Professional Dance Diploma
A 3-year full-time diploma available at:
ICTheatre, in partnership with Northern Ballet School, offers a three-year full-time professional course leading to the Trinity College London Diploma in Professional Dance, in addition to the NBS Diploma in Professional Dance.
The TCL Diploma is set at Level 6 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework, equivalent to a first degree.
Following graduation, students can convert their diploma to a degree. The course will prepare you for a career in an industry that demands an ever-widening range of dance performance and related skills.
Students study a range of dance styles and genres throughout the three years of the course, with classical ballet always at the foundation.
Classical ballet is at the core of our training; therefore, studied daily. We believe that a secure and solid classical technique underpins all other dance genres. Alongside Ballet, you will also train in Jazz, Contemporary Dance, Musical Theatre, Tap Dance, Acting, & Singing. Students also have lessons in Anatomy, Pilates, Yoga, Body Conditioning, & Contextual Studies to complement the study of the different dance genres. Workshops and guest classes with current choreographers and dancers help students remain in touch with recent developments in all areas of theatre. Performance opportunities in Y1 include a Student Choreography Show, an outreach project with Hallé Youth and an end of year College Performance.
During Y2, students choose to follow a strong Classical/Contemporary Dance Focus course or a Jazz/Musical Theatre Focus. Whilst both pathways study the same core subjects, aiming to strengthen and further technique, the emphasis varies according to the chosen career route. Additional topics include Repertoire, Double Work/Partnering, Choreography, & Individual Singing Coaching. Workshops and guest classes with current choreographers and dancers mean students remain in touch with contemporary developments in all areas of theatre. Performance opportunities include the Student Choreography Show, a Classical or Jazz Dance based production and an end of year College Performance.
The main emphasis in Y3 is to prepare students for their chosen profession. Audition Preparation Classes are on the timetable, with tutors guiding students on where and how to seek employment suited to their skill-set. Workshops and guest classes with current and dynamic performers and choreographers are available, with students encouraged to suggest suitable practitioners.
During this year, performance opportunities increase. The Student Choreography Show is led by Y3, who devise, plan and rehearse the show. This show is a fundraiser for a charity chosen by the Y3 cohort. In the Spring Term, Y3 students perform a Showcase for agents and directors. The end of the academic year finishes with a College Performance followed by Graduation Ceremony.
Throughout the 3-year course of study, all tutors and staff work together to help NBS students become the performers the theatre dance industry around the world demands – artistically accomplished, technically skilled, self-motivated, and confident!
You can choose to follow the Jazz Focus option in years two and three. Designed to give you all the skills you need to begin a career in the demanding world of commercial theatre, this pathway has a multi-disciplinary approach that provides you with a strong base while also giving you the freedom to develop your strengths and interests.
Your core classes
To reflect the diversity of skills demanded by the industry – ‘Triple Threat’ requirement that performers be strong in dance, acting, and singing, you will study jazz (and jazz repertoire) in various styles, ballet, contemporary, tap, vocal studies, and acting. These last two are essential to help build your confidence, stage presence and theatricality while giving you skills in characterisation and interpretation.
You’ll keep up to date with current industry trends by attending workshops, and guest classes with contemporary choreographers and dancers, keeping you in touch with recent developments in this highly dynamic area of theatre. These classes combine with your broad study of jazz technique, giving you a wide range of skills to draw on.
Classical Ballet / Contemporary Focus
This option for Years Two and Three of your course is open to students with the particular attributes favourable to gaining employment in areas where strong Classical Ballet and/or Contemporary Dance are at the core.
Giving you the foundations of secure ballet technique
All students at the school build these during their first year of study. Those students who choose the Classical Ballet Focus option for Years Two and Three then go on to cover supported adage, partner work, repertoire, and virtuosity, in addition to their daily classes.
Giving you more than strong technique
As a classical dancer, you must be much more than just a strong technician. That’s why at NBS, we nurture the broader range of skills required of today’s classical dancers. We give you opportunities to perform in various dance styles and genres during your training and study complementary subjects like acting, anatomy, and pilates. You’ll also check dance history, music and choreographic styles supported by theatre visits and audio-visual material. In year three, we’ll work with you to increase your strength and stamina, develop individual performance style and artistic eloquence, and provide personal coaching and advice in audition techniques.
