsory module

Level 5

  • Dance Techniques: Ballet & Contemporary Dance Practices 3 (15 Credits) Compulsory module
  • Performance in Context 2 (30 credits) Compulsory module
  • Research Project 2 (30 credits) Compulsory module
  • Teaching Dance 2 (15 credits) Option module
  • Creative Practice 2 (15 Credits) Option module
  • Creative Practice 3 (15 Credits) Compulsory module

Level 6

  • Dance Techniques: Ballet & Contemporary Dance Practices 4 (15 Credits) Compulsory module
  • Research Project 3 (30 credits) Option module
  • Teaching Dance 3 (30 credits) Option module
  • Performance in Context 3 (15 credits) Compulsory module
  • Performance in Context 4 (30 credits) Compulsory module
  • Performance in Context 5 (30 credits) Compulsory module

Teaching and learning

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

At level 4 (as a guide) you typically have around 30 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:

  • 24 hours of practical classes or workshops
  • 1 hours of seminars /tutorials
  • 3 hours of lectures
  • 2 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, creative and performance modules
  • Assessed rehearsal processes
  • Showings of performance, choreographic work, improvisation & movement research
  • Lecture demonstrations
  • Written essays and dissertations
  • Written /verbal project reports and evaluations / reflections
  • Individual and small group verbal presentations
  • Observation of teaching practice
  • Viva Voce

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, around 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 36 hours. While your actual contact hours may depend on the optional modules you select, 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

NSCD Value Added

We are devoted to the experience we give our students. Based on a comparison with other HE Dance degrees of the same price, we offer the following as ‘value added’:

  • A full term extra of tuition (May-July) 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 ‘site’ work
  • 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
  • Intensive ‘special projects’ during the year
  • Subsidised support for injury support including Physiotherapy
  • Connection to projects which cross the small specialist institutions in Leeds
  • Support for cross CDD schools projects

Read the 'Future Now' Programme

Future Now is an evening of performances by students graduating from NSCD’s BA (Hons) course. In 2019, students performed original choreography as well as works by guest choreographers Antonia Grove, Vinicius Salles and Alleyne Dance.