Key Info

Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Dance

NFQ Level 8 major Award Honours Bachelor Degree NFQ Level 8
CAO points history
303 †
Course code
LM133
Duration
4 Years
† Indicates that students admitted to the programme are required to undergo a Garda Vetting process.
Course leader
Dr Grant McLay
Email
grant.mclay@ul.ie
Tel
+353 61 234967
Admissions
Tel
Tel 00 353 61 202015
Queries

About You

The BA Contemporary Dance programme is designed to develop your contemporary dance skills and knowledge of your dance practice, as well as to include other forms of artistic expression.

As a student, you will be based at the world-class facilities of the Irish World Academy building, equipped to the highest standards with cutting edge performance and rehearsal spaces and technological infrastructure. You will also be able to develop your scholarly knowledge and enquiry around your discipline. 

Importantly, you will be introduced to various dance and performance approaches and scholarly traditions in order to gain new insights into the worlds of dance and the performing arts, enhancing your creative potential.  You will also study a number of vocationally focused modules aimed at allowing you to translate your artistic and scholarly creativity into a fulfilling career.

Students are ask to bring a curiosity, questioning and a reflective attitude that will enhance your pre-professional practice. Applicants will required to be proficient performers within one or more dance styles. 

Why Study Contemporary Dance?

This programme, with over 25 hours of physical training a week, will allow you to develop your performance skills alongside developing your scholarly knowledge and enquiry around your creative practice. However, and very importantly, you will be introduced to other performance practices and scholarly traditions in order to gain new insights into the worlds of music and dance, further enhancing your creative potential. Within the Academy you have the unique opportunity of being surrounded by four other creative arts practices, Traditional Irish music, Traditional Irish dance, Voice, and World Music. 

In our classes you will have the opportunity to work with local and International teachers as well as professional dance and theatre practitioners that will give you a strong performing foundation and engagement with real-world experiences.  

 

What you will Study

You will learn a range of Modern and Contemporary Dance Techniques, Choreography, Ballet and movement awareness techniques such as Yoga, Pilates and Feldenkrais. You will have the opportunity to engage with other dance practices such as Aerial Dance, Hip hop, Flamenco, and Irish traditional dance. You will gain the contextual understanding and the critical, analytical and reflective skills which will inform your artistic practice.  

In first year, you will focus and develop your performance practice and be introduced to a critical academic engagement with classical, popular, traditional and world music and dance through a performative lens. From second year onwards, in addition to continuing your physical dance training, you will undertake specialist modules in dance studies, experiential anatomy and movement analysis, research skills, arts and health as well as dance pedagogy. You will also engage in other training such as voice and acting, Dance for Camera and choreographic thinking—all skills that will add to your employability after you graduate. 

In your third year, the Co-operative education period allows you to construct your own work-experience, giving you invaluable knowledge about the opportunities open to you when you graduate. The programme prepares you for many different career paths including professional performance; further study; work in cultural institutions; media related posts; archival work; performance production; teaching dance and portfolio careers which combine these elements in entrepreneurial ways. 

Year 1

MD4101 - Performance 1A

Movement disciplines such as Contemporary and Ballet Techniques, Yoga, Feldenkrais, and Pilates will focus on technical expertise that will create a foundation for artistry to flourish. Classes focus on developing safe dance practice, posture and alignment, technical clarity, freedom and flow, dynamics, musicality, and dance communication within the studio process.

MD4091 - Irish World Academy Practicum C1

This module will introduce you to choreographic elements, principles, and performance skills that will be central to your development as a dance artist. Through a creative process of using structured improvisation, compositional tools, open and closed scores and task based movement explorations, this module will help cultivate your choreographic voice.

MU4001 - Critical Encounters with Irish Music and Dance

Issues addressed in this module will be taken from current research engagements with the native Irish music and dance traditions. These will critically engage historical narratives, conceptual structuring and evolving identities of the traditions in question. Students will be introduced to concepts of research as a creative, scholarly practice.

