The U.Dance Awards!

U.Dance 2014Youth Dance England, the national organisation passionate about advocating dance for young people, wants to champion the great work that goes on around the country to provide performance opportunities for children and young people. U.Dance is the primary vehicle for doing so and will take place this summer. The nationwide programme will support the people who organise youth dance performances, whilst also raising awareness of the wonderful events across the wider dance sector and beyond.

U.Dance consists of a registration scheme, which fits within a national performance framework aiming to provide dance performance opportunities for every child and young person in England. For 2014 there are three awards to be won as part of the scheme: to be in with the chance of winning the first 2 awards, YDE are inviting everyone who registers their event to upload film footage of their favourite dance pieces from their show to YouTube under one of two categories:

Outstanding Choreography, for pieces that aim high with the choreographic content of their piece, that are innovative and inspiring, and that challenge the audience through the ideas they embody; or Excellent Performance, for pieces where the performers really shine and show their passion and enthusiasm for dance through their energy and focus. A winner will be chosen for each category and the two winners will each be presented with a U.Dance Award trophy. Their film will then be profiled on the U.Dance website.

The third award will be for Biggest U.Dance Performance which will be given directly to the U.Dance Champion who registers the event involving the largest number of people! (To be in with a chance of winning this trophy you must make sure that you submit the number of performers and audience members to YDE when prompted after your event.

Get dancing!

U.Dance 2013

U.Dance 2013

Calling all talented young dancers!

U.Dance 2013 is searching for high quality individual or group dance pieces that deserves to be showcased at a top level youth dance festival next year. Get your leotards out and get practising!

New for 2013, there is now a chance for individuals or groups (of up to 30 dancers) with pieces of up to 20 minutes in length to apply to take part in U.Dance 2013 under a new strand launching this year called U. Dance New Dimensions.

This exciting event will be different from previous national festivals where dancers performed at one venue; this time dance work will be showcased across a variety of venues to show the breadth of youth dance choreography and performance the UK has to offer. U.Dance New Dimensions will mean that pieces can embrace a more experimental approach and push boundaries of what is expected of ‘youth dance’.

U.Dance 2013, Youth Dance England’s national youth dance festival will be taking place in Leeds in July 2013. The festival will give some of the best youth dance groups in the UK the opportunity to perform in high-profile venues across the city at the only event of its kind. Performers will be able to take part in workshops across a range of styles with leading artists and inspirational teachers in prestigious dance studios. Groups, duets and individuals will be able to perform on an evening in one of Leeds’ main dance venues such at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Northern Ballet/Phoenix Dance and Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

This is a great opportunity to showcase your own or your group’s work with fewer restrictions on group size and length of piece and more room for high quality, unique and experimental performances, allowing performers and choreographers more freedom when creating their pieces.

Applications close on the 30th November 2012.

Image courtesy of U.Dance.

U.Dance 2012

U.Dance 2012

U.Dance 2012 as part of Youth Dance England was marketed as this summer’s biggest youth dance festival. It took place between the 13 and 15 July at the Southbank Centre, celebrating talent from all over London and the entire country. The performance of the opening night was filled with acts full of fun and energy from some of the most exceptional youth dance groups, selected after performing in regional platforms earlier in the year.

The new UK youth dance company, the U.Dance Ensemble, premièred their new piece TANK, choreographed by world-acclaimed choreographer Hofesh Shechter. As an incredible privilege to perform at U.Dance itself, the U.Dance Ensemble truly was the leotard adorned icing on the cake. The show also featured an array of high standard contemporary performances from, amongst others, The Place’s Shift group and Northern Ireland’s Dance Society. 

