BA (Hons) Dance course preparation

To help you feel prepared for your university studies, we’ve gathered together a range of course related activities including suggested reading, useful websites and some great things to do right now. Open the links below to find out more:

Suggested reading

A necessary component of all degree courses is reading. During your studies you’ll be introduced to a wide variety of materials, which will inspire, question and ultimately build your breadth of knowledge.

The following books will be useful throughout your degree, notably the texts in bold. These are available in the Catalyst University Library, but you may wish to consider purchasing a copy of some of these texts. Online marketplaces will offer the best deals on second-hand copies.

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 and there are many more books and journals in the library for you to investigate once you are here.


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 University Students can sign up to the Arts Centre’s free membership scheme. You’ll receive free tickets for the majority of performances and films. 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.

Induction 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: include your thinking about dance.

Additional ways to prepare

Join our virtual session: Preparing to start with Edge Hill, Wednesday 10 August, 4pm – 5pm.

This session examines how to make a successful transition to University study, from planning your results day, accommodation and commuting tips, extra support available to you as a prospective student before you start in September and what to expect as well as what to get involved in during your first week.

Use this link to join the session

University can be one of the most exciting and amazing experiences, and can offer the chance to learn, meet new people, gain independence and find out more about who you are.

We want to make sure you get the most out of your university experience! The following information provides an insight into what to expect when coming to university along with some good advice on how to navigate some of the potential challenges you may face.

Starting preparing yourself