Studying Dance, as a degree?!

Yes – it exists, and it’s pretty cool. Typically, it’s not the first course that comes to mind when you think of university, but that’s the beauty of it.

Students Chloe-Ann, Laurence and Kelly told me their stories as to why they chose to study Dance here at Salford, and what the art means to them.

Chloe-Ann, first year

When I am dancing, I find that I don’t really think. I imagine myself to be playing the role of a character – my focus is on ‘who am I right now’. It’s my moment to finally relax. I love dancing because I know I am improving my fitness and health whilst doing something I love.

My Nan was my inspiration to dance, she was well-known for her talent in Ballroom and Latin. Because of that, when I was younger, I also did Ballroom and Latin along with my auntie and my mother. My love for dance only grew as I explored the many different styles, I couldn’t pick a favourite.

I feel like there’s a difference between a dancer and a choreographer. When it comes to being a dancer, college may be the right route because everything you’re doing is about performing, and performing for a stage. But they don’t really teach you how to be a leader, and how to create things for yourself. University does do that. It’s more about who are you as an artist – what can you create and why are you different to other people.

A typical day for a dance student is hard work, but also very rewarding. It’s long hours, for example I could be in from 8.30am to 4.30pm. These days can grow to be even longer if you join a society.  Although the days are long I don’t feel drained or tired, your body quickly adapts to it. At the end of the day, what would you rather have? Short days would mean not improving as much and your fitness won’t adapt as quickly, or longer days which will prepare you better for the industry? We are being trained for the future.

Laurence, first year

Dancing makes me feel more in tune with myself, with my own body and my physicality. It clears my headspace and it can be quite a liberating thing to do in terms of thinking clearly. Dancing makes me feel alive.

I discovered dance a few years ago and I became aware that it was something I wanted to pursue further. Studying dance at university is a good way to integrate dance into part of your everyday life.  When you are younger there are generally more opportunities to dance, there’s youth groups and things you can be involved with – but when you get older some of these things are less open to you.

University offers you a lot of things that are difficult to get if you are trying to do it yourself – like high intensity and regular training.

I don’t have a favourite style, I like contemporary which is what we do a lot of here at Salford. There’s lots of ways contemporary can be interpreted, so you get to experiment with a lot of different ways of moving.

Kelly, third year

When I dance I feel free, I feel like I can achieve anything – I learn that my body can move in new and exciting ways and portray different characters and different emotions.

I have been dancing since I was young, but I never took it seriously as a career – until I got to the end of my A-Levels and realised it is something that I really want to pursue. I took completely unrelated A-Levels and then applied to different universities to study dance, I’ve just taken it from there.

I chose Salford because of its incredible relationship with MediaCityUK, it immediately caught my eye. It’s so useful being able to have those relationships with companies like the BBC and The Lowry. I did an ambassador placement there which was incredible. The connections that Salford has and the industry professionals and artists we can meet are second to none.

I came to Salford not really doing a lot of contemporary and not really doing a lot of commercial – but they’ve opened us up to completely new styles. We’ve done Ariel for a semester, so we learnt how to hold ourselves upside-down in the air which was incredible, afro-fusion, contemporary, ballet and street. It’s opened me up to a whole world of opportunity.

My typical day in the life as a third-year dance student usually consists of two sets of classes, this could be two hours of contemporary and then two hours of ballet. In third year, we have our own rehearsals because we are doing self-directed projects as part of our dissertation. It’s a great experience as we get to run our own rehearsals and ask different dance students from other years to come in and be part of our project. It’s fun.

Feeling inspired? You can take a look at the Dance course here – or if you want to get involved with Dance outside of your course check out the Salford University Dance Society (SUDS). Thank you Chloe-Ann, Laurence and Kelly for taking the time out of your busy schedules to have a chat!