Francesca McCarthy - Northern School of Contemporary Dance
 

FRANCESCA MCCARTHY

Head of Undergraduate

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

Additional Qualifications & CPD

Clore Discover Programme 2021
Culture Reset Programme Summer 2020
Relational Dynamics 1st, Life Coach, June 2017
Clore Emerging Leader, 2016

Role and responsibilities:

Francesca manages the effective delivery and ongoing development of undergraduate programmes at NSCD. She works closely with the Principal, Vice Principal, and heads of department to support students and staff to thrive in the NSCD environment.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring the curriculum is current and fit-for-purpose, reflecting the concerns and trends of the time, whilst also supporting fundamental skills development.
  • Supporting students to transition smoothly into their professional careers and/or further study.
  • Ensuring NSCD provides opportunities for dance artists across the breadth of the dance community, regionally, nationally and internationally.
  • Offering high-quality teaching across multiple curriculum strands.
  • Designing the audition process for undergraduate programmes

Who am I?

I am thankful for a career in dance, something I have always been passionate about and fortunate enough to be supported with. I began my professional training when Local Authorities offered grants by audition. which enabled me to move away from my family at the age of 16, from suburban Essex to the big city of Manchester to attend ballet school.

Ballet school was an experience not to be forgotten. It certainly formed the foundations of my desire to support students’ physical and mental health just as much as their physical, creative and artistic skills and understanding.

My subsequent training and career in contemporary dance have brought me great joy. There have been challenges along the way, of course, but I am keen for people to see that a career in dance is possible for them. It can be exciting, allows you to travel the world, and can also bring contentment

Marrying my wonderful wife and recently adopting our two little boys, has made me even more acutely aware of the challenges experienced by young people today. We are faced with a number of social, economic and environmental challenges which are felt as an immense pressure by many young people. I believe the transformative power of dance can alleviate this pressure, allowing us to reflect what we see and feel, to comment on it, and to change it. I believe this because I have experienced it. Dance completely changed my life and I would never be where I am now had I not been offered the opportunity to attend ballet school at the tender age of 16. I owe a great deal to that opportunity and to my parents for supporting me. It’s my desire to pay that good fortune forward.

Career history

During her first experience of vocational dance 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 graduating, 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 further for 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

  • 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

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?