Déda holds first degree auditions

More than 40 budding dancers from across the UK will visit Déda next week (March 25/26) for the first round of auditions for the new BA (Hons) Dance degree that will start this September.

Déda in Chapel Street have joined forces with the University of Derby to launch the new degree which will one of the only Higher Education courses in the UK that is based off-campus at a professional dance house.  This will give students a better insight into the arts industry and a range of work experience opportunities. degree04.jpg

The candidates will be put through their paces by the team who will lead the degree at Déda.

They are University of Derby lecturer Liz Foster, who has worked with leading dance companies including Rambert, Royal Ballet School and English National Ballet; Alice Vale who has been Déda’s artist in residence for the past two years and runs her own dance company; and Clare Limb who is Head of Dance Development and Learning at Déda and has worked in the Arts for more than 20 years.

Prospective students will first join a contemporary dance style technical class and move into a creative session – working in groups to choreograph a short piece before being interviewed about their experience and ambitions.

Among the dancers auditioning for one of the first places on the degree course will be Joshua Horsley (18) who is currently studying Performing Arts at the nearby Derby College Joseph Wright Centre and who is a member of Déda’s Youth Dance Academy and performs with the award-winning Bounceback group.

Joshua, who lives in Long Eaton, is also an accomplished ballroom dancer and is excited about the extended opportunities for young people in this area.

“I have applied to several universities but I am keen to live at home so I am looking seriously at continuing my education here in Derby.

“I have loved being part of Déda and performing with Bounceback so I know the standards will be high on this course.

“Being based at Déda will give us all great opportunities to gain work experience behind the scenes as well as developing my performance skills.

“I hope to be a professional dancer in the future but I am keen to gain behind the scenes skills too which will hold me in good stead for my future career.

“I am excited but obviously nervous about the auditions and am looking forward to meeting the other candidates who are hoping to join the degree.”

The specialist Dance degree will include theory and practical contemporary dance development with modules covering choreography, dance techniques performance skills, production, history and applying dance in health and community settings.

Degree students will be based at the expanded theatre and dance studio facilities which will be completed at Déda this summer.

The £412,000 project will include the redevelopment of part of the neighbouring Queen’s Leisure Centre which will be linked to the existing Déda building by a stunning glass atrium.  Work is due to start this June and completed by late August.

The new dance studio at Déda has also been designed with capacity for teaching the latest aerial circus dance skills. 

These are growing in stature and demand within the profession and have already featured heavily in outdoor productions staged across the region by the organisation’s sister company Déda Producing.

Students will be working with top choreographers and dance professionals on a daily basis.

There will also be a wide range of work placement opportunities both at Déda and through its extensive network of professional touring dance companies to increase students’ employability in the Arts.

Déda’s Head of Dance Development and Learning Clare Limb said: “Having held a number of open days to talk to prospective students, the auditions are an exciting milestone in the launch of the degree and we are looking forward to meeting the candidates and seeing the dance skills that they already have.

“Launching a degree that is based at a professional dance house and aimed at talented dancers is a natural progression for Déda.

“We have a flourishing youth academy development programme and a national reputation for staging high quality performance.

“The degree therefore bridges the gap between these two successful areas of work.

“It fulfils a real need in the region for a specialist degree that has a clear focus on the employability skills required to be successful not only as a professional dancer but also in a range of different careers including teaching in schools as a dance specialist, community development work and professional choreography.”

Huw Davies, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Arts Design and Technology added: “Students on the course will be based at Déda and will also benefit from our full range of student facilities, support and life experience as they will be part of the University.

“The new degree will attract talented dancers from across the country and greatly contribute to the cultural life of the city and county.

“We look forward to welcoming the first students in September who will have the opportunity to experience Déda’s wonderful new facilities, and the high quality teaching and mentoring from some of the top dance professionals in the UK.”

Find out more about the degree at:  www.derby.ac.uk/dedadance


Media enquiries:

Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665; sarah@jjpublicrelations.co.uk

Note to Editors


Déda (formerly known as Derby Dance) is a unique venue located in Derby city centre offering a dance-focussed arts programme. The building houses two performance spaces, two professionally equipped dance studios, conferencing facilities and the CUBE café|bar.

With a class curriculum of almost 50 classes a week and an extensive community development programme Déda is one of the key cultural organisations in the city.

Déda receives funding from Arts Council England and Derby City Council.

About Arts Council England

The Arts Council champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk