Francesca McCarthy - Northern School of Contemporary Dance


Head of Performance

MA Dance Training and Education

Additional qualifications:

  • Relational Dynamics 1st, Life Coach, June 2017

Role and responsibilities:

Francesca is responsible for overseeing and managing the technical and performance aspects of the Access and BPA training programmes, in close collaboration with the Principal, Director of Studies and Head of Creative and Contextual Studies. This includes; curriculum planning and development, sourcing of guest artists and line management of 8 members of the teaching staff.

Francesca also delivers:

  • Ballet for contemporary dancers
  • Contemporary dance technique
  • Performative/creative workshops
  • Academic theory sessions

Career history

During her first experience of vocational training at Northern Ballet School, Manchester, Francesca developed a clear interest in teaching. After graduating with multiple industry-recognised teaching qualifications, she moved to Tromsø, Norway, to further develop this area of her practice whilst also discovering a passion for contemporary dance. Through working at a higher education institution in Tromsø to establish a dance strand on a teaching training course, Francesca became inspired to return to England to study towards a degree herself, initially at Roehampton University, before moving to London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS). During her degree studies she taught for The Place Evening School and on graduation built a teaching portfolio delivering classes for Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, LCDS, Middlesex University, and The Urdang Academy amongst others. Keen to develop her practice in a way that was relevant and effective within the conservatoire sector specifically Francesca embarked upon the MA Dance Training and Education course at LCDS, graduating with Distinction. Since joining NSCD in 2007 Francesca has enjoyed a number of different roles in the institution; from lecturer in ballet for contemporary dancers, through to her current role as Head of Performance. She has recently been asked to contribute to a number of course accreditations and reviews as an external panel member for the University of Central Lancaster and Northumbria University, for whom she is also currently working as an external examiner.

Professional Activity and Research Interests

Pedagogy, in particular:

  • How do we/can we train dancers appropriately for an ever-changing future?
  • The role of assessment and feedback in vocational training
  • Inclusive practice
  • Applications of ballet within a contemporary dance training
  • Periodisation

Professional activity:

  • External Examiner for Northumbria University – BA Dance (Professional Practice)
  • External panel member on validation and re-validation panels at Northumbria University and University of Central Lancashire
  • Invited by Ofsted to train as an inspector of FE provision in institutions supported by DaDA awards
  • Clore alumni
  • Trustee on the 2Faced Dance Company Board of Directors