MU4011 - Critical Encouters with World Music and Dance

In this class students are introduced to diverse music traditions from around the world, including, popular musics of West Africa, the court music of Indonesia, classical musics of India, folk and Celtic musics of Europe, classical music of the Arab Middle East, and traditional musics of Canada and America. Students deepen their knowledge of diverse repertoires and performance practices, develop their scholarly engagement with music and dance, gain a more global view of music and dance, and contextualise their own music and dance practices within the wider world of music and dance.

Electives

In addition to their core modules, each year students choose from a large number of elective modules in dance and music, and other subjects outside of the performing arts. These elective modules offer students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience, and broaden their artistic and academic horizons. Elective options vary from year to year but typically students can choose from  range of vocal and instrumental ensembles (from Academy choir to Irish traditional music ensemble), songwriting classes, lectures in country music, courses in choreography, North American percussive dance, Irish folklore and history, and various languages, including Irish.

MD4102 - Performance 2A

By increasing the level of movement complexity and physical ability acquired in the previous module (1A), you will continue developing further performance skills and more understanding of your individuality as a creative artist and dance practitioner.

MD4111 - Irish World Academy Practicum C2

Building and expanding on knowledge acquired in Choreography and Improvisation (Practicum 1C) you will start to explore in more detail choreographic thinking by working with different creative structures.

MU4012 - Critical Encounters with Western Art Music and Dance

This module explores Western Art music and dance practices in an academic and performative context, providing them with an insight into some of the diversity of music and dance practices within these traditions.

MU4002 - Critical Encounters with Popular Music and Dance

In this class students study various genres of popular music and dance. Students deepen their knowledge of diverse popular repertoires and performance practices, and deepen their knowledge of the role of popular culture in social, political, economic, cultural and artistic life. Students develop a critical view of popular music and dance, and contextualize their own music and dance practices within the wider, commercially mediated world of music and dance.

Electives

In addition to their core modules, each year students choose from a large number of elective modules in dance and music, and other subjects outside of the performing arts. These elective modules offer students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience, and broaden their artistic and academic horizons. Elective options vary from year to year but typically students can choose from  range of vocal and instrumental ensembles (from Academy choir to Irish traditional music ensemble), songwriting classes, lectures in country music, courses in choreography, North American percussive dance, Irish folklore and history, and various languages, including Irish.

 

Year 2

MD4103 - Performance 3A

This module is a development of the semester first year Performance 1A and 2A modules and as such divided into two parts. Firstly, the development of the student’s performance practice and will occur in the stylistic context most common to the performance practice of the student. The second part of this module associated to performance skills pertinent to the specific music, song or dance practices of the student. Students will also be encouraged to engage in a dynamic self-critical process conducive to development and related to the principle of ‘reflective practice’.

MD4092 - Irish World Academy Practicum C3

This module consists of two elements. Firstly, the student will engage other students in a laboratory space within their own discipline, mentored by faculty and tutors, to develop creative, collaborative work within and extending from their own disciplines and genre practices. The second half of this module is to facilitate ‘cross-arts’ exploration of creative practice as a core dimension of every Academy undergraduate’s educational experience. Each student will chose a performance course, from a genre or approach outside of their disciplinary and genre focused stream, selecting from a pool of courses covering instrumental / dance tuition, music/dance ensemble, dance/music ensemble, dance/music composition and other available performing arts practices. Students will have the option to build on cross-genre skills acquired in Practicum C1 and/or C2 within certain contexts.

MD4123 - Dance Studies 1

This module aims to introduce awareness of the social, historical, political, and economic construction of dance knowledge through dance practices. By developing knowledge of social and historical influences in the development of modern dance over the past 300 years, the student will acquire a greater understanding of the field of Dance Studies in relation to the evolution of the dancing body. Exploring these elements will encourage a greater understanding of the multiplicity of the performer, choreography and the writing. In this module, the student will take a rigorous and critical approach to sourcing documented material that will allow an academic dialogue into dance practices.

