Discover Studying Abroad

Devoted to dance and wondering where to study? Here are 5 great schools you can choose from!

“When you dance, you enjoy the luxury of being you.” -Paulo Coehlo
BY Anandamayee Singh |   26-04-2019

5 great schools

In his TED Talk on whether schools kill creativity, author, speaker and international advisor on education ant the arts, Sir Ken Robinson says that dance helps students “to engage in the cross‐disciplinary, cross‐experience thinking that builds understanding and sparks creativity.” We see this when Beyonce performs onstage, when folk dancers in Rajasthan perform Gair, and in renditions of the Nutcracker around the world.

Dance may not be the first major that comes into mind when you consider lucrative career options. However, studying dance in schools offers the possibility of connecting the cognitive with the physical, marrying aesthetics and technique in a more holistic approach to knowledge. It can be a lucrative option to study in college, as the moment you step into class, you are building a network with your fellow classmates, and your teachers. Unlike traditional academic courses, dance students gain work experience the moment you start preparing for your first performance.

So, if you are devoted to dance, and wondering where to study it, here are five good schools and conservatories around the world:

The Royal Ballet School, United Kingdom

If ballet is your passion, and you have been perfecting your pirouettes since the age of six, then the Royal Ballet School in London is for you. This renowned ballet institute offers a three-year BA program in dance, accredited by the University of Roehampton. Notable alum from the school includes Sir Anthony Dowell, one of the most celebrated dancers of the twentieth-century, ballerina and ex-judge of Strictly Come Dancing, Dame Darcey Bussell, and actor, singer, and dancer Helen Anker.

Students pursuing this program live in the upper school with fellow classmates from around the world. The program is structured around a strict schedule, where mealtimes, rest times, leisure and classes are all planned out. Time is split between developing skills in classical ballet and pas de deux (duets), as well as preparing for performances at the prestigious Opera Holland Park and the Royal Opera House. Dancers also have the option to focus on choreography instead of performance. The alumni network helps students find opportunities to join ballet companies and perform around the world after the program is over.

NYU Tisch School of Dance, United States

If you aren’t comfortable with a specific stream in dance, then the BFA dance training program at NYU Tisch School of Dance in New York is for you. The three-year (+2) summer curriculum is designed to steadily develop dancers’ skills and confidence in modern and ballet. Notable alumni from Tisch include actor and choreographer Denis Jones.

The first year of the BFA focuses on learning placement and alignment principles, as well as understanding the basics of kinesthetics and anatomy. The second year offers students the opportunity to work on acting, improvisation, music literature and dance composition. In their third year, students join Tichs’s Second Avenue Dance Company as ensemble members and perform onstage. This experience, in particular, helps students gain professional experience, develop a solid portfolio and expand their network for opportunities post-graduation.

Sibelius Academy, University of Arts, Finland

If you want to focus particularly on marrying dance and movement to broader human themes and issues, then Sibelius Academy at the University of Arts in Helsinki is the school for you. With a QS ranking at 12th place worldwide for the arts, Sibelius Academy offers a BA and an MA in dance. The BA in particular approaches dance as a cultural art practice, a meeting of body, mind, science and art.

BA dance students prepare demos and performances throughout their three years at Sibelius Academy. In the first year, they work on improvisation and choreography, preparing solo work. In the second year, students collaborate with their peers to create pieces based on the techniques of modern performance. In their third year, students work with artists from other theatre academy programs, such as music and acting, to create artistic projects and productions. The aim of these collaborative and solo projects is to understand dance and movement from different personal and cultural frameworks, as well as gain knowledge of production, costume design sound and at times, cinematography.

Conservatoire national superieure de musique et de danse de Paris, France

If you are young but determined to dedicate your life to dance, then this traditional conservatory in Paris is for you. The Conservatoire National Superieure de Musique et de Danse de Paris offers courses in ballet or contemporary for different ages and stages. Notable alumni of the conservatory include actress and performer Brigitte Bardot and composer Claude Debussy.

The conservatory offers an intense three-year course that provides students with training in ballet or contemporary and a BA in performing arts. The course is open todancers from the age of 14-17. The classes focus on a range of contemporary and classical ballet techniques, as well improvisation, choreography and rhythm. In their final year, students perform in the prestigious auditoriums of the conservatory, open to the public. As one of the most renowned institutes in the world, Conservatoire de Paris has a great alumni network and provides several opportunities for students post-graduation.

Zurich University of Arts, Switzerland

If you are looking for a dance education that pushes you to keep pace with the dynamism of contemporary dance, then a BA in dance from the Zurich University of Arts. The university is nestled in the picturesque business capital of Switzerland, Zurich, and marries classical technique with the new focus on movement composition in the dance world.

Dance students at Zurich University of Arts (zHdk) have the opportunity to join local artistic collectives, companies and ensembles as they learn to dance. While learning movement and expression in contemporary dance, students also have the option to spend a semester abroad in one of zHdk’s 150 partner universities. Depending on how eager and focused the student is, he/she can perform with various different choreographers, directors and in different spaces in and around Switzerland as freelance dancers, developing a portfolio and a network that will bolster their career post-graduation.

If you liked this, read:
How Amiruddin Shah pirouetted his way from Mumbai’s slums to the royal ballet school
Take up extracurricular activities if you want to study abroad
Love to dance? Here’s how you can turn your passion into a degree and a career



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