Postgraduate MA

Dance: Choreography and Professional Practices

School of Arts and Media





One year

Two year

Next enrolment

August 2020

Add to shortlist

In a nutshell

This programme explores the art and craft of choreography, as well as the wider professional demands of a choreographer, such as skills in producing and pedagogy. It will equip you with the skills and knowledge to make work in professional contexts, creating dance as a dance maker, devisor and collaborator.

This programme takes the focus of a choreographer as both an artist and a creative entrepreneur, exploring the creative practices innate in dance making and the concentric circle of work related to choreography as a ‘portfolio career’. We explore the importance of creative collaboration, exploring interdisciplinary work and embedding an industry placement into the development of the students’ final choreographic project.

The course is also designed to work with the rhythm of the professional field of dance and allow you to integrate your professional work with postgraduate study. Final choreographic works will be co-produced in a festival each September and framed to be developed further in professional contexts beyond the MA course. For established choreographers, the part-time mode of study enables you to embed the development of a new professional project into the MA study, enabling you to deepen and inform your professional practice at the same time.

You will:

  • learn as part of a creative university with leading industry partnerships, including an artist-in-residence programme, relationships with Arts Council England and leading venues such as HOME and The Lowry. An industry placement is an integral part of this programme and will allow you to benefit from these partnerships
  • develop as both professional dancer and dance professional, enabling you to pursue a sustainable career in their field
  • work with choreographers at all stages of their careers, offering full and part-time models that can be integrated with professional choreographic projects

options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You want to engage with creative trends and current issues within the field of professional dance and performance.


You are keen to explore, experiment and take risks in your current choreographic practices.


You have a desire to expand your professional skill set in producing, touring, workshop development and delivery.

Course details

All about the course

MA Dance: Choreography and Professional Practices supports you to expand and refine your approaches to the choreographic process, hone your skills as a dance maker, and develop the professional experiences central to a sustainable career in dance.

Semester one

Choreographic Practices

This module interrogates key concepts, theories and practices inherent in contemporary choreographic practice. It integrates a mixture of practical workshops and seminars and is delivered in an intensive 6-week blocks.  The practical workshops will introduce a range of approaches to dance-making with specific sessions focused on making work with and for young people. The seminar series will include both screening and discussions of professional practitioners and their work.

Approaches To Dance Pedagogy

In this module, you will be introduced to the creative and physical techniques implicit in dance workshop development and delivery. The course will be delivered intensively in a two-week block. This course explores the methods and practices of teaching dance, but specific to a workshop setting, including areas such as:

  • Talent development for young dancers
  • Engagement with current issues through dance experience
  • Workshop design
  • Educational aspects of dance performance and touring.

Producing For Small/Mid-Scale Touring

This classroom-based module delves into the knowledge, skills and professional context surrounding producing and touring. Taught by professional producers, this module deals with aspects such as funding, programming, liaising with venues, programmers and technical teams, marketing and audience development. The module content is designed to support skills in self-producing as a part of your portfolio career development.

Semester two

Choreographic Investigations

This module builds on your creative practices established in the first semester, focusing more on the dance studio as a laboratory space: testing conventions, trying new approaches, challenging and re-thinking your own modes of dance making. Weekly practical workshops will be accompanied by a seminar series (shared with the MA Contemporary Performance Practice programme) addressing some broad strategies in creating performance, including:

  • Practice as Research approaches
  • Research and development
  • Audiences and strategies for engagement
  • The performance landscape, including venues and arts organisations
  • Networks and critical friends
  • Documentation and dissemination

Collaborative Practices In Dance

This practical, project based module explores  the creative possibilities and challenges inherent in interdisciplinary collaboration. You will work with guest artists and/or post graduate students from another area in developing a creative, interdisciplinary project. The work will respond to opportunities emergent through the University of Salford’s industry partnerships and may include creative interrogation and exchange concerning:

  • Site, space, and place
  • Technology, computing or gaming
  • Community and pedagogy
  • Music and sound design
  • Architecture and environment
Semester three

Industry Placement

This module embeds the student in a second 12-14 week placement within a dance teaching setting.  Having completed the Dance Teaching Placement, this module will complement that experience, ensuring that you have held placements in both curriculum based (i.e. schools, colleges) and non-curriculum based settings.  Knowledge, skills and experiences developed in the first placement will be re-interrogated in this differentiated setting.  Your staff supervisor will continue to support you in connecting the placement experiences to the areas for creative research proposed for the Practice-as-Research Project/ Dissertation module.

