Dance Performance and Teaching student Anna James tells us her experience

The University of Central Lancashire Dance Performance and Teaching graduate, Anna James, has broadened her opportunities in the field of dance by becoming a freelance dance artist.

Anna chose to study the BA (Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching degree because of the diverse modules that the course offered, like education, performance and somatic practices. It was at her audition that Anna realised she wanted to attend the University of Central Lancashire and made the University her first choice.

Whilst at the University of Central Lancashire, Anna shadowed, participated and volunteered for dance companies and artists, which allowed her to develop her knowledge and apply it to her own work. In the final year of her degree, Anna won two University awards, Student Volunteer of the Year and the Lancashire Arts Festival Award for Performance, which she is particularly proud of.

Since graduating from the University of Central Lancashire in 2018, Anna has been a part of various projects and developing opportunities including performing at the Edinburgh Fringe with inclusive dance company, DanceSyndrome. 

Anna James
Anna James

Anna also became an associate dancer with About Time Dance Company for a month of creating and performing a sited performance piece. Another project which Anna took part in was the Red Dream Parade, as part of the Lancashire Encounters Festival in Preston.

Currently, Anna is a freelance dance artist with numerous jobs and roles. At DanceSyndrome, Anna is a volunteer participant for the DS Collective performance group where she supports the lead dance artist and participants in creating and rehearsing movement material. She is also a dance artist and co-leads the Everybody Moves workshop at a local community centre. The inclusive workshop encourages fun, creativity and healthy moving. At a private dance school in Halifax, Anna delivers contemporary dance classes where she engages with contemporary techniques and creates performance routines for showcases. Through the Blue Moose Dance Company, Anna works in Primary Schools in both Lancashire and West Yorkshire, delivering curricular and extra-curricular dance classes.

Anna’s future plans consist of delivering dance workshops within schools and communities, creating pieces and encouraging dance practice.

Looking back on her time at UCLan, Anna expressed: “My lasting memories include enjoying and celebrating our final week of performances with my friends. The three years were incredible, so many memories, opportunities and happy moments.”

"The lecturers share their experiences, knowledge and networks to develop individuals. The degree and experiences have had a huge impact on my current employment. Some of my current work happened because of connections at the University of Central Lancashire."

Anna James

When asked to give advice to graduates and students pursuing a similar course, Anna stated: “Take part in different opportunities so that you can gain a broader understanding of what work there is. It could lead to other opportunities such as a job role, or even just having people as networking contacts. Don’t be afraid to talk to or approach people. Take time off and include some ‘me’ time. You need time to relax otherwise your best work will not happen.”