CertHE Cultural Dance Forms - NSCD


Type: Higher Education

Qualification: Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) Cultural Dance Forms

Duration: 1 year (full-time) September - July

This course is designed to prepare you for further in-depth professional training. Develop your creative skills and explore techniques in a diverse range of dance styles:

  • Street styles (Hip hop, breaking/BBoy, krumping, popping, locking)
  • House
  • Dancehall
  • Afro-fusion
  • Vogue
  • Contemporary

Through its broad curriculum, students encounter the history of these dance forms and understand their impact in shaping our global society.

Applications for 2023 entry open 19 October

Our next Open Day is on 22 October 2022 - book your place here

Download Course Fact File How to Apply

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Course overview

Students on this course engage with a range of technical, creative and performance experiences. In a practical way, students examine the role of a number of cultural dance forms in telling the stories of individuals, communities and regions.  Students study a variety of different styles such as Hip Hop (including breaking/BBoy, krumping, popping & locking), House, Dancehall, traditional African and Caribbean dances and Vogue. Contemporary and Ballet enrich the curriculum, so that students can develop their own unique movement language to communicate their own stories in both theatre and other social contexts.

Please note: this course is suited to individuals who would like more time to develop their technique and creative skills within a breadth of styles before applying to a full 3-year degree programme. It is also a recommended route for students wanting a one-year intensive programme of study, before committing to three years’ full-time training.  This programme is also suitable for very talented 16-17 year olds as a full-time alternative access route to Higher Education.

NSCD programmes of study are validated by the University of Kent. The Programme Specification is available here: CertHE Cultural Dance Forms Programme Specification

Meet the course leader

Diverse dance styles

Cultural Dance Forms focuses on four key elements:

  • Hip Hop
  • African/Caribbean carnival dances
  • Vogue
  • Contemporary dance

Each is explored through cultural and social contexts, a variety of technique classes/workshops, creative practice and performance opportunities. You study modules comprising cultural dance styles, creative practice, Western theatre dance techniques, and performance projects.  Half of the programme is devoted to dance techniques to prepare the body, offering a foundation for creative and performance work, whilst creative practices include improvisation and freestyle, alongside structures and choreographic tools which cross over all four key elements.

All of the practical work is understood through historical, social, political, gender, and cultural contexts, adding background, meaning and depth to your own and other professional works.

Entry requirements

Entry is through successful audition. Additionally candidates should have normally gained four 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.

Exceptions are made for very talented 16 year olds & mature applicants. 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 admissions@nscd.ac.uk

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 lectures in smaller groups. In addition, you have timetabled meetings with your academic tutors. You use industry-standard facilities throughout your course.

At Level 4 (as a guide) you typically have around 21 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:

  • 18 hours of practical classes or workshops
  • 1 hour of seminars / tutorials
  • 2 hours of lectures
  • 2 hours directed study

Assessment & 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 and movement research
  • Essay and / or written reflection
  • Individual and small group verbal presentations

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

Overall workload

The course operates on a modular basis.  Most modules count for either 15 or 30 academic 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. Full-time students take modules worth 37-45 credits per term.  All students take a total of 120 credits for the CertHE as a whole.

NSCD value for money

Based on a comparison with other HE Dance programmes of the same price. We 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-July) including classes, support and guidance
  • More access to practical work (both 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
  • Visiting workshops with guest choreographers and companies
  • ‘mock audition’ preparation for applying for further training.
  • Sponsored theatre visit
  • 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