Performing Arts

Join our Performing Arts department where we aspire to support each learner to find their own style and individuality.

We have purpose-built studios that foster creative and practical learning while providing a supportive environment in which to thrive. Learners have the opportunity to showcase their skills in public performances in our award-winning theatre, The Space, and through screen dance and acting for camera.

We are delighted that our portfolio of courses has recently expanded to include degree programmes in Professional Dance Practice and Professional Theatre Practice, validated by University West London: College of Music.

Our highly experienced practitioners and lecturers offer a wide variety of specialisms. There will be opportunities to gain industry-relevant experience to help prepare you for the world of work. We have a fantastic Advisory Board comprising industry specialists whom you will meet during your studies. We are delighted to have professional industry links with The Rep and The Scottish Dance Theatre, as our Associate Companies.

The quality of our department has gained national recognition and we continue to offer a high level of both practical and pastoral support to help individuals get the best out of their training and to guide them to future development and career opportunities. We advocate gaining a broad understanding of the scope of work that performing arts learning can lead to and help you prepare for your next chosen steps.

Whenever possible we opt for active, hands-on, practical learning that is both explorative and creative. In addition, there is a range of exciting and inspiring optional masterclasses, workshops and other performance opportunities available for learners at all levels.

Chiara's Story

Chiara Cassarino from Syracuse in Italy studied HND Contemporary Dance Performance and BA (Hons) Dance.

“I was doing an HNC in Professional Dance Performance at New College Lanarkshire when my lecturer noticed I had a particular passion for contemporary dance. She suggested I audition at The Scottish School of Contemporary Dance at D&A College.”

Chiara was successful and began her studies in Dundee in 2018.

“My favourite aspect was being able to challenge myself every day and feel the impact of all this knowledge change my persona. I became more cultured, open-minded and confident about the industry that I want to be in for the rest of my days. As an international student, I loved the whole experience of being abroad, creating new relationships with my classmates and making connections for possible future work.”

When Chiara returned to Italy after achieving her degree, she found a job as a fitness instructor and performer then secured a teaching role at a private dance school.

“My biggest ambition is to work for the Italian Government as a Contemporary Dance Lecturer.”

Glen’s Story

Glen McArtney had never danced before joining the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance but, with the support of his tutors, he quickly gained confidence and knowledge.

“There was an offer to move to London during my studies but I decided to stay at SSCD because I felt it best suited my needs at the time and I wasn’t wrong. I would recommend The Space to anyone who wishes to further their own dance skills and believes if they work hard they can be as successful as they want to be within dance.”

Upon graduating Glen was offered a place on the Transitions course at Trinity Laban, an apprenticeship with Motion house and a contract with Plan B Dance Company. He now works for Dance Development at Dundee City Council.

Shannon’s Story

When Shannon Heenan began her acting course in 2015 she only had musical theatre experience.

“I threw myself in at the deep end and managed to get myself into the HNC with no theory experience behind me. Two years later I graduated with an A in my graded unit. The training you get here is incredible. You focus on stuff like movement, stage combat, acting skills, Stanislavski, voice, breathing, devising and much more.”

After leaving college Shannon was selected to be part of the NHS Schools tour.

“We had three weeks to create and rehearse a show that is designed for third year students, allowing them to understand that the NHS has so many services for young people that they can gain help from."

Josef's Story – Josef had a dream   

Musical theatre was a passion for Josef Boon at school so studying Acting & Performance at D&A College seemed like the natural progression.   

“I learned so many things during my three years. Some of my favourite aspects were the times in the studios where we were in between lessons or shows and we would swap ideas and play monologues.”   

Josef made connections through his course with Dundee Rep and Stand Easy Productions and continues to collaborate with them.   

“I now work in the industry when and where I can, including with the McManus in Dundee. I’ve done voice-overs, podcasts and recently a crime audio book in Australia! I’m currently in pre-production for a TV show pilot where Scottish actors review films the audience pick for them.”   

Watch this space!

Eleanor & Theo's Story

Eleanor Walker and Theo Robertson have recently founded a dance company called Tangent Dance Theatre.

“We made this decision after our success working together creatively at D&A’s Scottish School of Contemporary Dance and we’re looking forward to creative collaborations within Scotland and the UK.”

Theo studied Contemporary Dance at the college.

“As a previously untrained dancer, I learned new dance techniques, experienced multiple creative processes, and developed tools to make my own work. Whilst training, I won the title of Mr Pole Fitness Professional UK in 2018 which qualified me to represent the UK at the world pole dance championships. This year I won the SSCD Award for Outstanding Progress Made.”

Eleanor opted to study dance because she felt the courses allowed her to explore multiple facets.

“I found the school to be a supportive, open environment that encouraged us to develop our own choreographic language while providing a strong foundation of technique. I was surprised by the creative freedom that was offered and my own ability to push myself to create unconventional work.”

Eleanor’s choreographic work “Let Me Tell You A . . .” was chosen to be shown at Fresh Edit in association with Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre. In 2019 and 2020, she also won the SSCD Associate Artists Award for Engagement and Contribution to the Wider Dance Community.

Chris's Story

Chris O’Mara studied for a BA (Hons) Dance at D&A College’s Scottish School of Contemporary Dance from 2012 to 2016.

“Dancing from 9 to 5 each day definitely took its toll, both physically and emotionally, but I learned loads of different techniques and art forms, all of which have been of use to me professionally since I left.”

In Chris’s final year, he received an award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community.

“I ran myself ragged with all the extra-curricular classes and workshops I was taking, as well as organising a kids’ musical theatre school, directing and choreographing shows, and snapping up every opportunity I could!”

Chris now does ‘a bit of everything’ in the industry as a Freelance Creative.

“I’ve worked incredibly hard to fill my skills toolbox. I’ve taken part in professional pantomimes across the country (usually as the villain!), worked in short and feature films, choreographed musical theatre on amazing stages, worked with award-winning dance companies, and most recently had a pretty slimy role on BBC’s Doctors. I’m also working on an exciting project with UNIBOSI to inspire people to create in a world of virtual performance.

“Right now, the arts industry is struggling but my advice to every student is to use your learning and time in education to explore! Speak to people, be open to learn anything and challenge yourself. You could be the next person to do something life-changing, to achieve something no-one else has, but to do that you need to open your mind. What can you do that no-one else can? The possibilities are endless!”

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