• Code: PE (Year One); PF (Year Two)
  • Certification: BTEC Higher National Diploma in Performing Arts – Performance (Dance) Level 6+ equivalence on the NQF
  • Duration: Two Years


The emphasis of the course is on performance in live theatre. Teaching experience forms part of the course in 2nd year. In Choreography and Physical Theatre students explore their creative talents. Dance Research and Analysis gives the student an insight into the development of dance. Musical Theatre is an important element of the course. In Contemporary Dance, Graham, Cunningham, Limon and Release are explored. Preparing for the industry of dance is an important part of the course with the emphasis on professional practice. Classical Ballet includes pointe work and repertoire. The Higher National Diploma provides a clear pathway following to a top up year at university in the UK leading to a B.A. (Hons) in Dance. Former students have gone on to the University of Bath Spa, Middlesex, Chester, Sunderland, Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA), De Montfort, Chichester, Edinburgh College, Doncaster and Winchester. BIFE is the only institute to offer the HND route to a degree in dance in Ireland both North and South.

Programme of Study

HND – Year 1:

  • Creative Art Professional Practice
  • Creative Art Research Skills
  • Choreography for Solo Performance
  • Classical Ballet Background & Technique
  • Contemporary Dance Techniques
  • Dance & Health
  • Jazz Dance Technique & Performance
  • Physical Theatre

HND – Year 2:

  • Preparations, Process & Production in the Creative Arts
  • Choreography of Group Performance
  • Classical Ballet Development & Analysis
  • Contemporary Dance Techniques & Performance
  • Dance Criticism & Analysis
  • Popular Entertainment
  • Musical Theatre Performance
  • Jazz Dance & Development
  • Applied Contemporary Performance Practice

     Components subject to change

Entry Requirements
  • Leaving Certificate or equivalent with dance experience
  • QQI Level 5 award or equivalent in dance
  • Mature applicants – experience will be considered in lieu of formal qualifications

Places are offered following successful interview and audition.

Higher Education Progression*

University of Sunderland:

  • · BA Hons. in Dance (W501 Top-up yr)

University of Bath Spa:

  • · BA Hons. In Dance (W500 Top-up yr)

University of Middlesex:

  • · BA Hons. in Dance Performance (W500 Top-up yr)

De Montfort University:

  • · BA Hons. in Dance Performance (W500 Top-up yr);
  • · BA Hons. in Dance Studies (W501 Top-up year)

University of Chester:

  • · BA Hons. in Dance (Top-up year)

University of Chichester:

  • · BA Hons. in Dance ( W501 Top-up year)

University of Doncaster:

  • · BA Hons. in Dance (W500 Top-up Year)

University of Winchester:

  • · BA Hons. in Dance

Edinburgh College:

  • · BA Hons. in Dance

*Places are not guaranteed in these institutes and are subject to students meeting certain criteria. Please consult the individual college websites for more information on application. Information available also at www.cao.ie

Course Co-Ordinator

Helen O'Mahony

Where are they now?

Meet BIFE students who have graduated from this course...

Emily Kilkenny Roddy

“I studied at BIFE from 2012 until May of 2015. I completed Foundation Level Dance and Advanced Dance years 1 and 2 with a distinction profile and then went on to complete my final Top-up year in Dance at the University of Chichester. I just graduated in October 2016 receiving a 1st class BA (hons) degree in Dance Studies and can reflect on the four years of training and confidently say they will be four of the best years of my life. Since finishing my final year in June I was accepted into Step Up: Dance Project 2016. This project included the creation and performance of a new dance piece by British choreographer Lea Anderson MBE which was toured in Ireland in August. After completing that I went on to create and perform an original solo which was performed at Electric Picnic 2016 on the Hazel Wood Stage. I also taught the Contemporary Jam workshop at the festival for Dance Ireland as part of Dance Days 2016. I have taught several classes in ranging styles and am currently starting a 10 week term teaching for The Independent Theatre Workshop. I look forward to the New Year as I will be working with David Bolger of CoisCéim Dance Theatre on The Repertory Programme, learning and performing a selected work from his repertoire. The last couple of post-graduation months have been hectic, hard work, exciting yet sometimes scary. However, I look forward to establishing my career as an Independent Dance Artist and feel like whether I decide to progress onto a Masters or move country or explore a different route of the Dance career I owe so much of what I have learnt to BIFE. BIFE is the absolute backbone of my career's route.” Emily

Sorcha Garvey

I graduated from BIFE in 2014 gaining a distinction level Higher National Diploma. After graduating from BIFE I was accepted into Middlesex University, London where I studied BA Dance Studies for two years. During this time I developed both my theoretical and practical knowledge of the contemporary dance sector. Studying in the vicinity of London allowed for a unique student experience as I had access to London’s many renowned theatre and dance venues. During my training at Middlesex I had the opportunity to work with and perform the choreography of world renowned contemporary chorographer Robert Cohan in his work “Tzaikerk”.

The modules at both BIFE and Middlesex University allowed for a comprehensive study of dance and enabled a multi-faceted learning approach to performance, choreography and critical appreciation.

After graduating and returning to Ireland I began teaching inclusive dance classes for Down Syndrome Ireland where I found a passion for the integrated/inclusive dance sector. In 2017 I completed an Integrated Dance Training Intensive with ‘Croí Glan’ dance company. Upon completion of this course I moved to Australia where I am currently facilitating inclusive dance classes for ‘InFocus Disability Services’, teaching for ‘CM Dance’ and volunteering with ‘Bust A Move Dance’.

BIFE played a fundamental role in ensuring I had well rounded education in dance both theoretically and practically, without it I would not have got the amazing opportunity to study

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