MA Contemporary Dance Performance

Programme of Study

The MA in Contemporary Dance Performance is a one-year full- time postgraduate programme. Students may be permitted to extend their study over a second full-time year, subject to available places, the agreement of the Course Director and the Director of the Irish World Academy.

The programme consists of five core modules per semester and one Elective Bundle.

Core Modules:

Semester One

  • Contemporary Dance Techniques for Performance 1 (DA 6031)
  • Practicum: Dance Performance Repertoire 1 (DA 5141)
  • Media Technologies for Performing Arts and Arts Research (MD 6031)
  • Introduction to Somatics 1 (MD 6061)
  • Writing and the Documentation of Arts Practice 1 (MD 6071)

Semester Two

  • Contemporary Dance Techniques for Performance 2 (DA 6022)
  • Practicum: Dance Performance Repertoire 2 (DA 5142)
  • Choreography for Camera (MD 6082)
  • Writing and the Documentation of Arts Practice 2 (MD 6072)
  • Critical Contexts for Arts Management and Cultural Policy (MD 6062)

The IWA Autumn and Spring Elective Bundles allow students to specialise further in an area of programme specialisation or select an Independent Study based on expertise available in the other area of study at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.

Semester One Elective Bundle

  • Colloquium 1 (MD 6111)
  • Professional Development for the Performing Arts (MD 6091)
  • Interdisciplinary Improvisation (MD 6101)
  • Introduction to Fieldwork Techniques (MD 6021)
  • Independent Study 1 (MD 6051)

Semester Two Elective Bundle

  • Introduction to Somatics 2 (MD 6092)
  • Colloquium 2 (MD 6102)
  • Broadening through Awareness, Activism and the Arts (BR 5001)
  • Independent Study 2 (MD 6052)

During the third Semester students are required to undertake an individual performance project.

  • Final Presentation (MD 5522)

For the final performance exam (Part 1) the students perform a programme of ensemble and solo choreographies that have been created throughout the year under the direction of guest choreographers and the Course Director. This exam takes place at the end of the second Semester. Students submit individual performance projects for their Final Performance Exam (Part 2).


The programme is beneficial for students wishing to pursue careers in dance performance (solo and ensemble), improvisation, choreography, devising original works for performance, devising and producing original works in a range of contexts, teaching dance. Many graduates have secured positions as dancer-in-residence and others have been founder directors of dance festivals in their location. Some students have pursued a PhD in dance.

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