• 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 

University of Wisconsin, Madison USA

Course Co-Ordinator

Helen O'Mahony

Where are they now?

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

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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