Francesca McCarthy - Northern School of Contemporary Dance


Head of Undergraduate Studies


  • Relational Dynamics 1st, Life Coach, June 2017
  • Clore Emerging Leader, 2016
  • MA Dance Training and Education, Distinction, London Contemporary Dance School, 2008
  • BA(Hons) Contemporary Dance, London Contemporary Dance School, 2004
  • Northern Ballet School Diploma (R.A.D. TC and 4 ISTD Associates), Distinction, 1997

Role and responsibilities:

Francesca is responsible for the effective delivery and ongoing development of, and recruitment to, undergraduate programmes at NSCD. As part of the senior management team she works closely with the Principal, Vice Principal, and heads of department to support students and staff to thrive in the NSCD environment. Francesca’s specialism is ballet for contemporary dancers and she also teaches contemporary dance technique, as well as offering input into contextual modules.

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 and a range of performance experience, she moved to Tromsø, Norway. Whilst working here, Francesca discovered a passion for contemporary dance which ultimately led her back to the UK to train at London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS), after one year at Roehampton University. During her years as a student at LCDS and on graduation, she 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 ahead of taking up the post of Head of Undergraduate Studies.

Professional Activity and Research Interests

  • How can we best train dancers appropriately for an ever-changing future?
  • Embedding inclusive practice across all aspects of recruitment, access and participation
  • How can we most effectively support staff in terms of training and development?

Professional activity:

  • Culture Reset Cohort 1, 2019
  • External Examiner for Trinity Laban BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance and BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance with Foundation Year, 2019-present
  • External Academic Reviewer for Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, 2018-19
  • External Examiner for Northumbria University – BA Dance (Professional Practice), 2013-2017
  • Trustee on the 2Faced Dance Company Board of Directors, 2017-18