Master of Dance

  • CRICOS code: 105697M

What will I study?


Course Structure

The Master of Dance is a graduate degree consisting of 7 compulsory subjects, normally taking two years of full-time study. It is taught in English and is located at Level 9 of the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Students with an existing Honours qualification in a Dance or related discipline may be able eligible for 100 points credit for the year 1 subjects and enter the Master of Dance at year 2. Admission is based on previous academic achievement or professional experience in dance or related performing arts.


Body, Time, Space and Place

This subject addresses the theory and practice of dance in situ. Practices of ‘listening to country’, dancing-place and ecological dramaturgy are central to the subject and are introduced through site specific enquiries. Body trainings that cultivate attunement to country, earth, air and environment are taught within a residential context. Intercultural understandings in relation to indigenous, immigrant and settler colonial experiences of place and body, underpin the exploration of different approaches to site-based dance and choreography. Coming to know a place through movement develops into choreographies of place that frame values, ecological perceptions and reciprocal relations.

Inter-Disciplinary Dance Methods

This subject explores different methodological approaches for the postgraduate study of dance. Drawing upon recent developments in the Dance Studies field with a focus on inter-disciplinary praxis, this subject encourages the critical alignment of concepts, practices and theories with dance as a way of knowing and embodied movement culture. Addressing some of the fundamental issues for engaging with dance intellectually and sensorially, it invites students to probe and unpack legacies of dance history in relation to artistic movements and be innovative in analysing future possibilities for convergences between dance and other disciplines. It is directed towards critically addressing historical, artistic-aesthetic and cultural-political dimensions of dance and developing methods for navigating the tensions and possibilities evident in interdisciplinary research.

Choreography as Research

This subject invites understanding of the heterogenous ground through which choreography as research takes place. Through a collaborative and constructive laboratory environment, students engage in choreographic practice and explore artistic identity in relation to the shifting roles of the choreographer. Workshopping the many possibilities opened by corporeal and conceptual engagements with contemporary movements, discourses, things, theories, technologies, histories, places and praxes choreography is understood as a form of lively address and an interdisciplinary practice. Students develop their working knowledge of dramaturgy and their capacities for observation, responsiveness and critical awareness in constructing self/peer review and feedback. This subject is delivered through intensive practical workshops, laboratory tasks, feedback sessions, seminars and tutorials.

Dance Writing, Archives & Documentation

Dance Writing, Archives & Documentation focuses on the way dances are transmitted and how we respond to and engage with the traces that remain. It takes advantage of shifts in the last decade in dance historiography that move beyond the Western canon of modern and postmodern dance and the idea of linear temporal progress, to consider dance history through different registers of representation, global geography and space. Methods of movement writing; oral traditions of dance; cultural heritage; mapping technologies; multi-modal documentation; video capture; living dance archives; notation, scores and diagrams are some of the tools through which to convene relations between performance re-enactment and contemporary dance practices. In addressing how we talk about past dance with respect to the present, this subject addresses how dance travels and moves between bodies, materialities, media and histories. It will cover areas of focus including choreographic objects, cultural commons, costumes, cultural heritage and performing the archive in relation to museum and gallery collections.


Critical Dance Pedagogy

This subject focuses on the art and science of dance teaching and learning within diverse contexts. The social and disciplinary construction of dance pedagogy is explored through an in-depth introduction to the field of dance education research. Examining important questions in dance education such as what constitutes inclusive and excellent teaching, this subject provides students
with teaching strategies for work in the dance studio, community setting, school and tertiary environment. It aims to develop competencies in how best to teach and support the development of mind-body capacities, dance literacy and applied practice that is culturally relevant. The subject will be delivered through seminars, workshops and a supervised placement with an arts organisation or community dance environment.

Dance Science & Somatics

Dance Science and Somatics is an emerging field of dance knowledge. In this subject students gain understanding of how to enhance their practice through the disciplines of physiology, biomechanics and psychology and the intersection of these disciplines with embodied and somatic dance practices. Delivered through studio labs, practical demonstrations and seminars, this subject brings body knowledge to the foreground within an interdisciplinary context. With a focus on safe dance practice that enfolds sensitivity, imagination and creativity this subject provides know-how and theory for practitioners to dance safely and enhance their performance within environments of creative risk. Together the somatic and scientific threads combine to generate an in-depth knowing of the mindbody and clarify each student’s understanding of their unique physical and psychological self and patterns of moving. Students will develop the knowledge to optimise their physical and mental performance, avoid injury and work safely as dancers within diverse situations.

Research Project (Capstone)

This is a research-based subject in which students design and conduct a research project on a topic of their own choosing. Their findings are presented, contextualised and critically discussed through Exegesis and a Creative Portfolio. The Exegesis and the Creative Portfolio locates the research in relation to current issues, developments and perspectives in dance scholarship and, where relevant, related disciplines. It may include live performance and/or online video. This subject provides an opportunity for students to pursue a particular interest, related to the material covered in the taught programme, but which also extends beyond or significantly deepens the knowledge acquired in other subjects. The Exegesis and the Creative Portfolio promotes independent thinking and originality in the application of existing paradigms and/or the development of new knowledge and performance. It develops and tests students' understanding of research methods, their cognitive skills in synthesising and evaluating data, and practical skills in information searching, data handling, research management and design. As such the Exegesis and Creative Portfolio functions, where relevant, as preparation for and a pathway to a Research Higher Degree.

Sample course plan

View some sample course plans to help you select subjects that will meet the requirements for this coursework.

200-point program