Home Courses Dance BA (Hons) Dance, Aerial and Physical Theatre 
Aerial Circus Training

Learn specialist aerial techniques and physical theatre narrative approaches

3 years Full Time
Bishop Otter Campus (Chichester)

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best university in the South East

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024

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Extend your dance training with specialist aerial skills and understanding of narrative choreography

Our BA (Hons) Dance, Aerial and Physical Theatre degree is the first aerial dance undergraduate degree in the UK and offers intensive practical training experience combining dance and aerial technique classes to help prepare performers for careers within the creative industry.

Reach new heights with aerial training

This course introduces you to aerial and physical theatre training and is available to you whether you are new to aerial work or a practiced performer as our technique classes can cater to mixed ability. You do not need previous aerial experience to apply.

Through three aerial technique classes per week, you will develop your performance skills with a range of apparatus, with the option to narrow your focus in third year if you wish to specialise in one.

Learn to use apparatus, including:

  • Fabric
  • Hoop
  • Dance trapeze
  • Rope
  • Harness

Develop your technical skills with intensive training

With a practical to theory ratio of 70:30, this highly-practical course builds your technical foundations through intensive daily classes under the guidance of our expert and active dance practitioners.

Areas of focus include:

  • Cunningham
  • Limon
  • Release
  • Ballet
  • Contact improvisation
  • Somatic practices
  • Dance styles from styles influenced from other cultural perspectives

Find your choreographic voice

Throughout your course, we will encourage you to develop confidence and skills in creating and performing your own work.

You will have the opportunity to explore approaches to constructing theatrical work through set, props, and lighting, as you draw on broader theatre making strategies to develop your choreographic voice.

Perform throughout your degree

Many of your modules will include a practical performance assessment and you will be able to perform in our dedicated performance venues, The ShowRoom and the Dance Theatre Space, as well as in our range of industry-standard studios and spaces.

Learn from sector-active dance practitioners

Our lecturers and dance tutors are all experienced, professional, and practicing choreographers, technique tutors, dance artists, and dance science specialists.

Our tutors approach each class as an opportunity to share their expertise with you to nurture your talent, extend your creativity, as they get to know you and your aspirations

Collaborative and supportive community

Studying and training at the University of Chichester means that you will join our close, collaborative community of dancers, choreographers, writers, and researchers.

International exchange opportunities

As part of your dance course, you can take part in an international exchange programme during your second year, as you experience new cultures whilst you continue your dance training.

On this course you will:

  • Study 3 aerial technique classes per week with equipment including vertical and horizontal apparatus and harness based dance.
  • Develop your knowledge of physical theatre and narrative choreography.
  • Take daily dance technique classes with dance students on other courses.
  • Perform regularly, including at end of semester shows.
  • Learn from experienced and sector-active dance practitioners and researchers.

The Course

Develop your technical dance and aerial skills as well as nurture your theatricality and creativity

Year One

In your first year, practical training, choreographic exploration, and performance are at the heart of your experience.

In addition, you will develop contextual knowledge through exploring dance history and philosophy through theory and practice.

Year Two

In your second year, you will develop confidence in your theatricality, work with industry aerial artists to learn new technical skills and choreographic approaches, and begin to prepare for a future career within the dance sector.

Your academic writing will develop through core module Research Methodologies where research strategies will be explored and applied in a supportive environment.

Year Three

Your third year centres around an exciting mix of modules that extend knowledge and approaches to theatre making through theoretical and practical consideration of stage design, lighting, and costume in relation to the movement and narrative.

In your aerial technique classes, you will have the option to specialise in one apparatus if desired, or to maintain a breadth of apparatus.

This list is indicative and subject to future change.

Select a year

Choreography and Devising

The module will introduce a range of choreographic techniques, structures and working methods to initiate developments of choreographic skill. You will complete a tutor-led group performance, which will enable you to engage creatively with current choreographic processes, strategies and direction in the development of a performance work through a collective process.

Choreography and Performance

You will explore the creative, compositional, devising and production approaches characteristics of contemporary performance practice through the development of student-led group performance work.

You are encouraged to consider theme, expression and communication through devices and strategies that extend and develop movement possibilities, theatrical modes of presentation and points of view.

