Springe direkt zu Inhalt

M.A. in Dance Studies

Dance is - across cultural and historical boundaries and in different social and artistic contexts - a carrier of practical knowledge of the body and movement.

At the same time, the fleeting nature of its movement poses a challenge to the methods of the sciences. Dance studies thus forms an interface between different disciplines of science and the arts at a time when discourses on movement and the body shape scientific research; in this sense, dance studies is always transdisciplinary.

The Master's programme in Dance Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin offers a research-oriented course of study for this reflection. Based on the overarching themes of body, movement, process, it opens up different perspectives on the historical, artistic and social aspects of dance. This includes studies on the history and aesthetics of dance, an examination of the possibilities of movement analysis and recording, as well as practical and scenic exercises that address the body and its experienceability in movement and reflect on it with consideration of theoretical approaches. The aim is to link science and art, which finds expression in new teaching formats and in close cooperation with national and international institutions.

The Master's programme in Dance Studies builds on a Bachelor's programme, e.g. in Theatre Studies or a Bachelor's programme of a related kind. The standard period of study is four semesters. The programme is completed with a Master's thesis.

All information on the Master's programme in Dance Studies (M.A.) can be found in the study and examination regulations.

About the Program

The research-oriented Master's programme deals with the history and aesthetics of dance, the examination of the possibilities of movement analysis and recording as well as practical and scenic exercises that address the body and how it can be experienced in movement and reflect on them with consideration of theoretical approaches. The aim is to achieve a continuous interweaving of theory and practice, which finds expression in new teaching formats and in close cooperation with national and international institutions.

Academic and Career Goals

The aim of the master's program is to impart and promote a complex historical and theoretical expertise, transdisciplinary thinking and scientific reflection of choreographic processes as well as practical dance and body techniques. The program enables graduates with a bachelor's degree or equivalent - primarily from the disciplines of dance, theater, film, and cultural studies - to deepen and broaden their expertise by specializing in selected areas of dance research. With its research-oriented focus, the program aims to enable students to participate creatively in scientific and aesthetic discourses in an interdisciplinary and international context and to design and carry out larger research projects.

Graduates possess in-depth scientific knowledge and advanced professional skills.

The program qualifies students for jobs specializing in dance in theaters and other cultural institutions, academia, journalism, cultural management, dramaturgy, production and communication, archives and publishing houses, as well as for doctoral studies. Beyond the academic qualification, the combination of theoretical reflection and practice-oriented work imparts specific knowledge geared to the above-mentioned study goals.

Academic and Career Goals

Curriculum – Modules – Application & Admission

The Master's programme is project-oriented: The students develop research projects and carry them out independently under the supervision of lecturers and learn to present their results within specialist discourses, presentations and lectures and also to communicate them to a broad public. The aim of the Master's programme is thus to provide students with the skills to solve problems in other fields of knowledge as well as to promote independent and interdisciplinary thinking and critical faculties.

Introduction to Dance Studies
Students are taught about historical and contemporary dance forms, body and movement concepts, performance and movement analysis, methodological issues and current dance studies research approaches. In practical exercises, they gain an insight into concrete work in the field of dance (including various body techniques and choreographic approaches) and are encouraged to analyse and reflect on them, taking into account a wide range of theoretical approaches.

Theory and Aesthetics
The module focuses on the transdisciplinary reflection of fields of knowledge in dance studies. The focus is on the theoretical discourses on performativity, embodiment, media theory, gender, queer and postcolonialism that are particularly relevant to dance studies. The research seminar gives students the opportunity to discuss current theoretical discourses and analyse them within complex questions. The aim is to formulate their own positions on these discourses in order to develop their own research projects. The lecture provides an insight into one of the relevant theoretical discourses and their contexts. The exercise serves to conceive and try out one's own research approaches in the scientific or artistic field on the basis of critical reflection on dance-scientific theories, for example in the examination of new medial forms of movement analysis, methods and techniques of scientific writing, the development of notational concepts and their reflection.


The module teaches concepts and methods of dance historiography (including critical and comparative study of sources, reconstruction) as well as the theory and history of body and movement concepts from cultural studies, anthropological or social history perspectives using selected historical examples and style periods. In the research seminar, methods of writing dance history are discussed and critically reflected. It also serves to present and discuss independent dance-historical research approaches. The lecture provides an insight into a current research topic in dance historiography. The exercise aims to practically test and further develop the methods of dance historiography. Topics here are forms of reconstruction, historical notation models, archives of dance studies and methods of archiving.

Methods / Practice
In the scenic project, students work on a project together with a lecturer from academic or artistic practice. They develop ideas independently and implement them, work out a joint presentation and reflect on the results on an academic level. Questions of staging practice, dramaturgy, body, music or spatial concepts are discussed. The exercise examines an area of aesthetic practice (dance dramaturgy, dance journalism, dance pedagogy, movement techniques, media techniques) and reflects on the results from a dance-scientific perspective. The significance and potential of dance-scientific methods in the context of art practice will be examined. One focus will be on cooperation with various cultural institutions and research facilities. The reflection on the procedures and methods will in turn flow into the work on the scenic project.

Dance / Arts / Media
The module deals with the references of dance to other arts and media. Dance studies is examined as a scientific discipline at the interface of different sciences (literary studies, theatre studies, musicology, art studies) as well as different arts (music, theatre, visual arts). The historical key position of dance for questions of the performative as well as its significance for the other arts and media is discussed. The lecture provides an insight into current research approaches from the fields of dance studies, theatre studies, visual arts, musicology or film studies. In the research seminar, basic problems and potentials of comparative research strategies are discussed on the basis of exemplary research questions. In the exercise, these methods are tested and reflected upon by comparing compositional and dramaturgical procedures in different artistic contexts. A further focus is the examination of media modes of representation as well as their testing and critical reflection.

Research Practice
The research project supervised by lecturers gives students the opportunity to conduct independent research. The aim is to apply and test the knowledge and competences acquired during the previous studies. In accordance with the orientation of the degree programme, the students' research projects can cover a broad spectrum: from scientific investigation to application-oriented research to practical projects. In the project colloquium, the various concepts are presented and discussed on the basis of research concepts formulated in writing. The accompanying exercise examines, compares and reflects on methods of scientific and artistic documentation of research results.

Exemplary Curriculum (PDF)

General information on modules and credit points (LP)

The application and admission procedure is centrally organized by Freie Universität Berlin.

For more information on application deadlines etc., visit: Application and Admission

Please also see the information on Transferring between Higher Education Institutions in Higher Semesters.

For admission to the Master's degree programme, applicants must prove that they meet the following requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent other university degree.

The degree program is a limited admission program.

Further information can be found in the admission regulations for the Master's degree programme in Dance Studies.