Photo: Tove Hellkvist Photo: Tove Hellkvist

Our History

The School of Dance and Circus, known by its Swedish abbreviation, DOCH, was founded in 1963. In those days, there was one programme and ten students. Today, the university has about 200 students in many different fields and is an exciting place where students of advanced dance and circus artists are offered a venue for research.

DOCH’s History Year by Year

1963 The Institute of Choreography, “Koreografiska institutet” opens, offering a one-year programme in Choreography. The premises are located in the Blanche Gallery (now Sweden House) in Stockholm.

1964 A programme in Dance Pedagogy is established, later moved to Blasieholmstorg 8.

1965 The Choreography Programme and the Programme in Dance Pedagogy are extended to three years.

1966 The Mime Programme begins on a trial basis, made into an official educational programme in 1977, with Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts taking over in 1993.

1970 The school begins to be run by the state under the name The National School of Dance, “Statens dansskola” and moves to new premises in the Film House.

1978 The National School of Dance is reorganized as a university under a new name, the University Collage of Dance, “Danshögskolan”.

1985 The Board for Artistic Development, then known as the KU board, is established.

1987 The Education in Folk Dance is established.

1990 The University College of Dance moves to Sehlstedtsgatan.

1992 The first artistic professorship is established.

1993 The Education in Dance Therapy is established.

1994 Education for dancers startsin the form of a two-year further-training programme.

2001 The first PhD Candidate is admitted, in cooperation with the Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm University.

2005 A Contemporary Circus Programme on the first-cycle level begins on premises in Alby outside Stockholm.

2006 The English name is changed to "University of Dance" in connection with the move to Brinellvägen 58 at the campus of the Royal Institute of Technology, and a Dancer’s Programme on the first-cycle level is established.

2008 A Master Programme in Choreography is established.

2008 A PhD Programme in Choreography begins, in cooperation with the Royal Institute of Technology and DOCH's two first PhD Candidates are admitted.

2010 The University of Dance changes its name to DOCH, the University of Dance and Circus, "Dans och Cirkushögskolan".

2011 A Master Programme in New Performative Practices, NPP, is established.

2011 A Teacher Education in Dance for Upper Secondary Education is established.

2012 A new circus hall is inaugurated on the campus to house the circus department.

2013 A Master Programme in Contemporary Dance Didactics is established.

2013 The first doctoral thesis by a PhD Candidate from DOCH and Stockholm University is defended.

2014 DOCH enters into Stockholm University of the Arts.


2014- Petra Frank


2006-2013 Efva Lilja
1996-2005 Kari Sylwan
1976-1996 Lena Malmsjö
1971-1976 Lilian Runestam
1963-1971 Bengt Häger
1963 Birgit Cullberg



1992-2002 Margaretha Åsberg, Choreographic Composition
1993-2004 Erna Grönlund, Dance Pedagogy
2003-2007 Jens Graff, Dance Interpretation
2003-2006 Efva Lilja, Choreographic Composition
2008-present Cecilia Roos, Dance Interpretation
2008-2013 Cristina Caprioli, Choreographic Composition
2009-present Lena Hammergren, Dance Theory
2011 Chrysa Parkinson, Dance

Number of students

1963: 10
1970: 60
1980: 60
1990: 80
2010: 200

Visiting Professors

1999-2009 Lena Hammergren, Dance Theory
2005-2010 Tilde Björfors, Contemporary Circus
2006-present Ana Sanchez Colberg, Choreography
2007-2012 Birgitta Sandström, Pedagogy
2007-2009 John-Paul Zaccarini, Contemporary Circus
2010 Irena Purschke Bronett, Circus
2010-2012 Johan Widén, Art
2010-2011 Amanda Steggel, Choreography
2010-2011 Daniel Gulko, Circus

Facts 2012

By 2012 DOCH had 73 annual employees, about 100 other teachers and guests, and about 150 full-time study equivalence (the equivalent of about 200 students) from all over the world. The annual turnover was more than SEK 68 million.