You will engage in processes-led investigations that reflect performative contexts within the professional dance sector, leading to an explicit outcome.

Dance Techniques 1

You will complete daily technique classes to develop your performance and dance understanding. You will refine your technical skills through reflective practice. You will explore key elements of dance fitness.

Re-Examining Dances

This module is an opportunity to consider ideas that have shaped the dance landscape and resulted in a range of dance performances.

You will explore dance examples from the UK or the widening global dance field.

You will complete a detailed exploration of one dance example (chosen by your tutor), which will involve both practical and theoretical underpinning, which you will explore the technique and style of the work and the historical, cultural, political and/or artistic contexts in which it resides.

Thinking Through Dance

Using a combination of practical workshops and lectures, the module will explore a range of questions and ideas that underpin contemporary dance.

This module is about doing and thinking. You will question different ways of thinking about dance performance, dance philosophy, and its’ embodiment in practice and explore examples from different performance genres, considering their characteristics in relation to broader ideas and events.

Aerial Creative Lab 1

This module focuses on the devising process and strategies for working in an interdisciplinary way with dance, aerial and physical theatre practices. Normally a group project, this module equips you with group relating skills and techniques relevant to working in a collaborative environment. Building on elements developed in aerial techniques, character and narrative modules, you will apply these skills to address a range of choreographic tasks.

Aerial Dance Techniques 2

Learning and teaching in dance technique at this level embraces complexity in development of movement memory, use of timing and musicality, use of space, and experiential learning through improvisational techniques. More demanding movement sequences and improvisational work challenges you to work in greater depth, employing problem-solving and devising. Use of qualitative interpretation enables you to synthesize action and image in performance. Contextual aspects of dance styles and approaches to technique arise through practice, discussion and feedback. Key elements of ‘dance fitness’ are introduced in this module: strength (core stability), stamina, coordination, body placement, and kinaesthetic awareness. You will be able to transfer knowledge of warm up, cool down and awareness of personal physical abilities and limitations to your own preparation and practice in order to work safely in daily classes.

Composing Dances

This module provides you with an opportunity to broaden your choreographic experience through the development of group pieces using a tutor identified research source. The module focuses on compositional processes, and structural devices.

In the module, you will explore the dynamic relationship between form and content, through a range of tutor led processes, into the development of a collaboratively directed, group piece (normally a trio), that will be assessed in performance.

The module provides you with a further opportunity to advance your

  • Compositional
  • Directing
  • Organisational
  • Performance

skills, honing your ability to reflect critically and offers you experience of working in collaboration, with your peers.

Dance Techniques 2

In this module, your knowledge of dance technique will expand to incorporate the complexity in:

  • Development of movement memory
  • Use of timing and musicality
  • Use of space
  • Experiential learning through improvisational techniques.

More demanding movement sequences and improvisational work challenges you to work in greater depth, employing problem-solving and devising. You will continue to explore key elements of dance fitness and they relate to your newly developed skills and knowledge.

Improvisation & Performance

This module focuses on further development of performance skills and vocabulary from the solo to the group improvisation.

The use of spontaneous compositional practice within group situations, relationship possibilities and the development of:

  • Awareness
  • Kinaesthetic
  • Spatial
  • Aural

Will form the core of issues explored.

The course will build toward the setting of structures for performance through an understanding of scores.

Movement and Character

This module creatively and critically engages you with the skills and processes of working with character, relationships and intentionality in a physical theatre style.

It extends and builds on previous Dance choreography modules by exploring and contextualising the techniques used in physical theatre to devise, sustain, develop and deliver character through movement.

Performance & Place

This module explores site specific, non-theatre based dance and performance work. You will consider site as source for devising choreography alongside theoretical ideas of space and place, and explores how space or location informs the content of site-dance performance.

Preparing the Dance Artist for Work

This module uses a series of guest lectures, seminars and practical sessions to encourage and develop the exchange of knowledge and skills as you consider and plan for your future career in dance. You will develop strategies to connect yourself to dance companies and organisations, internships, and graduate apprenticeships. You will access guidance on self-employment, insurance and DBS requirements through workshops and individual research projects.

Research Methodologies

You will develop a model for your future dissertation project by building on the study skills and knowledge of dance you have already gained on your course.

