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M.A. Dance Studies Roehampton - any feedback?


ballyhoo
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I'm thinking of doing the MA in Dance Studies in Roehampton University. Has anyone out there done it, or studied other Dance courses in Roehampton? I've done my research, but it would be really great to get in touch with someone who's actually done the course. (FYI, my only fear is that there could be too much Culture Studies/Gender Studies/navel gazing. Though of course a certain amount of this is necessary, I really don't want to get bogged down into too much "identity" and left-wing politics, I just want to learn more about dance from various angles). Please advise!

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Ballyhoo, I'man academic in the general area (not at Roehampton). I'm afraid that if you want to do studies at an advanced level, and think that reflection, analysis and self-reflection on your work, other people's work, and the social & historical contexts of the production of art is 'navel gazing' then you may not be cut out for post-graduate studies of that kind. You might be better looking at a conservatoire programme, such as those at Laban or The Place.

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I don't think Laban or The Place indulge in navel-gazing. The students work very hard indeed on their technique in classes in various disciplines, and also research various projects, using their brains and artistic feelings to create work, as well as working with established choreographers.  (Just a quick summary, it would take too long to write it all) 

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I'd also like to register a dislike of the term "navel-gazing" to apply to study of history and critical analysis of any art form or cultural production! Critical or historical study, reflection and self-reflection might not be what you want to do, but they are important forms of learning for artists as well as scholars (and I teach both sorts of students) and give us much new knowledge.

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Roehampton's Dance Department did a 4 year collaboration with English National Ballet to study the effectiveness of simple balletic movements on patients with moderate to severe Parkinsons Disease. The results were very encouraging and I hope more will be done in this area (my mother is a Parkinsons sufferer). For sure not everything Roehampton does is abstract thought.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks to all for your feedback.

 

Oh dear - I seem to have hit a nerve by using the word "naval-gazing". I did not mean to upset anyone. You are right Kate, with a background as an actual dancer, when I dip into the academic dance world and come across overweight Drama graduates describing themselves as "dance artists", my own nerves get irritated. As I said in my initial post, yes there does need to be an element of the Culture/Gender Studies etc., but it seems to me that sometimes there is so much focus on the wider context, that it is hard to see where dance comes into Dance Studies it at all. 

 

At the de Valois conference in White Lodge a few years back, a young dance academic, who had clearly never danced professionally herself, gave a lecture about the "feminisation of ballet", and the "victimhood" of the female dancer. I was confused as to how anyone could have come up with such theories, none of which resonated with my own experience as a female ballet dancer. I shared my confusion with the person next to me, who completely agreed with me and used a word rather less polite than "naval-gazing" to describe the reflection and analysis we had to endure. The person sitting next to me was the Artistic Director of a major UK ballet company.

 

Anyway - I have had contact with a couple of lecturers in Roehampton and they seem very sane to me and thankfully very focused on dance. Indeed, one of them herself commented in a recent publication on how so many academics from non-Dance disciplines (from Sociology, Politics, even Geography) jumped on Dance as an area of research in the 1990s  that "the dance baby got thrown out with the bathwater").

 

We were always taught at school that brevity is key so I will sign off now. Why be succint and say "naval-gazing" when one can  "analyse, reflect and self-reflect on the naval" ? :-)  

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