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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Career: UK with Dance Degree


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I thought I'd post this up, as an example of the kinds of careers available in the UK with a good first degree in dance (although not specifically ballet). I see these kinds of advertisements regularly, as part of my job, and often sit on interview & selection committees for similar posts (although the institution below is not mine).


It may be of interest to those of you looking at dance-based careers, particularly those going down the university route, who are oriented towards research and teaching, as well as performance. In Britain, we have a different system whereby we don't separate out academic and conservatoire style training, except in a couple of exceptional cases. The University of Bedfordshire is a new university, certainly nowhere near the 'ivy league' (or its British equivalent), but still, because of our more uniform national employment system, things like salary, working conditions, and expectations of standards, are uniform with more highly ranked institutions.


Anyway, I thought it might be of interest for those doing long-term planning to see what a variety of things there are to do with a Dance degree... If anyone wants specific contact details, PM me.




University of Bedfordshire

Faculty of Creative Arts, Technologies and Science


Division of Performing Arts and English

Polhill Campus, Bedford.


Lecturer Posts in Dance


0.5 Lecturer in Dance ( 2 new posts fixed term for 2 years)

Lecturer in Dance (maternity cover, 9 months)


The University of Bedfordshire is a significant provider of Dance education. The provision was voted second in the country in the 2008 National Student Survey for overall student satisfaction. Dance is a growth area within the University and due to this expansion we wish to make additional appointments to the existing Dance team. The Division of Performing Arts and English wish to appoint two 0.5 Lecturers in Dance and one full-time Lecturer in Dance (maternity cover) to contribute to the BA (Hons) Dance and Professional Practice and the BA (Hons) Performing Arts degrees and the research profile of the Division.


You should have a first degree in Dance or Performing Arts (with a specialism in Dance) and previous experience of teaching in Higher Education. Relevant professional experience and, or, registered for a research degree would be an additional advantage. You should be able to contribute to a range of practical and theoretical curriculum areas in Dance and Performing Arts from one or more of the following: dance technique, improvisation, choreography, production work, dance analysis, cultural and critical contextual study. We are looking for research active candidates who can contribute to our outstanding profile in practice based research through membership of the Centre for Applied Research in Dance.


Performing Arts within the University of Bedfordshire is concentrated on the state-of-the-art Polhill Campus and currently offers degree courses and postgraduate research in Dance, Performing Arts and Theatre. We have recently moved into purpose built Performing Arts facilities which include a 280-seat professional theatre, a theatre studio and a suite of dance studios.


This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a new campus and the new University of


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Wow! It appears they want a lot (and are not offering much in return - a half-time job for 2 years max, or maybe a full-time one but just for 9 months).


For this, they would like someone with presumably solid professional experience in dance, who also happens to have some established academic research underway, and who also is presumably an effective and charismatic teacher, and who has the experience to be "able to contribute to a range of ... theoretical curriculum areas".


But I presume that the candidates are out there, and, given how tough things are, they'll probably take it too. And after 2 years on a half-salary, then what?




PS - but maybe I forget - universities do this all the time - "require someone with outstanding international research reputation and achievements, with extensive refereed publications in top internationally-renowned journals, who is an experienced inspirational teacher as testified by major awards, for grotty badly-paid temporary part-time job".


Or am I getting a bit too cynical in my old age?

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Hi Jim -- if you read the ad, it actually doesn't ask for as much as you're imagining! No postgraduate degree is required/essential, and there's no essential demand for published research. It's an entry level job, at a new, teaching-intensive (rather than research led) institution. It would be a good career start or 'CV-builder,' and a way for a professional to test whether s/he would like to teach in higher education.


So I think you are being rather cynical. Although I agree, anyone on a fixed-term contract needs to have Plan B in mind. But to a professional dancer in these times, academia probably seems a haven of security! And academic salaries in the UK are generally better than those for dancers.


In my field -- the creative arts -- we often employ working artists half-time so that they have a steady income, but have half their time available for their creative/artistic practice. Colleagues I have appointed and worked with on this basis actually do not want full-time positions. They actively reject full-time academic posts, preferring to preserve half their time for their creative work.


I simply put it out there so other BT4D members can see the opportunities available coming out of a dance degree at university and some professional performing or choreographic experience. To go down the college route or not is a topic of debate on this MB, and I thought this might be a useful bit of information.

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Having lived and worked (in dance academia) in the UK for almost 8 years, I would say that 0.5 positions are quite common in dance in higher education. Usually, there are opportunities to pick up additional teaching hours as an Associate Lecturer (Adjunct faculty in US speech). And having a foot in the door often opens further opportunities, such as funding for a project, staff development (e.g. funding for an advanced graduate degree), or a full-time position if there is an opening.


Thanks for posting this, Redbookish.

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Apologies, Redbookish - I over-reacted, having seen lots of ads like those in the PS of my posting. As you say, it doesn't require a postgraduate qualification, and therefore is more of a "pre-academic career" post, and now that you've pointed out the value of a 0.5 fraction position, I see the value of that for an active dancer.



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  • 2 months later...

Career changes are a great time to re-evaluate your talents and expectations. Career counselors are great help.

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