You will learn how to write a research project and explore what methodologies and source materials are most appropriate for your project.

You will consider and experiment with different methodologies including various theoretical frameworks (historical, cultural, aesthetic, ethnographic), Practice as Research, and quantitative/qualitative research to cultivate a creative approach to their research and writing.

You will use formal written presentation skills ranging from referencing to the use of appendices, a bibliography and general issues relating to how to structure and develop an argument.

Scenography for Dance

Scenography has had a close relationship with contemporary performance in its development through the twentieth and into the twenty-first century.

Key figures in dance as diverse as Loie Fuller, Wayne McGregor and Russell Maliphant have all made contributions to the recognition and progression of scenographic art.

This module introduces the role of lighting and projection as scenographic elements in dance. It addresses themes such as visual composition, the experience of light and the semiotics of performance.

Aerial Creative Lab 2

This module focuses on the devising process and strategies for working in an interdisciplinary way with dance, aerial and physical theatre practices. Building on elements developed in aerial techniques, character and narrative modules, you will apply these skills to address a range of choreographic tasks. You will focus on themes, ideas and techniques explored in the Mask & Costume and Clowning modules that take place in Semester 1. the ways in which these techniques offer opportunities to further develop and sustain a sense of world is a focus of this module.

Aerial Dance Techniques 3

This module enables you to develop aerial dance skills through focused practice. You will engage in up to three areas of aerial work, including working on the horizontal (hoop or trapeze), working on the vertical (rope or fabric) or vertical dance / harness work. There will be a focus on safe technique.

Clowning and Physical Comedy

This module introduces you to the history and development of clowning and physical comedy for performance. It provides contextualisation within historical, cultural, political and social discussions and encourages you to engage critically with the development of physical comedy and clown character in dance and physical theatre.

Dance Techniques 3

This module allows you to explore how corporeal expressivity manifests the embodiment of breath, flow, weight, skeletal articulation, and use of timing, space and focus required for skilful dance performance. Phrasing is considered in relation to use of transitions, development, and elements of risk combined to extend use of physicality and technical range. Complex movement phrases and improvisational situations challenge you to work in greater depth, allowing for development of individual style. Contextual aspects dance styles and approaches to technique arise through practice and discussions, supported by self, peer and tutor appraisal. You are expected to apply and develop key elements of ‘dance fitness’ in your personal preparation and practice of this module.

Dissertation Project

This investigative project encourages you to demonstrate a systematic understanding of a key area of dance practice or research. You will use a combination of written and/or practical methodologies to explore a research area that is of personal interest to you and also informed by aspects of the discipline. You will also engage with more generic skills designed to extend your knowledge in relation to the demands of independent research. for instance, you will learn to select appropriate topics for research; use valid research methods including retrieval skills; engage with critical analysis and the evaluation of source material and structure a coherent argument or line of enquiry in relation to both written and practical elements of the dissertation.

Interdisciplinary Arts Project

This module allows you to develop a cohesive interdisciplinary production that can be shown within a variety of performance contexts including local and national festivals of the arts and in an international context through exchange between Universities.

The module allows you to develop stage management, design and production skills in preparation for the final showing of the work.

In the process of working towards a final performance and/or exhibition, you will be engaged in the planning, choreographing/making and directing/supporting of your work, replicating an environment of a professional setting, supported by daily practice, feedback and guidance.

Mask and Costume

This module introduces you to the history and development of mask and costume for performance. It provides contextualisation within historical, cultural, political and social discussions and encourages students to engage critically with the design and application of mask and costume in dance and physical theatre.

Teaching and Assessment

Feel the support of our experienced and practicing teaching staff


Our expert and experienced dance practitioners get to know you as individual so you can feel more confident to develop your technical skills and explore your creative ideas in a supportive environment.

Outside of scheduled classes you will complete independent study including researching texts, completing individual or group tasks and working on your assignments.

Typical study weeks include:

  • Up to 8 dance technique classes every week
  • Supplemental training practices
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Studio-based workshops


You will complete a range of practical and contextual assessment tasks such as studio technique class assessments, live performances of your choreography, PowerPoint presentations for modules such as Preparing the Dance Artist for Work and written assignments for Research Methodologies and Independent Study Project.