Saturday saw a range of free activities offered to the enthusiastic U.Dance audiences suitable for the whole family. These included open workshops in Lindy Hop and Kathak dance, dance film screenings presented by young dancers, and some colourful performances at the Fringe platform in The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall complete with tap shoes and black character shoes, programmed by the National Youth Dance Ambassadors of Youth Dance England. The ‘Take Two’ show, which followed in the evening, showcased even more groups selected including Wales and Scotland’s national youth dance companies, and a performance especially devised for the festival by Candoco’s company of disabled and non-disabled dancers.

Similar free activities were offered on Sunday too as the final day of the festival with the added opportunity of a masterclass led by Hofesh Shechter for young dancers, the whole festival indicating the sheer love of dance by those who attended. Closing the event was a finale again featuring the U.Dance Ensemble, in addition to performances from London’s highly skilled Centre for Advanced Training dancers from Trinity Laban and The Place. The talent demonstrated throughout the event was truly inspiring, with focused young individuals eager to lead the way for dance within the arts sector.

Image courtesy of U.Dance.

Dance In The Making

Dance In The Making 2012

Dance In The Making is the name of a two-day seminar programme in the 14th and 15th of July, focused around the theme of choreography by and with young people, open to tutu twirling aspiring ballerinas, bare-footed contemporaries, and every young dancer experiencing the dance sector today. Combining industry professionals and young people from the UK and overseas in discussion, Dance In The Making is to be hosted by Chris Thomson, Director of Creative Teaching and Learning at The Place, and Linda Jasper, Director of Youth Dance England.

The talks will delve into questions on the “best” choreographic practice, be it for waerers of pointe shoes, tap shoes or any other dance shoes. The programme will also focus on the importance of young people understanding choreographic process, industry professionals’ experiences of working with young people and the greatest methods of how to support and ensure the stable futures of young people and their choreographies. So many dance courses in the twenty-first century now offer a choreography-heavy strand within their modules, with many choreographic platforms and graduate companies or apprenticeships also emerging.

Speakers at Dance In The Making, in partnership with The Place, will include young professional choreographers such as James Cousins, who has launched a successful choreographic career through graduate transition companies, professional companies such as Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, and is now creating his own company. Other guest speakers include professional choreographers who work with young people, such as Kerry Nicholls and Katie Green, and an international perspective is added through their French colleagues Brigitte Hyon and Agnes Bretel from the Centre National de la Danse.

The £35 day ticket includes a ticket to one of U.Dance 2012’s high-profile evening performances in Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall.

Youth Dance England’s Young Creatives

Youth Dance England

May 4th marked the showcasing of the spectacular work born of the Youth Dance England Young Creatives at the Royal Opera House, demonstrating the sheer talent of young choreographers. 12 works were premiered in a variety of dance styles created by the participants selected to take part in the programme, delivered by Youth Dance England in partnership with the Royal Opera House and The Royal Ballet School.

Each year, YDE Young Creatives aims to support young choreographers aged 15-19 and their dance passions in order to improve their skills and understanding of choreography, and consequently create a dance piece. The programme included a Skill Boosting Weekend, which took place in January, where participants had the opportunity to improve their understanding of the choreographic process. A 3 month mentoring period followed this, where the young choreographers were each paired with professionals for their new creations, enabling them to gain an insight into the world of choreography and increase their knowledge of the sector. The penultimate experience was seen through a 4 day residential at The Royal Ballet School’s White Lodge, where the participants sported their dance practice-wear and took part in workshops, working closely with their peers and the experienced professionals to refine their pieces.

The Young Creatives’ journey culminated with their performance at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre, performed by their dancers and shown off to the audience, the dance genres hosting fantastic tap shoe, ballet shoe and leotard-clad talent. The performance was introduced by renowned choreographer Wayne McGregor, Artistic Director of Wayne McGregor|Random Dance and the Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet, the epitome of “choreography”. McGregor’s fusion of pointe shoes and his fluid, abstract contemporary dance represents an important strand of the Young Creatives ethos, famous nationwide for the refreshing creativity of its participants and the high standards of performances.

One wonders what the 2013 programme will bring!