Dance or structured human movement practice is an important aspect of the lives of human beings the world over. Ethnochoreology, the study of dance, movement and culture, aims to extend our knowledge and understanding of diverse cultures and the movement experiences that these cultures offer.
Ethnochoreology is an academic interdisciplinary field and is inclusive of all dance or structured human movement practices. Through critical examination of relevant literature within the social sciences, exposure to diverse dance practices – theory and practice, first-hand experience in the field and subsequent reflection on the process of ‘doing’ fieldwork, students of ethnochoreology document and examine the different meanings of dance and movement within the context of culture. This assists in extending students’ horizons of understanding into how and why people move the way they do and what this tells us about the cultures from which these practices have emerged.
Designed and directed by Dr Catherine Foley, the Master of Arts in Ethnochoreology was established in 1996 at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and was the first programme of its type at any university in Europe. In this pioneering spirit it continues to be a leading programme in the field and to attract an international body of students.
The Master of Arts in Ethnochoreology is a one-year, fulltime, taught postgraduate programme. It offers specialised training in the history, theory, and methods of Ethnochoreology while acknowledging the significance of ‘practice’ in learning and in research. The programme also allows students to develop conceptual and documentation skills necessary for undertaking field research. It equips them with a professional qualification in Ethnochoreology while providing an essential foundation for those wishing to pursue dance research at doctoral level.
The Master of Arts in Ethnochoreology collaborates with other postgraduate programmes at the Academy such as the Master of Arts in Irish Traditional Dance Performance, the Master of Arts in Irish Dance Studies, and the Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology.
The Irish World Academy of Music and Dance offers a suite of taught postgraduate and undergraduate programmes in dance, music, voice and festival. Together with the MA Ethnochoreology, MA Irish Traditional Dance Performance, MA Irish Dance Studies, and MA Ethnomusicology programmes, other Master of Arts programmes are available in Classical String Performance, Ritual Chant and Song, Community Music, Contemporary Dance Performance, Irish Traditional Music Performance, Irish Music Studies, Festive Arts, Music Education and Music Therapy. Lunchtime concerts, seminar series, artists-in-residence, visiting guest lecturers and tutors, and a strong research community of doctoral students in Ethnochoreology and other related fields of research, all contribute to providing a rich learning, research and artistic environment for students of Ethnochoreology.
The Master of Arts in Ethnochoreology will appeal to a broad spectrum of students from a wide variety of academic, dance and musical backgrounds and who wish to benefit from the unique configuration of theoretical and practical possibilities offered by the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. The MA Ethnochoreology programme is designed to cater for the continuing education needs of individuals in dance/music and in cognate and closely related disciplines, such as Anthropology, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Cultural Geography, Irish Studies, Folklore, Gender Studies, Ethnomusicology, and Education.