Aerial Circus Training

BA (Hons) Dance, Aerial and Physical Theatre 

Explore narrative, character and construction of scene and costume through movement practice

3 years Full Time
Bishop Otter Campus


This BA (Hons) Dance, Aerial and Physical Theatre degree offers practical training, technique classes and opportunities to work with professional choreographers and dancers. You will perform at venues such as The Showroom and The Studio Theatre spaces, and learn to use aerial and physical theatre apparatus in addition to your contemporary technique classes. The practice to theory ratio of this course is 70:30.  

You will develop your technical skills and understanding of contemporary dance practice with modules on dance performance, physical theatre techniques, narrative and character development, choreography and performance skills. Alongside this choreographic focus, your aerial technique classes will enable you to develop new ways of moving and extend your movement vocabulary. 

Through modules such as Scenography for Dance and Mask & Costume you will have opportunities to discover scene and costume construction and be able to draw on these broader theatre making strategies to develop your choreographic voice. 

Your Dance Technique classes will focus on a range of contemporary styles as well as ballet. You will also attend 3 aerial technique classes per week to enhance your performance skills. In years 1 and 2 you will be introduced to a range of apparatus, with the option to narrow your focus in third year if you wish to specialize in one apparatus. This course 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.    

On this course you will:

  • Complete 5 shared daily dance technique classes per week with dance students on other courses.
  • Study 3 aerial technique classes per week with equipment including vertical and horizontal apparatus and harness based dance.
  • Perform regularly, including at end of semester shows.
  • Join a close dance community and work with dance students from other courses.
  • Use University facilities including performance and rehearsal spaces.
  • Be able to complete applied dance practice and placements through an optional module.

Teaching and Assessment

How you will learn

You will complete theoretical and practical study in most of your modules. Your typical study week will include dance technique classes, supplemental training practices, lectures, seminars, tutorials, studio-based workshops and application of practice.

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


BA (Hons) Dance Performance
"The Dance Performance course is a great way to widen your dance knowledge and improve your technical abilities. The course is demanding; physically and mentally but in your lessons you learn to channel your energy to make sure you can perform the same at the beginning and the end of each day. The teachers are really supportive and understand that everyone has different strengths. Before coming to Chichester I had never done ballet 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."

The Course

What you will study

You will study a selection of core and optional modules in each year. Each module is worth a number of credits is delivered differently, depending on its content and focus of study.

This list is indicative and subject to change.

Select a year

Dance Techniques

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 explore key elements of dance fitness.

Aerial Technique

This module will introduce you to techniques in three areas of aerial practice; horizontal, vertical and harness based. You will consolidate your existing knowledge as you develop new skills and develop a healthy and safe aerial dance practice. You will improve your body knowledge and use it to inform your application in aerial dance technique and performance. Your practice will draw attention to dynamic alignment, core stability, placement and kinaesthetic awareness, and you will explore personal preparation (warm-up/cool-down) and safe practice in class (awareness of personal limitations and ability).

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.

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.

Movement and Narrative or Performance Project

More information on this module will be available soon. 

Dance Technique and Aerial Technique

More information on this module will be available soon. 

Aerial Creative Lab

More information on this module will be available soon. 

Movement and Character

More information on this module will be available soon. 

Research Methodologies in Dance

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.

Composing Dances

You will broaden your choreographic experience by developing group pieces using a tutor identified research source. You will focus on compositional processes and structural devices and you explore the dynamic relationship between form and content through a range of tutor led processes. You will develop an assessed collaboratively directed group performance (normally in a trio) and have the opportunity to further advance your compositional, directing, organisational and performance skills.

Improvisation and Performance

In this module you will further develop your performance skills and vocabulary in solo performance and group improvisation. You will use spontaneous compositional practice in group situations to explore relationship possibilities and the develop your kinaesthetic, spatial and aural awareness. You will build towards setting structures for performance through an understanding of scores and prepare for performed and assessed structured improvisations at the end of the semester.

Scenography for Dance

Scenography, defined as ‘the dynamic role design plays upon the stage, orchestrating the visual and sensory environment’ (Howard, 2002) 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.

Performance and Place

More information on this module will be available soon. 

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.

Dance Technique (Level 6)

You will continue to train your technique and develop your understanding in daily classes. 

Aerial Technique

This module will introduce you to techniques in three areas of aerial practice; horizontal, vertical and harness based. You will consolidate your existing knowledge as you develop new skills and develop a healthy and safe aerial dance practice. You will improve your body knowledge and use it to inform your application in aerial dance technique and performance. Your practice will draw attention to dynamic alignment, core stability, placement and kinaesthetic awareness, and you will explore personal preparation (warm-up/cool-down) and safe practice in class (awareness of personal limitations and ability).

Aerial Creative Lab

More information on this module will be available soon. 

Mask and Costume

More information on this module will be available soon. 

Clowning and Physical Comedy

More information on this module will be available soon. 

Dance 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.

Body, Space and Place

More information on this module will be available soon. 

Interdisciplinary Arts Project

This intensive module allow you to develop a cohesive interdisciplinary production for a variety of performance contexts including local and national festivals of the arts. You are encouraged to extend your knowledge through collaborative methodologies, production of new work and reflection and evaluation on your project. You will be able to develop stage management, design and production skills in preparation for the final showing of the work and you will be engaged in the planning, choreographing/making and directing/supporting of your work. This mirrors a professional environment and you will be supported by daily practice, feedback and guidance. 

Immersive Choreographic Practices

More information on this module will be available soon. 


Rehearse and perform in practical spaces

You will perform in an Arts Council funded Dance Theatre Space and rehearse in four superb dance studios, the large gymnasium and two sprung-floor spaces. You will also be able to take advantage of a programme of dance company performances, workshops and events supported by Arts Council funding. 

Study Abroad Opportunities

Travel and learn abroad

You will be able to complete an international or European exchange as part of your studies. You could undertake an exchange for one semester or a whole year at one of our partnership institutions in Canada, USA, Sweden, Portugal, Israel, Norway or elsewhere.


Where you could go after your studies

This degree prepares you for a range of careers across the dance industry.

You will prepare for the world of work throughout your course. Several course modules support work-based learning opportunities and teaching placements.

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 receive a discount on postgraduate fees.

Course Costs

Course Fees 2022/23

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.

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

Auditions and interviews usually run from December until March. As well as your interview and practical audition, you will submit a short written task before your interview. 

We aim to offer you a genuine dialogue during your application process. This gives you a sense of worth and achievement from the audition process itself; a sense of ownership for you during the process and, ultimately, is an opportunity 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.

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


You will be interviewed in pairs or threes. You will be asked 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.

Practical Auditions

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 driven workshop.

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 move easily 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 of our course. We do not expect perfection and are looking for your potential.

Written Tasks

The written course is designed to show us your potential and for you to share your ideas about dance with us. There are different written tasks depending on which course you apply for.

BA (Hons) Dance, BA (Hons) Dance Performance, BA (Hons) Dance, Aerial and Physical Theatre, BA (Hons) Dance Education and Teaching

You will need to prepare an essay reviewing a live or recorded performance you have seen recently. Your submission should be approximately one side of A4 and typed in 12-point font.

You are strongly advised not to write about any set works you are studying for your A level or BTEC course.

BSc (Hons) Dance Science Applicants

You will need to prepare an essay focusing on ONE of the following (1 or 2):

  1. The ways in which you think Dance Science can support a dancer in a professional dance company.
  2. Why dancing might be of benefit to the general (non-dance) population. Consider a specific group, such as inactive young people, elderly people with limited activity in their daily life, or people with specific illnesses. Why and how might Dance benefit these people?

Your submissions should be approximately one side of A4 and typed in 12-point font.

Additional Practical Tasks for BA (Hons) Dance Performance and BA (Hons) Dance, Aerial and Physical Theatre

If you are applying for BA (Hons) Dance Performance or BA (Hons) Dance, Aerial and Physical Theatre you will need to complete to following additional tasks.

Ballet Task

You will need to complete a practical ballet task as part of your audition. Ballet supports our contemporary dance practice at the University of Chichester and allows us to see you working in a different technique at audition. Your ballet audition task it is beginner level. We welcome applicants with a range of experiences and are looking for your dance potential, so if you have never done ballet before you should just have a go.

You can wear the same dance clothes as the contemporary technique and creative class but you will need to put on ballet shoes or socks.

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 to select a pop song. You can dance in silence if you wish.

On your audition day you should bring two sources of music with you such as a CD and am iPod. This will help to stop you feeling anxious about your music not working. You should cut your music to the correct length – 1 minute.

We like to hear about what inspired you, so you should be prepared to talk about your choreography.

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 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 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 prepare 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 prepare a solo

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

What is the difference between the BA (Hons) Dance and BA (Hons) Dance Performance?

BA (Hons) Dance is a broad-based dance education offering a range of modules that lead to employment options in various dance careers. The course concludes with an extended project and there are opportunities for a professional placement.

BA (Hons) Dance Performance offers an increased focus on technical training and performance practice in contemporary dance, resulting in a more directed modular menu across the three years. The course concludes with the students dancing as performers in 3Fall Dance Company.

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 written task or 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.

Your Audition Day

On The Day

You audition day will include your interview, practical audition, and any additional tasks you need for your course. You will attend the campus and have the opportunity to learn about our different courses, department, and the University of Chichester in an initial group meeting.

You will complete your practical audition and your guests can wait and have a coffee. We will accompany during your practical piece so please bring copies of any piano accompaniment parts. Please do not bring photocopies unless you have the written permission of the copyright holder.

If you need particular equipment like a drum kit, orchestral percussion or a concert harp, please let the admissions team know so we can have this available for you. If you need to borrow an instrument because you won’t be able to bring your own, like a double bass or cello, please let us know so we can make sure there is one for you to use.

After the practical audition we will run a Q&A session for you and your guests to ask any questions you have.

What Do I Need to Bring?

On your audition day you will need:

  • 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)
  • your written task(s)
  • a pre-prepared 1-minute solo in a contemporary dance style if you are applying for BA (Hons) Dance Performance or BA (Hons) Dance, Aerial and Physical Theatre


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 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 don’t do unconditional offers: Unless you already have your grades (you are a mature student), we will always 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.

When does this course start?

This course starts in September 2022.

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