Dance studies at the School of Dance, University of Cape Town (UCT), has been dynamic. The curricula has transformed from its longstanding tradition of strictly training classical ballet dancers and teachers. Into a more expansive dance training program that nurtures diverse bodies and movers in dance performance, choreography, dance teaching, and research within an academic context. Considered one of the foremost schools of dance on the African continent, the University of Cape Town has the proud distinction of being one of only three higher education institutions in South Africa offering undergraduate and postgraduate studies in dance.
The undergraduate and postgraduate dance programs embrace both the theoretical and the artistic. They prepare students to find and shape a personal and critical artistic voice in contemporary dance performance through a range of dance techniques, including contemporary, release, African contemporary, contemporary ballet, as well as different choreographic approaches. Our program of study, also offers a dance teaching stream that seeks to establish a firm pedagogical foundation for aspiring dance teachers and facilitators of dance.
Dance studies, like many other disciplines in the Southern African academy also must forge its response to what has become a global call for ‘decolonisation” of the curriculum. In what may seem like a rather unsettling time for students and academics, we are challenged to question, rethink, or even re-imagine curricula content, pedagogy, learning assumptions, and outcomes, to embrace diversity and African indigenous modes in our embodied practices. It is within these currents that we harness opportunities to explore new ways of knowing, being and becoming in dance. New ways that can encourage us to think about dance from different contemporary perspectives and to understand the relevance and role of dance studies in South Africa in the here and now.
In 2018, a new development is set to commence. The School of Dance and the School of Drama at the University of Cape Town will merge to become one entity. The partial rationale being increased support for postgraduate supervision and research in dance, an important need at this time to secure the position of dance in academia. The merger is also aimed at increasing opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations between dance and drama, leading to a broader and more enriching study of the two disciplines.
Transformation and change can be difficult, yielding fears and anxiety. Yet in the currents of rethinking and re-imagining the study of dance in academia, chaos, uncertainty, and risk-taking, do not emerge as forces to be feared but as necessary states for creative ingenuity to flourish. Our new 2018 dance program is designed to enable students to experience dance through both interdisciplinary and discipline specific lens within the frames of performance, pedagogy, theatre-making, research and scenography.
In studying dance at the UCT School of Dance, you’ll be a part of our inspiring creative community. You will have the chance to interact and collaborate with other creative arts students such as actors, directors, visual artists, musicians, and theatre-makers.