Practical performance experience
To help bridge the gap between training and a professional career, our students give regular performances in the school’s 430-seat public theatre. They also join a variety of Master Classes held at the school with eminent dancers and teachers.
Mode of Attendance: Full-time
Length of Course: Three Years
Contact Hours: 32 Per Week
Awarding Institution: Trinity London
NBS’s Professional Dancer’s Course Dance is accredited by Trinity College London and the Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT). CDMT offers quality assurance and membership services to institutions delivering training, education and assessment in the performing arts.
Campus Delivery: Manchester
Language of study: English
Final Award: Trinity Level 6 Diploma in Professional Dance and the Northern Ballet School Diploma in Professional Dance.
This incorporates the Trinity Level 6 Diploma in Professional Dance, the vocational equivalent of a first degree.
GCSE Maths and English at a minimum grade C/4. There may be an option to retake these subjects externally if necessary by College Principal approval.
Auditions: The NBS full-time course is open to students who can show suitable artistic and technical talent or potential, as demonstrated at audition and interview. You should have the necessary physical and mental aptitudes for a demanding course of study and are over the UK statutory school leaving age.
The Audition Day is as follows:
• Ballet Class
• Jazz or Contemporary Dance Class
• Solo of your own choice
Graduates can progress directly to employment in theatre and related creative industries.
Course Fees: the Academic year 2022-23: £14,064 (UK students), £14,640 (non-UK students)
Funding – Dance and Drama Awards
NBS is one of the leading providers in professional dance training and therefore receives an allocation of funds for Dance and Drama Awards (DaDA’s) for students each year. The government’s DaDA scheme is facilitated by the Education Funding Agency (EFA). It provides significantly reduced tuition fees for students who show exceptional talent and the potential to succeed in the profession. Only students studying for the Trinity Diploma are eligible to be considered for DaDA support. The DaDA are income assessed and may offer help with living costs.
Please note students are unable to access student loans from Student Finance England for the Trinity Diploma Course.
The latest news on funding can be found here.
For further information about the awards and eligibility, please visit the DaDA website.
At Northern Ballet School, our students must experience a wide range of studies to become informed creative dancers.
These modules are provided over and above the core subjects of your course and give you the best possible career prospects in today’s demanding industry. Trips and outings to enjoy Manchester’s rich theatrical and cultural tradition enhance the rounded education we offer.
The four modules of the course run through all three years of study. You can then choose optional subjects within the modules to suit your individual needs and ambitions:
Module: Dance Studies
Dance Studies is the central module for all students, with classical ballet studied by everyone. At NBS, we believe that the benefit of a solid classical technique underpins good technique in other forms of dance. A wide variety of styles, including jazz, contemporary and tap, are studied
As your first year progresses, you’ll begin to specialise in those areas that interest you most. With a tutor assigned to the group, you’ll be in a subject group that best matches your skill levels, career aims, and ultimate objectives. This ensures continuity of training and a focus on individual development.
When you move into your second and third years, the balance of subjects you follow will change to suit your chosen specialisation – either a classical ballet/contemporary dance route or jazz theatre/musical theatre route.
Module: Performance Studies
This module allows you to build on the techniques you learn in the Dance Studies module by taking part in performance-based classes. These classes give you a variety of other essential performance skills, including vocal studies and acting, with an understanding of live theatre’s production aspects, including stagecraft, make-up, costuming, props management, microphone technique, and the basics of stage lighting and design. You’ll work on auditioning, casting procedures and the disciplines of rehearsal and scheduling.
Repertoire (classical, contemporary, jazz, musical theatre) is a crucial component of this module which will give you many of the skills necessary for a career in professional theatre, along with opportunities to learn and perform in a variety of different genres and styles.
Module: Contextual Studies
This module widens and deepens your knowledge and understanding of the world of theatrical dance, which in turn will enhance your performance standards and employability.
An important objective is to help you gain a good understanding of how your body works. The aim is to develop your musicality and technique to optimise your physique and minimise the risk of injury in training or performance.
Subjects covered include anatomy, dance history, music about dance, performance psychology, nutrition, health and safety at work, injury prevention, and employment contract terms and conditions.
Module: Ancillary Subjects
This module covers a range of subjects to help you gain and maintain a healthy and robust body and mind, to support you in your training and subsequent career.
The subjects available include, amongst others:
• Body Conditioning
For any questions regarding our courses or if you’d like more information on how to apply to ICTheatre, please contact our Admissions Team on 01273 603 333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.