MD4113 - Performing Arts Technology

This module will introduce students to professional audio and visual technologies relevant to performers in their field. The professional world around performance practice, performance education, media and other career paths open to students on this programme will be explored. Students will use such technologies in professional contexts generating project work out of the day-to-day life of the Academy, recording concerts, providing technical support to a wide range of performances and generating media appropriate to the world of performing arts.  Students in this module will learn practical technological applications relevant to their performance practice. Students will learn to use and manipulate PAs and lighting rigs, led by professionals in the field and applied in real-world situations. Students will also be introduced to media generating software such as Final-Cut Pro and Logic to produce high level audio and video outputs.

Electives

In addition to their core modules, each year students choose from a large number of elective modules in dance and music, and other subjects outside of the performing arts. These elective modules offer students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience, and broaden their artistic and academic horizons. Elective options vary from year to year but typically students can choose from  range of vocal and instrumental ensembles (from Academy choir to Irish traditional music ensemble), songwriting classes, lectures in country music, courses in choreography, North American percussive dance, Irish folklore and history, and various languages, including Irish.

MD4104 - Performance 4A

This module is a development of the previous ‘Performance A’ modules and as such divided into two parts. Firstly, the students will continue to develop their performance practice through studio work and will occur in the stylistic context most common to the performance practice of the student. The second part of this module will be engaged in developing the student’s body awareness through movement practices such as Yoga, Feldenkrais, and Pilates.

MD4112 - Irish World Academy Practicum C4

This module will continue to focus on students developing their artistic practice in a collaborative context while gaining embodied experience of other arts practices outside of their own genre and disciplinary specialties. The rationale for including a defined space for the engagement with performance practices unfamiliar to the student is to show the student different creativities structured by unfamiliar aesthetics, cultural context and modes of embodiment. Students will have the option to build on cross-genre skills acquired in Practicum C1 in certain contexts. The title of the module reflects the Irish World Academy tradition of presenting modules with a wide performance skills focus as ‘practicum’. Such an approach enables an embodied methodology that will critically engaged within a dancer’s professional practice. The ‘C’ of the title is a reflection of the cross-genre content of the module.

MD4134 - Experiental Anatomy and Movement Analysis

The Experiential Anatomy and Movement Analysis module introduce an understanding of the fundamental principles of anatomy and introduce students to the principles of movement analysis to develop an understanding of the functions and structure of the human body and movement through space. The module aims to develop the dancer’s awareness of the relationships between the human body, when engaging with areas such as dance training, fitness, health and injury prevention.

MD4034 - Contextualising and Vocational Studies 3

This module aims to help competent musicians and dancers to come to an understanding of what it means to be involved in music and dance education contexts. Students will engage in three main components: Music and Dance Curriculum studies, Professional Studies and School Based Work.

Electives

In addition to their core modules, each year students choose from a large number of elective modules in dance and music, and other subjects outside of the performing arts. These elective modules offer students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience, and broaden their artistic and academic horizons. Elective options vary from year to year but typically students can choose from  range of vocal and instrumental ensembles (from Academy choir to Irish traditional music ensemble), songwriting classes, lectures in country music, courses in choreography, North American percussive dance, Irish folklore and history, and various languages, including Irish.

Year 3

Cooperative Education

In their 3rd year, Irish World Academy performing arts students go on ‘co-op’, a university-wide module specifically designed for undergraduates to engage in real-world, professional environments. The Cooperative Education division, in consultation with the Academy, helps students to identify working opportunities in a variety of contexts, including arts management, education, performance, media and related fields. Students are encouraged to set up their own six-month placements or to engage in split placements (ideally no more than two placements) in order to explore if their expectations for future careers match the experiences they have during the co-op period. Faculty visits, pre- and post- co-op assessment skills, and final report help students to reflect upon the process, enabling them to critically evaluate their time off campus

MD4105 - Performance 5A

This module is a further development of the first year semester modules Performance 1A and 2A and as such is divided into two parts. The first is the development of the student’s performance practice and will occur in the stylistic context most common to the performance practice of the student. The second part of this module will be related to performance skills pertinent to the specific music, song or dance practices of the student.

