School of Humanities and Performing Arts

BA (Hons) Dance Theatre

Engage with cutting edge, contemporary performance practices in The House, our stunning new performing arts building. You'll experience an innovative and inclusive approach to dance training, and develop as a skilled, expressive dance practitioner able to work in different contexts and professional dance environments. We’ll nurture your creativity in performance and choreography and help you to develop a strong career portfolio as you study.

You will have the opportunity to perform with our graduate touring company, visiting schools and colleges across the country, mentoring young people; and experience workshops abroad with bursaries available to students. You will also enrich your experience at Plymouth with the opportunity to attend shows and performances by well-known practitioners and companies, both locally and in London.

Careers with this subject

Advice from graduate Catarina Lau:

"Be strong, be realistic, but never stop working towards your dream. I understand that suggesting being realistic and but also to dream could come across as confounding variables, but I believe that you should dream big, but take realistic steps. Otherwise you will overwhelm yourself and become disappointed when you’re not living ‘the dream."

Read more from Catarina in her case study.

Key features

  • Be among the first to experience our stunning, new, purpose-built performing arts facility, The House.
  • Develop a strong career portfolio with work-based learning and professional development opportunities that will boost your skills and expertise, and enhance your employability.
  • We have excellent KIS results- in 2016 93 per cent of students agreed staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching; 86 per cent agreed staff are good at explaining things; 86 per cent agreed that they are able to access specialised equipment, facilities, or rooms when needed and 90 per cent were in work/study six months after finishing (Unistats).
  • Advance your creative practice with talks, master classes and workshops with visiting companies and internationally recognised teachers; in the past these have included Russell Maliphant, Hofesh Shechter, Jordi Cortés (DV 8), Yael Flexer, Rick Nodine, and Kirstie Simson.
  • Perform with our graduate touring company, visiting schools and colleges across the country, mentoring young people; and experience workshops abroad with bursaries available to students to join lecturer Adam Benjamin’s Advanced Integrated Dance Training workshop in cities such as Vienna, Berlin or Bassel.
  • Enrich your experience at Plymouth with the opportunity to attend shows and performances by well-known practitioners and companies, both locally and in London.
  • Benefit from free texts provided in year one, an intensive residency with a nationally acclaimed company in year two, and a production budget available for your final degree performance.
  • Gain professional experience through intensive patterns of teaching delivery, production and technical rehearsals, giving you the same experience you’d gain with a professional dance company.
  • Expand your performance skills through the department’s co-curricular training scheme and opportunities to perform with our Graduate Touring company to schools and colleges.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll focus on your dance training and choreography. You’ll explore, through practice, the relationship between performer, movement, sound and space. Practical sessions are supported by seminars and lectures in dance analysis and critical studies. You will widen your understanding of the elements that contribute to the identity of a dance work, and consider how major 20th century dance practitioners have contributed to the development of dance as an art form.
    Core modules
    • DATH402 Ensemble Choreography

      This module introduces key theories and the work of major practitioners and performance makers who have shifted and developed the notion and concept of `the body¿ in democratic ensemble performance since the 20th century. It will examine how theories and artistic practices have contributed to the developments of dance and theatre as an art form and influenced the reception of the body in contemporary ensemble performance practice.

    • DATH404 Training for Dancers 2

      This module develops dance and extends the performance skills practices from term 1 (Training for Dancers 1) through a variety of classes that may include in contemporary technique, release technique, pilates and improvisation. It offers a practical exploration of the physical and mental qualities necessary to the developing dancer and their understanding of performer training.

    • THPF403 Performance Praxis 1

      This module comprises both a lecture and a workshop series that surveys the key elements of dance, theatre and performance, including the terminology and discourses that help to develop a critically engaged practice. It includes an introduction to contemporary and historical theories and debates, while offering students an introduction to appropriate modes of study, research, devising and workshop skills.

    • THPF406PP Plymouth Plus: Performance Lab 1

      Offering Dance, Theatre and Acting students the chance to work collaboratively on a site-based project, this module will foreground the city as a rich and vibrant context for the creation of performance materials. Encouraging students to understand the wider socio-cultural positioning of their emerging practice, and encouraging them to build relationships beyond their immediate surroundings.

    • DATH401 Dance Making and Knowing

      This module is an introduction to `how we study¿ dance in higher education and to the key aims and objectives of the BA Dance Theatre degree. Through practice and theory students will begin to examine how dance is informed by other disciplines and how dance scholarship embraces dance making as practical knowledge and understanding.

    • DATH403 Training for Dancers 1

      This module will develop students¿ dance and performance skills through classes in contemporary dance technique, release technique, pilates and movement improvisation. It offers a practical exploration of the physical and mental qualities necessary to the developing dancer and their understanding of performer training.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you’ll focus on dance theatre making and performance, engaging with new choreographic strategies and performance environments. You’ll consider how dance is influenced by, and reflects, the culture that produces it and have the opportunity to explore other cultural dance forms such as African dance. You’ll develop your collaborative practice, working with a company in residence, in preparation for student and professionally led dance theatre productions.
    Core modules
    • DATH501 Dance Theatre Practice

      This module is a study of dance and its performative events located within the field of contemporary dance theatre practice. Students will develop performance, choreographic and dramaturgical skills through their exploration of making meaning through the body and its relationship to the total stage event.

    • DATH502 Experimental Digital Dance Practice

      This module will develop students¿ knowledge, historically and aesthetically of the leading practitioners and researchers who have contributed to the development of innovative digital dance practices. Students will undertake research and practical experimentation to interrogate mediatised representations of the body in a selected field such as dance installation, computer based dance performance, screendance or live performance and technology.

