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5 Reasons to Apply to the BA (Hons) Diverse Dance Styles


Are you thinking about pursuing a career in dance? Not sure where to start? Pursuing higher education is the first step to develop your technique, defining your artistic practice and exploring the wide range of career paths available after a degree in dance. That is why it is so important to find a bachelor’s that offers complete training and, at the same time, provides you with the necessary skills to join multiple workforces, whether you become a dancer, choreographer, educator even an arts manager or producer. In fact, studying a BA in dance gives you many valuable soft skills that companies tend to value more in this ever-changing work environment, such as creativity, resilience, perseverance and self-control – just like it proves the Dance Magazine’s article ‘Why Dancers Skills are more valuable than ever’.


Choosing the right degree might be a difficult task, but a very important step to take. If you are looking for a course that gives you complete and diverse training while working towards your personal growth, our BA (Hons) Degree in Diverse Dance Styles, validated by the University of Roehampton, can be the right option for you. Why? Well, we have endless reasons to tell you – but let’s sum them up in five:


1. Our name says everything: Diverse Dance Styles

Founded in 1985, the mission of IRIE! dance theatre remains the same since the very beginning: to heighten the profile of Black dance and dancers in the UK. The aim is to change the landscape of British dance by developing a more diverse and equal practice. As a touring company, IRIE! created a unique repertoire combining traditional African & Caribbean with Western Contemporary Dance forms. However, over the past decades, its work has been more focused on reshaping the fields of accredited training and its work in the community. As a result, IRIE! established the BA (Hons) Degree in Diverse Dance Styles, which puts equal emphasis on African, Caribbean, Contemporary and Urban Dance. Curious about each one of the modules? Here’s how you become a diverse dance artist at IRIE! dance theatre:


· Urban & Contemporary: These modules focus on building and developing core principles of Hip-Hop styles and Contemporary techniques, providing a platform that stimulates knowledge, understanding and confidence for all learners. The module explores a creative outlet for students to find and establish their artistic voices through technique, choreography, repertoire and improvisation. Styles such as Hip-Hop choreography, Commercial, Popping, Locking, B-boying and Afro-House are explored with Contemporary techniques such as Graham, Horton and Cunningham based.


· Choreography: The module is designed to nurture creativity and develop the students own unique language. The students work on solos, duets and group pieces working towards an Independent Project in Year 3 where they can choose to create a larger choreographic project if this is their interest area.


· African & Caribbean: These ones provide students with a foundation in African and Caribbean dance techniques, supported by the cultural reference and context. Students

study the repertoire of current Black British artists while looking back to traditional African companies such as Adzido Pan African Dance Ensemble.


· Dance Fusion: Year 3 prepares students for the industry through technique and creativity exploring pathways in teaching and performance, supported by a team of arts practitioners. Students are encouraged to find their pathway and access network opportunities. So, the Dance Fusion module allows students to explore various styles and approaches to choreographic material, set to encourage and promote versatility, technicality and performance. This is pitched to prepare students more effectively for auditions and employability. The module is designed to create an open-minded creative and versatile performer incorporating African, Caribbean, Contemporary and a mix of different techniques alongside such as Hip-Hop, Commercial, Popping, Locking, B-boying and Afro-House.


· Dance Repertoire and Performance: Year 3 students explore work with a range of artists to create a diverse performance programme. Students are given professional experience to prepare them for the industry.


2. It’s the only one of its kind in the UK and Europe In an interview for Dance Art Journal, IRIE!’s CEO and Artistic Director, Beverley Glean MBE, shares: “We realised there was a real gap that needed to be bridged because DAD (Dance of the African Diaspora) was nowhere to be found on the curriculum”. Dance and Diversity was a three-year action research programme undertaken by Beverley and Rosie, funded by National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and Arts Council England (ACE) to look into cultural diversity in dance training with a particular focus on African and Caribbean dance. The research addressed barriers to training in the UK and took them to America, Africa and the Caribbean to investigate examples of good practice happening internationally.


In 2007, on returning from the final leg of the international element of the research, they were asked to write and deliver a foundation degree, which ran as a partnership between IRIE! dance theatre, City and Islington College and London Metropolitan University for 10 years. The findings from Dance and Diversity research have been shared locally, nationally and internationally; it has been a journey of development and breaking boundaries. For Beverley, the real work of the BA is to change the narrative – and it has been doing it so far, once it is the only course in the UK and Europe to place equal emphasis on African, Caribbean, Contemporary and Urban dance forms.


3. It’s also about the History Behind the Movement

More than learning the dance techniques, by studying the BA in Diverse Dance Styles, you also get the chance to discover more about the cultural meanings. The theory will cover the historical and cultural context of each form, through lectures, seminars and research.


4. A course based in a historical community centre

The Moonshot Centre is an iconic community centre located in the heart of New Cross (South East London, with a strong community engagement programme that provides opportunities for local

communities, including all generations and backgrounds. While you are studying for our degree, you get the chance to be part of this community outreach atmosphere and take part in a wide range of exciting events, such as Family Fun Day.


5. Become a dancer for the global community

We bet you probably saw this sentence before as we are very proud of our Tagline. The BA in Diverse Dance Styles makes you became part of a multicultural landscape, networking with artists and local communities which will give you wider perspectives about your professional pathways. Becoming a dancer for the global community allows you to expand your horizons and be a key player in advocating a more inclusive and diverse arts sector. Is there a better reason to join our degree?


If you are ready to apply to our BA, send us an email to ba@iriedancetheatre.org - we are happy to support your application process, from the UCAS to the final Audition and Interview. If you would like to find out more about the degree and the application process, you can discover more here on our website.

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