The MA Solo/Dance/Authorship (SODA) is a practice-led Master degree that explores body- and movement based performative practice within a two-year, full-time program focusing on students’ individual trajectory. It seeks to provide a transdisciplinary research frame for graduates and professionals who wish to challenge, extend and transform their artistic practice within an academic structure.
Drawing on the diversity of practices which the international students bring with them, MA SODA investigates the relevance of individual body-based performance making within the field of contemporary arts. It concerns itself with making through thinking and thinking through making in relation to the intersection of aesthetics, politics, and ethics and a critical awareness of existing systems and practices of knowledge production in relation to the body. MA SODA enables the development of a student’s own individual performance work and interrogative practice in dialogue with other artists, thinkers and practitioners in a supportive atmosphere. It is designed for students to undertake a consistent and structured development of their methodologies for practice, reflection and study. It offers a rigorous grounding in how to write, situate and talk about one’s artistic practice and helps to frame, document and publish their work through offering a public context to share it.
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The MA SODA study course is divided into six modules over four semesters
Semester 1/ Module 101: Questions of Practice 1
Diagnostics/ Writing & Research for Artists/ Making New Work (20 credits) takes three key approaches to making and thinking practice: diagnostics - the ability to share processes of making work; writing & research for artists - the ability to place practice in relation to language and identify and utilize appropriate research methods with which to develop practice; making new work - the ability to identify and develop new approaches to making and thinking practice. The module takes the student’s own practice-led and analytical account of engagement with choreographic/ performance processes and associated discourses as its starting point.
Semester 1/ Module 102
Negotiating Solo/Dance/Authorship - Lecture/ Seminar Series 1 (10 credits) explores the critical, contextual and theoretical understanding of key terms of the course in relation to individual students' development of practice and that of others. The first series of lectures/seminars addresses the contexts, implications and relationships of the key terms of the MA - 'solo', 'dance' and 'authorship' - in relation to contemporary arts practice and theory. The lectures are linked to seminars that involve reading and discussion of key works, performances and texts to establish a base for the critical discussion of individual work and a written paper.
Semester 2/ Module 201
Questions of Practice 2: Compositional Strategies & Tactics (20 credits) examines the work process of composition as research through artistic practice by exploring and testing various compositional strategies, tactics and work processes and analyzing the aesthetic and cultural contexts that make them possible and support them. Students continue to develop documentation and critical reflection in a workbook. At the end of the module, a formal proposal for independent and collaborative research in Semester 3 is submitted.
Semester 2/ Module 202
Compositional Practices & Contexts: Lecture/ Seminar Series 2 (10 credits) addresses questions of thinking and making contemporary practice in relation to the histories and strategies of 20th and 21st century compositional practice and contexts. The seminars involve reading and discussion of key works, performances and texts, and relating to the ongoing development of individual work through a written research paper.
Semester 3/ Module 301
Independent & Collaborative Research (30 credits): following an initial independent research proposal at the end of Semester 2, students embark on a sustained programme of individual research designed and structured in discussion with tutors. Research identifies and works with special areas of concern and with the acquisition of specific skills and knowledge. Students are invited to propose research mentors to accompany their progress and to be involved in collaborative research and curational projects during the semester.
Semester 4/ Module 401
Final SODA Project & Documentation (30 credits) involves the production of a work that engages with solo and/ or collaborative dance authorship, can be performed or presented in the public arena and meets conceptual, aesthetic and production criteria that apply in wider professional arts communities and/ or the cultural context for which the work is designed. Students prepare an initial proposal for their project at the end of Semester 3 that is negotiated and finalized with the core staff tutor and the project mentor toward the beginning of the final Semester 4. The Final Project documentation provides an opportunity for students to engage in detailed documentation and reflection on their work. The documentation takes the form of a substantial critical framing statement that positions the work in relation to the student's own experience and to wider cultural and aesthetic questions and conditions, and a final workbook devoted to the compositional, conceptual and contextual processes of the project.