Practice-As-Research Project/Dissertation

In this final project, you will be asked to propose an area of exploration, arising from your experiences in the previous modules and focused on future work within profession. Upon submitting a proposal, you will be assigned a supervisor to support you on this journey of enquiry. Either individually or in collaboration with others, the results of these investigations will be presented at New Adelphi alongside a wider programme of dance performances and events.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


As the course is highly practical in nature, students will be taught in a mixture of physical and practical methods. This includes practical demonstration in technique classes and workshops, with a mixture of verbal and embodied feedback given throughout.

Modules are also supported by practical workshops, lectures, seminars and facilitated student discussion/debate. In many areas, theoretical or screened content is related directly to the students’ practical experiences to underpin their holistic development as choreographers.

Students will also be supported by staff supervision in their industry placements and independent research projects. In these projects, student-centred approaches consider the individual’s chosen area of enquiry and combines instruction with guidance and feedback to support their personal development and exploration


Assessment on this course is through a combination of formative and summative assessment, supporting and promoting the slow and ongoing nature of your personal development. There will also be formal means to present the outcome of your learning through writing, practical presentations and performances.

You will be assessed through: performances, portfolios of creative, reflective and analytical written work, practical/creative and oral presentations, as well as essays.

School of Arts and Media

The School of Arts and Media is the largest School at the University of Salford with more than 4,000 creative students. Across sites at MediaCityUK and the University's Peel Park campus, we offer a huge variety of courses, from fashion image making and styling, television and radio, creative writing and music to journalism, animation, design and performance.

Staff Profile

Sarie is an artist/academic who has been working in the messy hinterlands between dance and theatre for the past 15 years. Originally from the US, Sarie emigrated to the UK from Washington DC in 2003, leaving her work with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange for postgraduate study at Laban.  Her work in physical performance led her into Grotowski’s tradition of theatre laboratories and, from 2010-2013, she worked with Studio Matejka at the Grotowski Institute (PL) as lead academic and rehearsal director. Her current practice takes ‘laboratory frameworks’ into interdisciplinary collaborations.  Since 2013, she has been working with poet Scott Thurston in the exploration of poetic language, movement and the creative possibilities of writing as a physical act. Her collaboration with composer Alan Williams has spanned from work with opera singers to percussionists, including an ongoing collaboration with Evaristo Aguilar in Tampico, Mexico.

Sarie’s research and practice also delves into the intersection between artistic career development and creative entrepreneurship. Through collaborative work with Arts Council England, the Lowry, Castlefield Gallery, Salford City Council, Dance Manchester and a range of other regional arts organisations, we explore how artists can feed into the development of their cities and communities and develop sustainable and interconnected careers.


Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Graduates will be able to work in a range of environments within the cultural sector. 

Graduates of this programme would be well-positioned to pursue practice-based MPhil/PhDs, which would build on and further develop the work established within this MA.

A taste of what you could become

A choreographer

A dance animateur

Dance artist

A creative educator

And more...

Career Links

This programme has links with a number of industry bodies, including:

  • Joss Arnott Dance
  • The Lowry
  • HOME
  • Dance Manchester
  • Ludus Dance

In addition, we have an annual dance artist-in-residence scheme which has engaged with companies such as Company Chameleon, Hawk Dance Theatre, Kapow Dance Theatre, along with many independent dance artists. These schemes bring workshops, apprenticeships, performance and project opportunities, mentoring opportunities to our dance students. In addition, we hold two intensive masterclass weeks each academic year, hosting a range of national and international dance artists to work with our under- and postgraduate dance students, recently including work with choreographers Gary Clarke and Gemma Nixon, among many others.


What you need to know

This course is for emerging and established choreographers needing the time and support to deepen their creative work and advance their careers towards a new aspiration. As such, we are seeking graduates from dance-related undergraduate programmes at any stage in their career. We are interested in our applicants as professionals and as people, as well the work that they are currently making.

This programme will require students to challenge, explore, expand and potentially re-think their practices in choreography. As such, students will need to be prepared for intensive studio-based creative work, as well as rigorous, independent and creative research.


International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.

Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

To join this MA you should have a second class honours degree, 2:2 or above.

The application process will also involve a practical audition and record of a piece of choreography (live or pre-recorded). In a personal statement (approximately 400 words), students will be asked to write about the ways that this specific MA programme will help them advance from their current work within dance towards specific career aspirations. Both Skype and digitally transferred materials can be considered in support of the application’s practical elements.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2019/20 £7,776per year
Full-time international 2019/20 £14,310per year
Part-time 2019/20 £1,296 per 30 credit module
Full-time home/EU 2020/21 £7,920per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £14670per year
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for international students 2020/21

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our international scholarships worth up to £5,000. Our international scholarships include the Salford International Excellence Scholarship.

For more information go to International Scholarships. 

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

August 2020