MD4116 - Irish World Academy Practicum C5

This module will continue to focus on students developing their artistic practice in a collaborative context, through a choreographic process, while gaining embodied experience of other arts practices outside of their own genre and disciplinary specialties. The rationale for including a defined space for the engagement with performance practices unfamiliar to the student is to show the student different creativities structured by unfamiliar aesthetics, cultural context and modes of embodiment. Students will have the option to build on cross-genre skills acquired in Practicum C1 in certain contexts.

MU4106 - Arts and Health

This module is designed to enable music and dance students to develop awareness and understanding of the impact of the arts on health and well-being. Students will discuss, describe and critically reflect on the ways theorists and researchers have considered social, psychological, physical and behavioural aspects of the arts and the value within health practices.

MU4013 - Research Skills: Ethnomusicology/ Ethnochoreology/ Arts Practice

This module will introduce students to the important contextualising disciplines of ethnomusicology and ethno-choreology and their main principles and orientations as well as the practical application of fieldwork and the production of ethnographic representations. This will introduce students to work primarily in an analytical writing mode to explore conditions, concepts, and practices of performing arts in the 21st century.

Electives

In addition to their core modules, each year students choose from a large number of elective modules in dance and music, and other subjects outside of the performing arts. These elective modules offer students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience, and broaden their artistic and academic horizons. Elective options vary from year to year but typically students can choose from  range of vocal and instrumental ensembles (from Academy choir to Irish traditional music ensemble), songwriting classes, lectures in country music, courses in choreography, North American percussive dance, Irish folklore and history, and various languages, including Irish.

Year 4

MD4106 - Performance 6A

This module is designed to further development of the student’s primary performance interest, whether instrumental, vocal or dance. Students will be encouraged to engage in a dynamic self-critical process conducive to development and related to the principle of ‘reflective practice’. Students will continue to specifically focus on the technique and performance elements of their programme.

MD4147 - Irish World Academy Practicum C6

This module will continue to focus on students developing their artistic practice in a collaborative context. While gaining embodied experience through choreographic practices the students are encourage to explore other arts practices outside of their own genre and disciplinary specialties. The rationale for including a defined space for the engagement with performance practices unfamiliar to the student is to show the student different creativities structured by unfamiliar aesthetics, cultural context and modes of embodiment.

MD4157 - Irish World Academy Final Year Project 1

This module is intended students in the first semester of their fourth year, preparing to embark on an extended research project which will be presented in a 10,000 word thesis or equivalent. The student will agree on the subject of the project with the course director and will be introduced to a number of sample research projects and methodologies.

MU4007 - Professional Skills for the Performing Arts

This module will focus on the development of knowledge and skills necessary for professional engagement with the modern world of performance and related vocational fields. Students will examine issues pertinent to the lives of professional musicians and dancers. Issues such as promotion, effective communication, industry structures, touring, dealing with statutory arts bodies and funding structures will be practically engaged.

Electives

In addition to their core modules, each year students choose from a large number of elective modules in dance and music, and other subjects outside of the performing arts. These elective modules offer students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience, and broaden their artistic and academic horizons. Elective options vary from year to year but typically students can choose from range of vocal and instrumental ensembles (from Academy choir to Irish traditional music ensemble), songwriting classes, lectures in country music, courses in choreography, North American percussive dance, Irish folklore and history, and various languages, including Irish.

