About Northern School of Contemporary Dance

NSCD is an international centre of excellence offering specialist, conservatoire-level contemporary dance training as a School of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama in Leeds.

At NSCD, we appreciate our diverse staff and student body that enriches and broadens the learning experience available here. We also recognise the importance of inclusivity in our learning environment, with staff working together to effectively support student's individual development into aware and creative dance practitioners, ready to contribute to society through art and good citizenship.

NSCD is proud to operate as an outward-facing cultural hub, with an active L&P department. One of NSCD’s greatest attributes is Riley Theatre, an on-site, dedicated dance venue around which, our building was architecturally developed. In this space we programme leading professional dance companies alongside the dance artists of the future, as well as maintaining a strong link with the local community through outreach classes and activities.

“We recognise the process of making mistakes and being given the space to fail are intrinsic to learning and artistic development. The open and supportive environment at NSCD makes the school a safe place to take creative risks – and to be brave enough to become outstanding. Dance is transformational and, above all, our graduates tell us that coming to Northern School of Contemporary Dance transformed their lives.”

Janet Smith MBE

The school offers a Foundation course, BPA (Hons) in Contemporary Dance and Postgraduate Diploma/MA in Contemporary Dance. For further information about studying at NSCD, visit the Study at NSCD webpage.


Learning and Participation

Learning & Participation (L&P) at NSCD provides community access and participation. We nurture an inclusive and mutually-respectful learning environment and provide a place for participants, of all ages and abilities to enjoy, engage in and learn through contemporary dance.

We encourage curiosity, creativity and creative risk-taking, individuality and collaboration, self-discipline, dedication and ambition throughout all our classes from our Saturday School to our adult classes.

Our L&P team can provide a number of opportunities from classes and courses including our Centre for Advanced Training programme at our world class base in Chapeltown, Leeds, to bespoke programmes for schools, community groups and artists Professional Development.

We also contribute to the strategic development of dance in the North and invest in widening participation, outreach and other activities that enable as many people as possible to engage in dance as audience members and participants.

We currently have a range of weekly Child classes, Youth classes and Adult Classes. For more information visit our Weekly Classes page here.

Centre for Advanced Training Scheme (CAT)

In 2004, funding from the Department for Education (previously the Department for Children, Schools & Families’) Music and Dance Scheme enabled Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) and Northern Ballet to come together and deliver Yorkshire Young Dancers (YYD), the first national dance Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) in the UK.

The scheme has since expanded across England to include nine host organisations recognised for their excellence and commitment to the arts and vocational training.
Centres for Advanced Training (CATs) in Dance identify children with exceptional potential in dance and develop their talent through pioneering programmes, creating and inspiring future generations of world class dancers and choreographers.

Through the national provision of highly specialised training for young people, artists are cultivated at a critical stage in their development in order to prepare them for entry into the world’s leading vocational dance schools and on to successful and rewarding careers in the arts.

Successful applicants are able to access highly specialist dance training in their locality, whilst continuing to live at home and benefiting from a broad and balanced education.
Northern School of Contemporary Dance’s, Centre for Advanced Training delivers non-residential, training programmes for young people aged 13–18 years. The scheme promotes best practice and provides exceptional and innovative tuition to young people, regardless of their personal circumstances. We maintain close links with influential dance companies and artists, creating opportunities for children to work with and build relations with future employers, and to gain an inspiring yet realistic insight into the profession.

For more information on the CAT scheme visit the NSCD Centre for Advanced Training webpage here.


Riley Theatre

Situated at the heart of the NSCD building, Riley Theatre is a northern hub of artistic activity for dancers and dance makers. Originally a working synagogue, the building is now Grade II listed with a bespoke stage and intimate seating, perfect for contemporary dance performances. We programme a range of contemporary dance from visiting professional companies and current student work.

This Autumn we continue our focus on advocating for the dance industry and its artists, specifically in the North of England, through supporting and stimulating creation, discussion and learning with the return of the Connections programme.

The Connections programme, funded by Arts Council England, comprises three strands: Northern Connections, National Connections and European Connections, each of which will take place in an open environment that will encourage knowledge sharing and creative experimentation.

To see what is currently on for the Autumn season at Riley Theatre visit the Riley Theatre webpage here.


Studio/Theatre Hire

We also offer a private hires service for anyone looking for studio space to conduct classes or practice their own work in a Contemporary Dance environment. The theatre is also available to hire for rehersals and performances. For more information and a quote on private hire spaces contact Chloe Patrickson on the following email: hires@nscd.ac.uk