Ethnochoreology: Understanding Humanity Through Dance @UL



Understanding Humanity Through Dance

Although human beings dance the world over, they do not dance in the same way. Ethnochoreology endeavours to discover why and how this is so.

Dance is an important aspect in the lives of human beings the world over. Ethnochoreology, the study of dance, movement and culture, aims to extend knowledge and understandings of diverse cultures and the movement experiences that these cultures offer. Ethnochoreology is an academic interdisciplinary field and is inclusive of all dance or structured human movement practices.

The student experience is paramount in the MA Ethnochoreology programme at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, University of Limerick. Students on this programme critically engage in relevant literature within the social sciences and are exposed to diverse dance practices, in theory and practice. Students also gain first-hand experience in the field, examining people dancing in situ, and reflexively documenting and analysing the process of the fieldwork experience. By pursuing an MA in Ethnochoreology students learn to do independent research to examine the role of dance and dancers in different societies and to explicate the different meanings of dance and movement within the context of culture. This assists in extending students’ horizons of understanding into how and why people move the way they do and what this tells us about the cultures from which these practices have emerged.


The MA Ethnochoreology programme is a world leading programme. Designed and directed by Dr Catherine Foley, the Master of Arts in Ethnochoreology was established in 1996 at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and was the first programme of its type at any university in Europe. In this pioneering spirit it continues to be a leading programme in the field and to attract an international body of students. The programme is a one-year, full-time, taught postgraduate programme. It offers specialised training in the history, theory, and methods of ethnochoreology while acknowledging the significance of ‘practice’ in learning and in research.


The programme is in its 19th year and offers students opportunities to interact with students from other postgraduate programmes at the Academy such as the MA in Irish Traditional Dance Performance, the MA in Contemporary Dance Performance, the MA in Ethnomusicology, and the MA in Festive Arts. Students on the MA Ethnochoreology programme study and research in a vibrant, creative, and welcoming environment, with free lunchtime concerts, regular seminars featuring visiting academics and artists, a community of doctoral scholars and artists, and opportunities to perform and participate. They also have access to a state-of-the-art building in the Irish World Academy and to the National Dance Archive of Ireland, housed at the University of Limerick.


The MA in Ethnochoreology programme provides students with a strong foundation for doctoral research in the field of ethnochoreology or for students wishing to pursue careers in interculturalism, multiculturalism and the arts, or with non-governmental organisations.


For further information please contact

Dr Catherine Foley at

Phone: + 353 61 202922



3 thoughts on “Ethnochoreology: Understanding Humanity Through Dance @UL

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  1. *Dear Authorities,*

    I want to Study in Ireland for MS Leading to Ph.D in Computer Communications, as I have passed BS(Computer Science), But the issue is that, I cannot afford the fees, is there any scholarship in this regard, and I am also a government servant job in Sukkur-Institute of Business Administration, Sindh, Pakistan. Sir, If there any Convenience for me. I hope Sir You will behold my request, and response me very soon.

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