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Ballet Talk for Dancers

MA or MFA Programs in London

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My Husband has the wonderful oppurtunity of working for two years in London and I am wanting to do a masters degree in Dance History. Does any one know of a good program in or close to London for Dance History? Any information would be helpful.




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Hi Beth, I teach in the Performing Arts, but not in London. But I have friends and colleagues in London. Here are my personal tips - I would have a look at the web sites of the University of Surrey at Guildford, Roehampton University, at Roehampton (south west London) or maybe Royal Holloway (RHUL), a constituent college of the University of London, out at Egham. Surrey & Roehampton have quite active dance departments, although I'm not sure they run specific Dance History Masters programmes. Surrey has the dance historian Giannandrea Poesio, who's work on Romantic ballet is excellent (and he's a trained Cecchetti dancer). Royal Holloway has one of the best Drama departments in the country with some very good theatre & dance history specialists (I used to teach there, so I've seen this from the inside!) but doesn't have a separate dance department - but Dance History as a specific aspect of theatre history is well-recognised there.


They're all south of London. North & central London, you get the Bloomsbury colleges of the University of London, but none of them has a particular dance focus. Queen Mary (QM) in the East End has an excellent Drama section within the School of English, with a couple of brilliant theatre historians, but no-one working in dance. Birkbeck may do something ... they're setting up a drama section of the School of English, but it focuses on contemporary performance. Best bet north is Middlesex University, where the excellent Alexandra Carter is Professor in the performing arts department (I don't think they have a separate Dance Department), and ex-dancer Christopher Bannerman runs the performing arts department.


If you need to know about the relative status & ranking of these departments you need to look at their RAE ranking (Research Asserssment Exercise). 5* is highest, 1 is lowest. Departments ranked 4, 5, or 5* are considered top notch, in both staff research, qualifications, research grants, and resources. 3a & 3b respectable at undergraduate level, but not really hot on postgraduate work & research. RHUL and QM are 5 or 5* the others tend to cluster around 3b and 4.

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I agree with Redbookish - several of the programmes she mentions should allow you enough room to develop your interests. Just one update: Giannandrea Poesio has now moved from Surrey to London Metropolitan University.

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Do you want to focus on dance history only or are you also open for programmes in performance research (where you could focus on dance) and/or practical work and/or practice-based research (which is up and coming in the US now as well). The Society of Dance History Scholars has a new pratice as research (PaR) working group http://sdhs.org/work/practice.html Please feel free to contact me if you have any question. London is a hot spot to learn PaR in dance skills.

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