FD/BA Ballet & Contemporary Dance - Rambert School

FD/BA Ballet & Contemporary Dance

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Our Foundation and BA (Hons) degree programmes follow a unique curriculum with an equal focus on Ballet and Contemporary Dance.

The Foundation (FD) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) (Hons) Degree programmes are designed to develop dancers using highly tuned dance training by a wide, experienced and varied faculty, all prominent in their specialism. Arguably the equal emphasis upon training in these two genres is unique within the UK, and the curriculum is enriched by inputs from guest artists and choreographers from the profession.

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Modules on the degree programme include: daily ballet classes, daily pointe work, Pas de deux, coaching, learning performance and classical ballet repertoire. Daily contemporary classes range from teaching of foundational techniques such as those pioneered by Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, through release-based styles and newer techniques such as Gaga. Students also study improvisation on a weekly basis.

Other modules also include Critical Studies which gives students the skills they need to become thinking dancers and choreographers.  In addition there are weekly workshops on choreography and improvisation.

Performing plays a key part in the students’ experience and there are regular student choreographic platforms, where students of all years can show their works in the theatre or online. In addition newly commissioned works and re-staged repertory are performed each year, both in the School’s own Anya Linden Studio Theatre and at external venues, both in London and elsewhere.

Many classes are taught with live music in our wonderful facilities.

Due to Covid-19 and current social distancing restrictions in place in the UK, teaching is currently delivered with a mixed-mode approach.  Students take daily class in small groups at school and this is blended with online workshops and lectures. 

Ballet forms the cornerstone of the dance technical training at Rambert School. Our longstanding approach emphasises clarity of line, placement and precision, always allowing these to grow through a developing sense of movement. Beyond technical prowess, musicality, expressivity and artistry are emphasized and valued. 

The study of ballet encompasses daily classes, pointe work for women, coaching, pas de deux, coaching, virtuosity, and learning/performance of classical repertory.  The daily 1.5 hour ballet classes are normally split by gender.  

Each term every student performs a classical solo in costume, lighting, and with live music, to an audience including students from other year groups and all teaching staff

In today’s dance profession this is a very broad field, which has evolved vastly since the work of early pioneers such as Martha Graham and, later, Merce Cunningham. The well-established techniques codified by these two important figures instill both a strong technical base and a deep physicality. Conceptual understanding and physical embodiment of these foundation techniques also helps students to understand how and why the newer styles practiced today have evolved.

Contemporary dance techniques are taught through daily classes providing a grounding in Graham, Cunningham and release-based techniques, students begin to study other methods as they progress.  2nd years engage in weekly workshops delivered by a wide variety of visiting professionals. Students are exposed to a wide variety of choreographic methods through taught classes in 1st year, and through a diverse range of weekly workshops given by guest artists throughout 2nd year, 3rd year students might well encounter a different style almost every day. This approach builds versatility, and prepares graduates for the wide range of challenges they can expect to face at audition. 3rd year students learn a contemporary dance solo each term, which is performed alongside their classical solo. 



Students are exposed to a wide variety of choreographic methods, ideas and tools through taught classes in 1st year, and through a diverse range of weekly workshops given by guest artists throughout 2nd and 3rd year. This ensures they experience many of the different approaches which are used by today’s dance practitioners and choreographers.

Rather like an artist’s palette, students then have a range of methods from which to draw as and when they chose to create work for student choreographic showcases, which take place twice per year. The student rehearsal schedule is separate from the daily timetabled classes, and studios are open evenings and weekends for this purpose. Any student can create a work and there is no selection for performance. Students also rehearse, light, costume and stage their work.

In the majority of auditions, students will be asked to improvise and/or create dance material based upon set tasks. Improvisation classes for each year group take place weekly, and are often also delivered by guest professionals.

Rambert School is renowned for producing passionate, expressive dancers and innovative choreographers. These outcomes are not accidental: they come through a strong emphasis on performance throughout the course, and through repeated opportunities for students to explore their creative ideas. Frequent experience of working with guest teachers and choreographers allows students to experience performance at professional level whilst still in school. This ensures that by the 3rd year of training the gap between student and professional has narrowed.

Performing is therefore an integral part of the learning at Rambert School. Every student performs a solo before an audience of students and staff each term. Students also stage their own choreography, perform repertory old and new, and present shows to the public every term, both in the School’s own theatre space and at external venues. Rambert School is also involved in the ‘Design for Dance’ project with Central St Martin’s School of Art and Design.

Due to current Covid-19 and the current social distancing restrictions in the UK, performances may be live-streamed or pre-recorded for digital sharing. 

Contextual work has been carefully put in place to support and enhance students’ learning in the dance studio. This area also promotes key transferable skills, preparing students for professional careers as dancers and also well into the future.   

 The overarching topics covered in the FD/BA programme are:

  • Reflective Practice
  • Dance Science 
  • Dance Psychology 
  • Dance Analysis 
  • Somatics 
  • Dance History 

Learning to think reflectively and to research independently helps students to form links between theory and practice. It also encourages students to become thinking dancers and deepen their understanding of their art form.  

Academic writing encourages students to construct arguments, analyse and evaluate information, structure their ideas coherently and reference their work conforming to recognised conventions. By the end of the BA (Hons) course each student is equipped to carry out their own independent research project, completing a 8,000 word dissertation. 

There is an extensive academic support programme in place, including 1-1 tuition for students with specific learning differences such as dyslexia, and English language classes for students for whom English is a second language. This ensures that each student builds their academic skills and confidence in order to develop their own voice. 

Full details on course structure, delivery and module information and assessment, learning and teaching methods can be found here:

Foundation Degree Ballet & Contemporary Dance:
Foundation Degree Programme Specification

Course Summary Foundation Degree (FD)

Course Summary FD Ballet & Contemporary Dance 2019/20

Course Summary FD Ballet & Contemporary Dance 2020/21

Course Summary FD Ballet & Contemporary Dance 2021/22

BA (Hons) Ballet & Contemporary Dance (one year top up):
BA (Hons) Ballet & Contemporary Dance (One Year Top Up) Programme Specification

Course Summary BA (Hons) Degree:
Course Summary BA (Hons) Ballet & Contemporary Dance (One Year Top Up) 2019/20

Course Summary BA (Hons) Ballet & Contemporary Dance (One Year Top Up) 2020/21

Course Summary BA (Hons) Ballet & Contemporary Dance (One Year Top Up) 2021/22

Details on Rambert School policies and procedures can be found below.

On the FD/BA (Hons) Degree Ballet and Contemporary Dance courses you will be registered with both Rambert School and the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama.  Degrees and other higher education qualifications offered by Rambert School are validated by the University of Kent.  The academic regulations, credit framework and applicable general regulations of the University of Kent can be found at the following link: University of Kent regulations.

Please find below key Policy and Procedures related to the FD/BA (Hons) Degree at Rambert School.

For further information, please contact admissions@rambertschool.org.uk

The information provided on this website was correct at the time of publication, every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy.

Rambert School reserves the right to change the information including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of programmes. Any changes to programmes will be available on the Rambert School website so please check the website before applying. Information relating to registration with the Office for Students (OfS) will be available on the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama website at www.cdd.ac.uk



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