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BA (Hons) Dance course preparation

To help you feel prepared for your BA (Hons) Dance studies, we’ve gathered together a range of course related activities including suggested reading, useful websites and some great things to do right now. Read on to find out more.

Suggested reading

You’ll be given lots of information about which textbooks to read and introduced to the University Library, as well as the many ebooks we have for you to access, when you begin your studies in September.

In the meantime, there are a some suggested texts you might like to read, if you can, before starting your degree, most notably the texts in bold. We don’t recommend rushing out to buy texts before you arrive. But if you can pick some up second hand, borrow from a library, or access online, we suggest:

Key Critical Texts

  • Au, S. & Rutter, J. (2012) Ballet and Modern Dance. London: Thames and Hudson.
  • Banes, S. (2011) Terpsichore in Sneakers Post-Modern Dance. Connecticut: Wesleyan Paperback.
  • Burrows, J. (2010) A Choreographer’s Handbook. London: Taylor and Francis Ltd.
  • Burt, R. and Adiar, C.(eds) (2016) British Dance: Black Routes. Oxon: Routledge.
  • Carter, A. and O’Shea J. (2018) The Routledge Dance Studies Reader. Abingdon: Taylor and Francis.
  • Gough, M. (1999) Knowing Dance: A Guide for Creative Teaching. Alton: Dance Books.
  • Oliver, W. (2010) Writing About Dance. USA: Human Kinetics.
  • Preston-Dunlop, V. (2014) Looking at Dances: a Choreological Perspective. 3rd Edition. London: Verve Publishing.
  • Tufnell, M. & Crickmay, C. (1990) Body, Space, Image: notes towards improvisation and performance. London: Dance Books.

Specific reading lists will be provided when you start your modules.

Suggested materials/clothing

In your practical sessions it’s vital that you can move safely, without restriction and that your tutor can see you, to correct alignment and placing. Therefore, we ask that you come prepared with the following kit:

  • Leggings or tights with shorts
  • Leotard/unitard or close-fitting vest top
  • Correct supportive underwear
  • Jogging bottoms and top for warm-up activities and some somatic work
  • Soft knee pads
  • A good pair of running/aerobic trainers. Please note that Jazz, Ballet and Character shoes are optional, but may be useful for some modules and production work, and for clubs and societies.
  • Drinking water bottle

You must be prepared to work practically in all sessions, as all modules are a balance of theory and practice. Therefore, you should always have a notebook and pen with you in all practical sessions.

Useful websites

Researching, viewing and engaging online effectively allows you to be in touch with Dance practitioners and companies throughout the world. Here’s a list of recommended viewing for you to delve into:

  • Our lecturers recommend award-winning Company Chameleon based in Manchester who tour internationally and work with many Community projects
  • Pina Bausch, a very important dance artist to explore and study. The Bausch foundation continues to make her legacy visible, with lots of online sources
  • Numeridanse, for some exciting British and European contemporary, urban, jazz, ballet and social dance. Be sure to click on all the options to discover a rich, diverse range of work.
  • If you’re thinking about the future and careers in the Performing Arts visit the following websites: Arts Professional and Arts Jobs 
  • Why not follow key British and European companies and artists on social media to stay up to date with the world of dance. Here are just a few suggestions:
  1. Rambert
  2. Phoenix Dance Theatre
  3. English National Ballet
  4. Scottish Dance Theatre
  5. Shobana Jeyasingh Dance
  6. Rosas
  7. Hofesh Shechter
  8. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Watch some live performances

Where possible we want you to see as much live performance work as you can throughout your degree programme, as this is a key resource in understanding performance practice.

Maintaining a personal journal about the work you see – remembering to note the title, date and names of key artists – will be useful in preparing for seminar presentations, essays, portfolios and other assignments in the future.

Whilst at Edge Hill you’ll have the advantage of being able to see professional touring performance work at the Arts Centre, our on-campus Arts venue. Edge Hill students can sign up to the Arts Centre’s free membership scheme. You’ll receive free tickets for the majority of performances and films. And you should aim to see as much of the programmed dance, film, theatre, music and comedy as possible. Attendance at some performances will be compulsory as part of your modules, for example for the purpose of writing reviews or live performance analysis.

Your first week will be filled with introductory talks, activities and workshops in Dance and some IT to help you settle in. You’ll have time to get to know staff, our wonderful facilities, and your fellow students on Dance and other degree courses.

Practical tasks for summer

Over the summer, you should aim to attend as many dance classes, workshops and activities as you can. Use this time to experiment with new learning styles and approaches and look to retain levels of fitness and strength.

Why not use some of your time to stay focused on dance study? We suggest the following:

  • Choreograph a short contemporary solo, working in silence
  • Look at examples of dance forms from different countries
  • Write a dance poem or manifesto: what are YOUR dance words?
  • View and analyse work of artists and companies that are new to you
  • Keep a journal of all your dance activities. And include your thinking about dance.