World leading dance research revealed by independent review

Dance researchers at the University of Roehampton have received the highest recognition in the country for the quality and reputation of their work, according to a much-anticipated review of UK higher education institutions.

Posted: 18 December 2014

Ninety-four per cent of Roehampton’s dance research is ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ the Higher Education Funding Council for England has said in its Research Excellence Framework review. Based on grade Point Average, Dance at Roehampton is in the top one per cent of departments in the UK.

Professor Paul O’Prey, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Roehampton, said: “These results are a real tribute to the extremely focussed and professional work of our dance researchers who have been rightly recognised as leaders in their fields. The impact and influence of their findings has been witnessed throughout the dance world, from the community level to institutions such as the English National Ballet, and on the world scene.”

Roehampton believes successful research must benefit the wider world, as well as academia, and its Dance Department has made this a priority. Examples include:

  • Professor Stephanie Jordan’s work on the relationship between dance and music has helped theatre-goers worldwide to better understand performances, through newspaper articles and performance notes. Her ‘choreomusical’ research has influenced editors, critics and producers. Alastair Macaulay, the New York Times’ Chief Dance Critic frequently consults her books, saying she has radically shifted his thinking about music and dance.
  • The department’s Centre for Dance Research has had a significant impact on institutions related to the professional dance industry, shaping the way organisations such as the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Royal Opera House present educational materials and engage with the public. The centre’s staff are changing the approach of artists and teachers, and have supported the V&A Museum among others on public engagement programmes.
  • A number staff also focus on the study of south Asian dance forms, bringing prominence and credibility to genres outside the established canon, and supporting its practitioners and delivery organisations.

The independent judgement on the quality of Roehampton’s dance research was made by experts from the creative and performing arts sector, academics, and organisations like BBC Symphony Orchestra, which make use of research findings. The REF review results will be used by the UK’s research funding organisations to decide how £2billion a year in funding is allocated.

Post-92 or ‘new’ universities are those which received charters from the Privy Council after 1992, when rules on what constituted a university were changed by the Government. There are currently 10 Post-92 universities in the capital.

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