Master of Dance

Course MC-DANCE (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Year and Campus: 2016 - Southbank
CRICOS Code: 085430G
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 150 credit points taken over 18 months full time.


Helen Herbertson


Helen Herbertson

Currently enrolled students:

Future students:

Course Overview:

The Master of Dance provides opportunities for suitably qualified candidates to further develop their potential for artistic leadership and to enrich their professional practice. The structure and content of the course places a distinctive focus on the integration of performance skills and choreographic practice (both live and screen based), facilitating a holistic physical sensibility underpinned by a commitment to artistic excellence, collaboration and interdisciplinary practice.

The Master of Dance will provide an enhanced level of sophisticated training, creativity and artistry commensurate with that required in the field and is suited to dancers, performers, improvisers, dance-makers, choreographers and body-based practitioners. The course will equip students with a high level of professional skill and expertise as a multi-dimensional dance artist, maintaining connections with other VCA disciplines (directing, design, music, Film/TV) via cross-disciplinary subjects and collaborative projects and through a range of encounters with practising artists and organisations.

The degree offers a balance of intensive, practical, project and laboratory based workshops, seminars, master classes and theoretical subjects across three semesters culminating in the realisation of a range of independent practice-led projects.

Learning Outcomes:

Through a balance of presentations of creative work and theoretical subjects the key learning outcomes are:

  • An understanding of corporeal, spatial and temporal relationships in the constructing and presenting performance;
  • Ability to develop and apply a breadth of choreographic, directing and performance strategies in the creation and performance of artistic work;
  • Advanced capacity to plan and implement a development process and coordinate the creation and realisation of artistic materials;
  • Advanced capacity to collaborate with others;
  • Ability to work with creative integrity and flexibility both individually and within a creative team in the creation and organisation of multi-disciplinary work;
  • Advanced ability to understand the nature of contemporary performance practice and situate their work and artistic concerns within it;
  • The ability to communicate ideas and aesthetic values in artistic modes involving movement, sound, light and moving image;
  • The capacity to locate practical projects in a larger cultural context and in relation to related practices, theory and philosophical frameworks;
  • Consolidated practice-led research experience resulting in skills in research methodologies plus the capacity to gather and organise related documentation;
  • Critical, analytical, and conceptual skills that lay the foundation for further higher degree research.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Year One – Semester 1

DNCE90007 - Process & Practice 1

DNCE90003 - Cross Disciplinary Lab 1

DNCE90005 - Performance & Research Approaches 1

DNCE90010 - Project 1

Year One – Semester 2

DNCE90007 - Process & Practice 2

DNCE90004 - Cross Disciplinary Lab 2

DNCE90006 - Performance & Research Approaches 2

DNCE90011 - Project 2

Year Two – Semester 1

DNCE90009 - Process & Practice 3

DNCE90012 - Project 3

Subject Options:
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Semester 2
Semester 1
Entry Requirements:

1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed:
• an undergraduate degree in dance; or
• at least five years of documented professional experience in dance and/or related performing arts.

Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection.

2. In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:
• prior academic performance; and
• professional experience.

3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Student Application and Selection Procedure

4. Applicants are required to satisfy the university’s English language requirements for postgraduate courses. For those applicants seeking to meet these requirements by one of the standard tests approved by the Academic Board, performance band 6.5 is required.

Core Participation Requirements:

Participants should possess and/or display potential to develop:

  • Skills in the creative arts: performing arts, dance, choreography, improvisation, digital media, music etc.
  • Competencies in applying tools & techniques in imaginative play, lateral thinking, interpersonal & intrapersonal skills, social creativity.
  • Commitment to an intense praxis study model that encompasses research and practice

Behavioral and Social Attributes:

  • Students must possess behavioral and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment.
  • Students must take full responsibility for their own participation and learning.
  • Students also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative environments and must therefore demonstrate a range of interpersonal skills and consider the needs of others. Assessment will include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.


  • Students who have a disability which may prevent them from participating in tasks involving these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:

Adjustments can be provided to minimise the impact of a disability; however, students will need to participate in the course in an independent manner.

Graduate Attributes:
  • Advanced skills and techniques applicable to the discipline
  • A capacity to engage where appropriate with issues in contemporary society
  • The capacity to value and participate in projects which require team work
  • An appreciation of the design, conduct and reporting of original research
  • An ability to evaluate and synthesise the research and professional literature in the discipline
  • A capacity to articulate knowledge and understanding in oral and written presentations
  • An advanced understanding of the changing knowledge base in the specialist area
  • Well developed problem-solving abilities in the discipline area characterised by flexibility of approach
  • An understanding of the significance and value of arts-based knowledge to the wider community
Generic Skills:
  • work across disciplines, create and organise a range of aesthetic material
  • work as a leader showing initiative and openness
  • communicate orally and in writing
  • collaborate and be flexible
  • use a range of research tools and methodologies
  • lead others in the skills of problem solving
  • interpret and analyse with a capacity for critical thinking
  • reflect and evaluate to employ innovation methodologies
  • network, broker and mentor

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