Professional dance training and careers

Which universities offer opportunities for studying dance?

The Universities and Colleges Admissions System (UCAS) have an online database of University degree courses at www.ucas.ac.uk.

The Council for Dance Education and Training provide information on dance colleges which offer vocational training, some of which also offer degree and postgraduate level courses. See our links and resources page or phone CDET on 020 7240 5703.

Where can I find out about postgraduate courses in dance and what funding is available for these?

The Prospects website www.prospects.csu.man.ac.uk contains listings of postgraduate courses at Universities across the UK, and some useful advice on funding.

The Council for Dance Education and Training provide information on vocational dance colleges which offer postgraduate level courses, and can advise on funding. See our links and resources page or phone CDET on 020 7240 5703.

I want to train as a dancer, how do I go about it?

First of all decide what kind of dancing you would like to specialise in. Get advice from your dance teacher and try to be realistic in your goals.

The Council for Dance Education and Training holds a list of accredited dance training courses. These cover most types of dance from classical ballet to musical theatre to contemporary. Some training courses start at age 16, some at 18. Most last at least three years and some, though not all, will result in a degree qualification. Magazines such as Dancing Times, Dance Theatre Journal (published by the Laban Centre London), and The Stage newspaper often have adverts for dance training courses.

You should contact the schools you are interested in to see if they are holding an open day when you can visit to find out more. Some dance training schools are listed in the links pages under organisations who are members of Dance UK.

Where can I get advice about funding for vocational training?

At Dance UK we frequently get enquiries about funding for vocational training. We don’t specialise in vocational training, or funding for this, but we can give you advice on where to go.

First, the Dance and Drama Awards (DaDA), are scholarships funded by the Learning and Skills Council. They are awarded by schools to the students who display the most potential to succeed in their profession. DaDAs are the stream of funding designed especially for talented students that have been accepted onto vocational courses. More information on DaDA Awards and how they work can be found on the CDET website detailed below, alternatively you can find information and eligibility criteria at www.direct.gov.uk/danceanddrama.

Second, ask the college(s) you have been accepted to, to see if they can offer any help, assistance or guidance on how to cover the cost of fees.

The Council for Dance Education and Training (CDET) is a good place to start as their purpose is to provide help and advice in all aspects of dance training. Visit the relevant page on their website or call them 020 7240 5703

BBC launched a Training in Musical Theatre  scheme in April 2009. It is open to ambitious and talented students aged 17 and over with a place, or applying for one, on a professional musical theatre training course in the UK, and without the means to pay for the fees. This scheme is open to students who are about to start their course and to students who are part way through a course.

Find your national or regional dance agency - these are organisations set up to facilitate dance in regions. Their remits vary, but they are there to promote dance in their areas and may be able to help.

Have a look too at the Educational Trust's Form . This is a body which facilitates funding of all kinds of educational opportunities, so is not dance focused, but has a wide knowledge of what kind of funding and support is avaliable, or for which certain individuals may be elligible.

Also consider getting in touch with the Prince's Trust. We have heard of them offering travel grants to young dance students.

Other websites which list funds available are Creative Choices and Scholarship Search.

After this, our advice is as follows:

Start local: there are a lot of young people that are looking for this kind of funding and national schemes for funding will be attracting nationwide applicants. In contrast local sources can be less competitive - stress that you are / your child is a talented local child.

Speak to your local education authority and see if they have any schemes, or any knowledge of local schemes or programmes that you can apply for.

Look for charities that specialise in your region. Look also at large companies based in your area. In some ways the larger and wealthier the better. For example the insurance company AXA, which was then based in High Wycombe, used to offer funding and support for young people within a certain catchment area for a variety of projects.

Press: press stories are great for encouraging local funds or companies to support you. Call the local paper. If you / your child is performing solo or with their school or class invite them and a photographer. If there are any unusual angles you can offer them, do so - how their interest in dance began, or that they’re selling their favourite things on eBay to add to their tuition fee fund. Once you have some press clippings it can be a nice touch to attach them to the letters you are writing and any funding applications you submit.

Ring up your local MP’s office or write to them, asking for help / suggestions with the problem of realising your child’s potential in dance. Stress what an achievement it is to be offered a place at a vocational school.

Push all the buttons you can think of - it is a hard task ahead as there are a lot of people in this position.