Dance world mourns loss of degree in NI

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Dance professionals have criticised a decision to drop Northern Ireland's only third-level moving arts degree.

Ulster University closed its BA Honours Dance course in Londonderry following an internal review. "In 2015, the Ulster University remained committed to teaching the course to existing students from 2015-2017 and one individual is currently employed on a temporary fixed-term contract basis to deliver on this commitment," a spokesman said. “There are currently two students in final year and five students undertaking modules in dance on a part-time basis.”

But Niall McCaughan, manager of Derry's Playhouse Theatre, told the Belfast Telegraph : "I'm incredibly disappointed that the dance degree at Magee has been cut completely. It's a sad indictment that here, in the former UK City of Culture, we've lost dance as a third level qualification.

"This particular dance degree fed into so many other creative spheres across Northern Ireland and it's such a shame that Northern Irish dancers will now be forced to study across the water or even further afield to achieve their goals."

Steve Batts, artistic director of dance theatre company Echo Echo, said, "It will make our long-term project of sustaining a committed, high quality, internationally connected and Derry-based ensemble much more difficult."

Award-winning Irish and contemporary dance teacher and choreographer Bridget Madden added: "It's a sad time for Northern Ireland's dance community."


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