In addition, you will undertake a final written research project that allows you to focus on an area of particular interest to you and deepen your knowledge and understanding.


Dance student
"The teachers are really supportive and understand that everyone has different strengths. Before coming to Chichester I had never done certain aspects before; I was worried that I would struggle and not be able to keep up with everyone else but the teachers have really helped me and pushed me the right amount so that I feel more confident and comfortable in class."


Discover our dedicated dance rehearsal, studios, and performance spaces


Dance student
"We're really lucky at Chichester to have the facilities that we do – the dance studios are amazing."

Work Placements

Reach out and gain vital experience in a range of professional settings

The Dance Department’s strong links with dance companies and organisations across the country can help you secure successful work experience and placement opportunities.

You will have the opportunity to undertake a work placement with a high-profile dance company, arts organisation, or educational setting during your degree. This will help you gain workplace experience and prepare for a range of careers.

Previous students have worked at companies including:

  • Motionhouse
  • Loop Dance
  • Stop Gap
  • Jasmin Vardimon
  • South East Dance
  • Sussex Dance Network
  • The Point
  • Yorke Dance Project
  • One Dance UK
  • Scottish Ballet
  • National Dance Company of Wales
  • Pavilion Dance South West
  • Far Flung Dance Theatre

International Exchanges

See our opportunities for incoming and outgoing international study

Whether you are considering studying Dance here and want to take either a semester or year out to study abroad, or if you are currently studying at a University who has a partnership with the University of Chichester – engaging in an international exchange study programme enriches and broadens your educational experiences.

Outgoing students

As a Dance student at the University of Chichester, you will have the opportunity to study at one of our partner institutions in your second year of study.

Students who have undertaken this in the past have found it to be an amazing experience to broaden their dance horizons, a great opportunity to meet new people, undertake further travelling and to immerse themselves within a new culture.

See our Outgoing Exchanges page for more information.

Incoming students

Coming to study Dance at the University of Chichester, you will be welcomed into our community of dancers and will be surrounded by creativity and cultural exchange opportunities. The city of Chichester is a beautiful and historic place for you to get to know.

You are also close to the lively cities of Brighton, Portsmouth and Southampton as well as a train journey away from getting into London.

See our Incoming Exchanges page for more information.

Ellie and Tara

Dance graduates
"The exchange to Toronto was the best opportunity we both ever could have asked for. Toronto is an incredible and vibrant city and we are both grateful that we could call it home for a year. In summary, the exchange enabled us to meet amazing people that we can both call friends for life; as well as people that provide connections for future endeavours. As dance students, the exchange allowed us to try new techniques and classes that widened our understanding of contemporary dance, as well as giving us the chance to work with new Professors - that were extremely insightful and inspirational. In addition to exploring Toronto, we both chose to travel further around North America, mainly including the West of Canada and the USA, we found that this adventure was a perfect way to conclude our year abroad."

Graduate Success

Join our community of successful alumni

Graduates from our dance programmes have progressed into exciting, rewarding careers and taken up influential roles in all aspects of the dance sector.

Our students have performed with:

  • Richard Alston
  • Tavaziva
  • Shobena Jeysingh
  • Lila Dance
  • Protein Dance
  • BalletBoyz
  • Akram Khan
  • Flex and Sandiland

Past students have gone on to work at leading dance institutions such as:

  • Sadler's Wells
  • RAD
  • Trinity Laban
  • ISTD
  • The Point


Open up your future career options

Our BA (Hons) Dance, Aerial and Physical Theatre degree has built-in career preparation to prepare you for a range of careers across the dance industry.

Past dance students have gone on to the following careers:

  • Dancers in established companies
  • Independent dance artists and community practitioners
  • Artistic directors
  • Choreographers
  • Dance teachers in secondary, primary and college settings (after completing their PGCE training)
  • Dance film makers
  • Arts managers and producers
  • Technical theatre managers
  • Dance photographers
  • Lecturers and researchers

Further Study

You could choose to continue your studies at postgraduate level.