MD4107 - Performance 7A

This module is designed to further development of the student’s primary performance interest, whether instrumental, vocal or dance. Students will be encouraged to engage in a dynamic self-critical process conducive to development and related to the principle of ‘reflective practice’. Students will continue to specifically focus on the technique and performance elements of their programme

MD4128 - Irish World Academy Practicum C7

This module will continue to focus on students developing their artistic practice in a collaborative context. While gaining embodied experience through choreographic practices the students are encourage to explore other arts practices outside of their own genre and disciplinary specialties. The rationale for including a defined space for the engagement with performance practices unfamiliar to the student is to show the student different creativities structured by unfamiliar aesthetics, cultural context and modes of embodiment.

MD4138 - Irish World Academy Final Year Project 2

This is the second of the two Irish World Academy modules for the FYP. The student works in a one on one context with supervisor in this module while receiving certain skills training to enable them to fill out the structure of the FYP started in the previous semester. Students will produce their own unique piece of research in an genre and disciplinary approach to the performing arts of their own choosing.

MD4148 - Dance Pedagogy

This module will provide a conceptual basis for dance as an education tool. It will be interrogating and extending students’ knowledge and understanding of the content, methodologies and assessment procedures relevant to the teaching and learning in a variety of dance contexts. Students will develop their knowledge and competency of best practice in Dance education including dance aesthetics, creativity and child/student centered pedagogy.

Electives

In addition to their core modules, each year students choose from a large number of elective modules in dance and music, and other subjects outside of the performing arts. These elective modules offer students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience, and broaden their artistic and academic horizons. Elective options vary from year to year but typically students can choose from  range of vocal and instrumental ensembles (from Academy choir to Irish traditional music ensemble), songwriting classes, lectures in country music, courses in choreography, North American percussive dance, Irish folklore and history, and various languages, including Irish.

Frequently Asked Questions

You need to have experience in performing before embarking on this course.

No. In the case of Irish Music, Irish Dance, Contemporary Dance and Voice, you need to show proficiency in one area. In the case of World Music, you will be required to show proficiency in any genre of music. An open mind and a willingness to engage with other genres and disciplines is also a requirement.

The first year of the programme is shared by all musicians, singers and dancers but you will specialise in your own performance genre from the start. At the beginning of the second year, students will be divided into their specialist area, in one of the following streams:

• Irish Traditional Music

• Irish Traditional Dance

• Contemporary Dance

• Voice

• World Music

 

Each student receives weekly classes from highly accomplished vocalists, musicians and dancers with extensive teaching and performance experience for their main performance area. Master classes are also provided by visiting professional vocalists, musicians and dancers throughout each semester.

Yes, each student has the opportunity to gain work experience in their area of interest in Semester 5 during their Co-operative Education placement, i.e. the 1st Semester of 3rd Year.

Yes. Each student is given the option of studying at a number of institutions around the world for Semester 6, i.e. the 2nd Semester of 3rd Year.

No, you will also engage in academic classes. Performance and academic studies are equally important. This gives you more career opportunities upon completing the course.

Auditions normally take place at the beginning of April or in mid-July for late applicants and ‘change-of-mind’ applications although the Academy is flexible if applicants have difficulty with these dates. In auditions students should show a good standard of performance in one of the five pathways opened to students in the programme.  Students who wish to follow the World Music pathway can perform in any music or dance genre and not necessarily one associated with the term ‘World Music’.  The audition itself takes the form of a solo performance of no more than 10 minutes duration, a 10 minute interview and then some element usually specific to the performance pathway the student intends to follow.  For example: dancers will meet a physiotherapist in order to assess their physical suitability to the dance pathways; students for the vocal pathway will have a short choral workshop with other applicants where they will work on a single piece of repertoire; traditional musicians may be given a short oral test where they comment on recorded pieces of music played to them by faculty.  Students who intend to follow the world music stream will also have a short oral test. 

Further information can be found at www.irishworldacademy.ie

Entry Requirements

CAO points history
329
Minimum grades

Applicants are required to hold at the time of enrolment the established Leaving Certificate (or an approved equivalent) with a minimum of six subjects which must include: Two H5 (Higher level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English

Note: Grade F6 in Foundation Mathematics also satisfies the minimum entry requirements. Foundation Maths is not reckonable for scoring purposes.

