Understanding the Difference between Learning and Training in Contemporary Dance in Preparation for a Career as a Performer in the Dance Industry
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this research project is to unveil new findings about the preparation undergraduate dance students receive to become a contemporary dance performer. This study focusses on the differences between training to dance at a conservatoire and learning to dance at a university. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used. Four participants were interviewed, two of which trained to dance at conservatoires and two of which learned to dance at university. They were asked questions regarding what they valued about their preparation for a career in contemporary dance performance. Research was also conducted into every Dance (BA) Single Honours Degree course offered by conservatoires and universities in the UK, where key features of the courses were compared and similarities and differences were distinguished and discussed. The findings indicate that neither approach is more appropriate for a prospective dance student, as each institution specialises in different areas. Universities focus on creating a creative, all-round dance artist, with a range of transferrable skills, while conservatoire courses also train their dancers in several areas, but have an emphasis on technique and therefore create technically excellent dancers. These findings shed light on the difference between the pathways and what is needed of a performer, and create implications for prospective students. There is no pathway better than the other for prospective dance students to take; it depends on what type of performer the student wants to become.
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