Study options at the University of Chichester include:

  • MA Performance: Dance
  • MA Dance Research
  • MA Choreography and Professional Practice
  • MA Dance, Somatics and Dance Science
  • MA Choreography (Independent Research)
  • MA Dance: Advanced Practice

University of Chichester alumni who have completed a full undergraduate degree at the University will receive a 15% discount on their postgraduate fees.

Course Costs

Course Fees 2024/25

UK fee
International fee

For further details about fees, please see our Tuition Fee page.

For further details about international scholarships, please see our Scholarships page.

To find out about any additional costs on this course, please see our Additional Costs page.

Entry Requirements

Typical offers (individual offers may vary):

tariff points.
A Levels
28 points
with no element lower than 5.5.


You will participate in a dance audition (two and half hour practical) which is designed to assess your potential to respond both technically and expressively. You will also undertake the Ballet barre and a solo performance which can include more expressive and physical theatre elements. You will also complete an interview where you can showcase your interest and training or experience in dance. Find out more about this process below.

Auditions and Interviews

Everything you need to know

Auditions and interviews usually run from November until March. Our dance auditions are designed to support you to showcase your skills and passion for dance in a friendly, and creative environment.

We promote an open and friendly environment so that you can enjoy your experience and feel a sense of worth and achievement from the audition process itself.

We aim to engage you in a genuine dialogue during your audition process. The audition is a chance for you to get to know us here at The University of Chichester dance department and for us to get a clear understanding of who you are, what you need, and how we can best prepare you for your degree.

We judge you on your skills, your potential, and your personality, not your background.

Audition cost

There is a £25 fee for the audition which can be paid via our online store.


You will dance alongside fellow applicants in a 90-minute high-energy contemporary dance class, designed to assess your potential to respond both technically and expressively. The practical audition is designed to mirror a first-year experience so you will also take part in a tutor-led contemporary technique class and a creative task exploration.

We are looking for your potential for contemporary dance study (technique and creative practice) and how you work with others on practical tasks. We understand that you may feel nervous about dancing in front of an audition panel and will do our best to put you at ease so that you can perform to the best of your ability.

Please wear dance clothes that you can easily move in. For example, tights, leggings, or dance trousers with a leotard or fitted top. You will dance in bare feet for your contemporary dance and creative session.

We like our students to be enthusiastic, excited about studying contemporary dance, and prepared to have a go even if something is challenging. Please don’t worry about any aspect of the practical audition and remember that our students come from a range of dance backgrounds for all our courses. We do not expect perfection and are looking for your potential.

Upload a 1-minute Solo Performance

Your solo is pre-prepared and an opportunity for you to demonstrate your performance skills. It should be in a contemporary dance style. You can choose any music you like but you should not select a pop song. You can dance in silence if you wish.


You will also attend an interview with a member of the University of Chichester dance team for where you can discuss your training or experience in dance and specific areas that interest you.

You will be interviewed in pairs or threes. You will be asked to talk about your experience and interest in dance and why you wish to study dance. This interview format is similar to the tutorials and seminar-based activities you will experience at the University, so you are encouraged to discuss ideas with each other. We offer a range of courses, so we are likely to ask about why you have selected this specific course.

We want to see a student who is genuinely interested in studying contemporary dance and is prepared to move beyond dance practice as a hobby. We like to hear about the professionals (choreographers, dancers, researchers) who interest and inspire you and your aspirations for the future.

How to Book Your Audition

If you are invited to audition you will receive an email asking you to book your audition date on ChiView. If you are unsuccessful we will email you to let you know.

You can usually book two or three different days on ChiView at one time. Once these dates are close ChiView will refresh to show new options. If none of the current dates suit you then you should wait until the dates renew and check again. Dates are released two to three weeks in advance.

Once you have booked your audition or interview you will have access to the relevant documents on ChiView.

Log in to the ChiView portal, click on ‘Events schedule’ and then ‘View details’ to view, download, or print documents telling you how to prepare for your audition and what to expect on the day.

If your situation changes and you can no longer attend your interview date you should cancel your booking in ChiView by visiting your ‘Event Schedule’ and clicking ‘Cancel Attendance’. You also need to inform the admissions team by emailing admissions@chi.ac.uk so we can send you a new audition invitation.

Using ChiView

Sometimes if you are viewing your ChiView portal on a phone you will not be able to see the page correctly. If this happens you should try again on another device.