    • DATH503 Training for Dancers 3

      This module develops students¿ dance and performance skills through classes in contemporary dance technique, release technique, and movement improvisation. Students are expected to demonstrate growing proficiency and deeper understanding of technique and to demonstrate an embodied knowledge that rests upon a growing understanding of the anatomical and physical principles that underpin human movement.

    • DATH504 Training for Dancers 4

      This module moves training dancers toward a higher level of performance through classes in contemporary dance technique, release technique, and improvisation. Students are expected to demonstrate a greater understanding of the training process and demonstrate an ability to embody movement principles. This embodied knowledge should be capable of being expressed both physically and verbally through seminar presentation.

    • THPF502 Performance Lab 2

      This module addresses collaborative and interdisciplinary practice. It is a practical and studio-based module that emphasises the development and presentation of student-led work and collaboration across year groups.

    • THPF503 Performance Practices

      This module encourages students to find their creative voice through the exploration and application of a specific performance practice. Students will develop and practically interrogate the skills and understandings that establish specific forms of contemporary performance practice as both skilled activities and culturally significant artistic statements.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you’ll work more independently, pursuing your own research interests and choreographic practice. You’ll be developing your final degree showcase performance, and working closely with your supervisor in group seminars and practical tutorials to produce a research project that is completed as either a written dissertation or a practical piece. A strong focus on employability and work-based learning will prepare you for a variety of dance-related careers.
    Core modules
    • THPF603 Performance Lab 3

      Working in self selected groups students will identify significant aspects of contemporary performance practice to inform their own creative process. Students will explore the implications of this research for their own practice in order to produce a series of exploratory performances. These will culminate in an extended public performance piece.

    • THPF605 Performance Research

      Students will plan and conduct a research enquiry relevant to the application, practice and study of performance (including dance, theatre, live art, and cross-form practices). Through lectures, workshops and tutorial guidance, students develop appropriate ways of collecting, analysing, documenting and organising material to present and evidence their research process and findings. Projects can be articulated in one of two ways; practice as research or dissertation.

    • THPF606 Professional Development Project

      In this module students will be asked to identify a specific professional working relationship, for example mentor/project/ liaison or context, to work in. This initiative should reflect the students¿ personal development planning aims and needs and support their career ambitions and life long learning.

    • DATH601 Advanced Dance Training

      The module will provide classes in advanced technical dance training and a framework of independent study and research to assist students to develop a professional practice. Students will be expected to engage with training as an ongoing developmental process and consider how these training techniques and principles have informed their own performance practice and career development and how they intend to sustain their practice upon graduating.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Dance Theatre 3431

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

International baccalaureate

28 points overall, including five in drama/theatre.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma

All access courses
Pass a named Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferably performing arts, humanities or combined) with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction.

Mathematics and English language grade C.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered.

Due to the creative nature of this course you will be considered on individual merit and required to attend an interview.  

English language requirements

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New students 2016-17

Full time Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Science and Engineering - Year Zero £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Management, Government and Law  - Year Zero £7,500 £10,300 £9,000
2 year fast-track (Business only) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Master of Architecture (MArch) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
PGCE £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Management Practice (Online) (First year - part time) tbc £3,996 tbc

Part time (per 10 credits) Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £750 £1,025 £750
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £750 £1,045 £750
Science and Engineering - Year Zero £750 £1,045 £750
Management, Government and Law  - Year Zero £625 £860 £625
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £750 £1,025 £750
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £750 £1,045 £750
PGCE £750 £1,025 £750

*The tuition fee for UK students transferring to Plymouth University from a partner institution is £9,000.
**Please refer to the policy for capping of international student tuition fees.

***‘Islands’ refers to fees for both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Continuing students

Please note some fees for continuing students may differ slightly.

For a full listing please visit our fees for continuing students 2016-17 page.

Further information

Download our fees brochure

Read our Student Fee Policy for the Ordinary Degree route

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Experience first-hand the excitement of dance

Broaden your experience of dance while you study with access to shows and performances from well-known practitioners and dance companies.

With fantastic performances at our newly opened performing arts building, The House, Peninsula Arts and the Theatre Royal Plymouth, you'll get to experience great dance on your doorstep.

But you'll also get to go on excursions to Bristol and London to see even more. Have a look at what you might be able to see.

Catarina Lau – BA (Hons) Dance Theatre graduate

Catarina Lau has worked with Adam Benjamin, the company Tanz Fäng, and Leila McMillan Dance, and now is the director of B:spoke Arts Collective.

Find out more about Catarina

BA (Hons) Dance - student video

Watch a video produced by three of our students for their dance film module

See them perform against the stunning backdrop of the Hoe, Plymouth

Emma Pendle – BA (Hons) Dance Theatre graduate

The course at Plymouth really opened my eyes to different areas of dance and also different areas within the industry, many of which I never thought existed.
Find out more about Emma

Jade Poole - BA (Hons) Dance Theatre graduate

Studying at Plymouth University prepared me for the diverse world of work that awaits a Dance Theatre graduate.
Read more about Jade's graduate career

Maggie Sniffen studied at Plymouth as an exchange student from San Diego State University, USA

The course provided me with an education in dance, not just as a physical body in space, but also encouraged me to approach my practice from other viewpoints as well. It was the most challenging, but also the most rewarding year of my life.

Sidonie Carey-Green is going on to do an MA Creative Practice at London's Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance

It’s an experimental and innovative course that keeps you up to date with the ever changing landscape of theatre and dance. I’ve established long term connections at Plymouth that will continue to inspire and benefit me throughout my career.
Find out more about Sidonie

The House

Experience our stunning resources for students and researchers in the new performing arts building, The House.

Benefit from our £7 million dynamic four-storey production house and specialist learning and research environment.

Explore the House