The Bachelor in Dance Studies (Hons) has been designed to appeal to at least two audience typologies. First, the University of Malta targets matriculated students with a number of years’ experience of practical dance study (at least to a level of intermediate in RAD, ISTD, Cecchetti, BBO or other institutions recognised by the University), who wish to pursue a career in Dance as intending performers, choreographers, teachers, dance journalists, managers and administrators in dance schools, therapists, community dance workers, etc. Second, we encourage the development (lifelong learning) of mature students (aged 23+) with a body of practical experience but no theoretical background who wish to learn more about choreography, dance theory, technology and dance, or pedagogy.
It is the intention of the University that this programme marks the first step towards the formation of dancers and choreographers with special focus on the use of technology. In addition, it would give the host country, Malta, the possibility of cultivating its own community of dance scholars and dance artist practitioners.
The programme is delivered in full-time mode. Academic staff are drawn from the UK, Malaysia, Holland, Germany and Malta. The Programme Director is Prof. Joanne Butterworth, formerly of the Research Centre for Dance, University of Leeds, UK., and of Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Tilburg, The Netherlands.
This three-year programme synthesises theory and practice in such ways that theory underpins practice and practice illuminates theory. In the first year, students follow classes (Dance Labs) in a range of dance styles from ballet to contemporary and release-based techniques; applied anatomy and physiology, nutrition and injury prevention. They begin their studies in the fundamentals of dance-making and composition. They experience dance-making processes within a group, guided by professionals. All of these applied studies will run concurrently with in-depth lectures which locate Dance in history and society and introduce students to study skills and to the languages of analysis: literary theory, semiotic and aesthetic approaches. Dance and the Camera introduces students to technology for dance. A small number of optional units such as Dance as Communication will help students begin to identify the career path they wish to follow.
The second year further develops mastery and understanding of the principles and practices of dance techniques through set studies in different genres. Musicality – use of phrasing, quality and dynamic; increased powers of co-ordination and movement memory, intention and performance quality will be among the topics under study. The study of choreography continues along a continuum which investigates philosophies and practices of different kinds of theatre such as tanztheater and physical theatre, and of new dance genres influenced by globalisation and immigration, characterised by fusion and hybridity. Through theoretical lectures in Dance and Performance Theory students will investigate critical and cultural theories, focusing on such issues as identity, gender and ethnicity. Dance and technology continues with creative group projects. Students follow units in Dance Education and Dance in the Community; both these areas are well developed in UK, Australia, Canada and some countries in Europe. A number of optional study-units such as Dance Criticism are on offer.
In the final year students will work increasingly as independent learners, formulating theoretical/applied frameworks for individual projects in chosen topics; engaging in professional practices related to career development; demonstrating discernment in choreographic crafting from initial intention to performance outcome, and researching and writing a Dissertation. Study-units are sufficiently flexible to provide choice related to career progression.
This programme is intended as an integrated learning experience which re-discovers and develops the intimate link between theory and practice. This is achieved through intensive practical workshops, lectures and seminars which are interspersed with student-led and independent work and study supported by regular tutorials.