You may need to clear your browser history.

If you are still unable to see the ‘View details’ button, please check that you have successfully booked your audition/interview by clicking ‘respond to interview invitation’.

If all else fails, please email admissions@chi.ac.uk with query and applicant number.

Auditioning for More Than One Course

Different courses have different requirements. If you are auditioning for:

  • BA (Hons) Dance and BA (Hons) Dance Performance: you should complete the written essay and upload a solo
  • BA (Hons) Dance Aerial and Physical Theatre and BA (Hons) Dance Performance: you should upload a solo
  • BA (Hons) Dance Education and Teaching and BA (Hons) Dance Performance: you should complete the written essay and upload a solo
  • BSc (Hons) Dance Science and BA (Hons) Dance: you should complete the dance science essay
  • BSc (Hons) Dance Science and BA (Hons) Dance Performance: you should complete the dance science essay and upload a solo
  • BSc (Hons) Dance Science and BA (Hons) Dance Aerial and Physical Theatre: you should complete the dance science essay and upload a solo
  • BSc (Hons) Dance Science and BA (Hons) Dance Teaching and Education: you should complete the dance science essay

In your interview we will discuss which course you are most suited to.

Can I change my application to a different course?

Yes. Email the Admissions Tutor for the course you want to change to; complete the preparation for that course. At your audition please highlight your change of course with a member of staff.

I am interested in Dance Science, but not sure whether I want to do the BSc or the MSci, do I need to decide now?

There are different entrance and progression criteria for the BSc and the MSci programmes. If you meet these criteria you can opt for either course. If you enrol on the MSci from the outset you will be more likely to have your funding guaranteed for the full four years. It is possible to transfer from one programme to the other after you begin your studies, up until commencing your third year.

What if I forget my Health and Injury Questionnaire?

You can send it to us after the audition, although we won’t be able to process your application until we have received everything.

On The Day

Your audition day will include a practical audition, your interview, and any additional tasks you need for your course. You will have the option to attend a campus tour prior to your audition to see the student accommodation, dance and sports facilities and get a sense fo the layout of the campus.

Whilst you complete your practical audition your guests can visit our campus canteen, coffee shops or take a wander into the nearby city centre for a coffee.

After the practical audition you will take part in a small-group interview session where you can discuss your passion for dance and ask any questions you may have about the course and university life.

If you have not already uploaded the following items, please bring with you on your audition day:

  • a passport-sized photograph of you to help us identify you
  • your completed Health and Injury Questionnaire (available on ChiView after you book your audition)


You can park on-site if you buy a pay-and-display ticket but please note that the demand for car park spaces exceeds the spaces available, particularly during term time. For this reason, there are specific parking controls and restrictions to ensure the efficient and effective operation of the University, equity of access and fairness.

There are clearly marked disabled parking bays available at both campuses.

After Your Audition

After your audition we will discuss your application and our decision onto the admissions team who will update our decision on UCAS. We aim to let you know within a few working days of your audition.

  • We make bespoke offers: Your offer is specifically for you. If we offer less than your predicted grades, this is because we want you to join us and we want to take a bit of pressure off of you heading into your exams.
  • We only offer unconditional offers in exceptional circumstances. Unless you already have your grades (you are a mature student), we normally insist on certain grade achievements because we want you to succeed in all aspects of your academic life including your A levels, BTEC, etc.
  • If you do not get the grades you wanted, don’t panic. You received an offer because you were good enough for the department at audition. Ring us on the clearing hotline so we can discuss things with you.
  • We may offer you a different course: We may offer you a place on a course within the department that is different to the one they applied for. If this is the case, we will speak to you about this at your audition or shortly afterwards. We will explain our reasoning, which will revolve around placing you on the most appropriate course where we think you will thrive.


Frequently asked questions

How do I apply?

Click the ‘Apply now’ button to go to relevant UCAS page.

What are UCAS tariff points?

Many qualifications have a UCAS Tariff value. The score depends on the qualification, and the grade you achieved.

How do I know what my UCAS tariff points are?

Head to the UCAS Tariff Points web page where you can find a tariff points calculator that can tell you how much your qualification and grades are worth.

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