Additional considerations

Applicants must pass an interview/audition. More information on the auditions can be found here.

All students must undergo a Garda Vetting process. 

Mature Students

We welcome applications from mature students. Mature applicants must apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1 February.

Application information for mature student applicants (PDF)

QQI Entry

Certain QQI Awards are acceptable in fulfilling admission requirements for this programme. Go to the UL Admissions QQI page for a full list of modules.

Non-EU Entry Requirements

Filters

How to Apply

Where are you applying from? How to Apply
Ireland Irish students must apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found here. 
The UK  Students who have completed their A-Levels can apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found on the Academic Registry website. 
The EU EU Students can apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found on the Academic Registry website.
Non-EU country If you are outside of the EU, you can apply for this degree here.

 

Fees and Funding

Student course fees are broken into three components - Student contribution, Student Centre Levy and Tuition Fees.

A number of illustrative examples of fees for this course based on the current fee levels have been set out in the tables below.

An explanation of the components, how to determine status and the criteria involved is provided below the examples as is a list of possible scholarships and funding available.

EU Students with Free fees status in receipt of a SUSI grant

HEA pays Tuition Fees €5,650
SUSI pays Student contribution €3,000
Student pays Student Centre Levy €92
€8,742

EU Students with Free fees status not in receipt of a grant

HEA pays Tuition Fees €5,650
Student pays Student contribution €3,000
Student pays Student Centre Levy €92
€8,742

Students with EU fee status not in receipt of a grant

Student pays Tuition Fees €5,650
Student pays Student contribution €3,000
Student pays Student Centre Levy €92
€8,742

Non-EU Students

Student pays Tuition Fees €12,270
Student pays Student Centre Levy €92
€12,362

Student course fees are comprised of three components:

Student Contribution

Annual charge set by the government for all full-time third level students. All students are liable unless they have been approved for a grant by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please refer to https://www.studentfinance.ie to determine your eligibility for a grant and for instructions on how to apply. The curent student contribution is set at €3000.

Student Centre Levy

All students are liable to pay the Student Centre Levy of €90. Please note the Student Centre Levy is not covered by the SUSI Grant.

Tuition Fees

These are based on Residency, Citizenship, Course requirements.

Review the three groups of criteria to determine your fee status as follows

  1. Residency
    • You must have been living in an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland for at least 3 of the 5 years before starting your course
  2. Citizenship
    • You must be a citizen of an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland or have official refugee status
  3. Course Requirements (all must be met)
    • You must be a first time full-time undergraduate (Exceptions are provided for students who hold a Level 6 or Level 7 qualification and are progressing to a Level 8 course in the same general area of study).
    • You must be undertaking a full-time undergraduate course of at least 2 year’s duration
    • You cannot be undertaking a repeat year of study at the same level unless evidence of exceptional circumstances eg serious illness is provided (in which case this condition may be waived)

Depending on how you meet these criteria your status will be one of the following -

  • Free Fee Status: You satisfy all three categories (1, 2 and 3) and therefore are eligible for the Higher Education Authority’s Free Fees scheme.
  • EU Fee Status: You satisfy the citizenship and/or residency criteria but fail to satisfy the course requirements and are liable to EU fees
  • Non EU Fee Status: You do not meet either the citizenship or residency criteria and are therefore liable to Non EU fees.

More information about fees can be found on the Finance website

These scholarships are available for all courses

Your Future Career

  • Professional Performance
  • Further Study (MA, PhD)
  • Music/Dance Therapy
  • Community Music/Dance
  • Music/Dance teacher
  • Arts administration
  • Performance management and promotion
  • Backstage work in performance theatre e.g. sound engineer
  • Music Technology, e.g. recording studio producer/technician
  • Media (TV, Radio etc.)
  • Work in cultural institutions and archives

To find out more, go to https://www.IrishWorldAcademy.ie

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