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YDance: helping young people realise their potential through movement

YDance is the national youth dance organisation for young people aged three to 21 in Scotland. It runs a regular development programme under the name of 'Routes', including Connections (a three-day event for youth dance groups and individuals), and Destinations (a vibrant showcase of the best youth dance companies across Scotland). 

Here, we spoke to YDance's Anna Kenrick to find out more about the organisation, and some of the key events in its calendar.

YDance is one of Creative Scotland's Regularly Funded Organisations 2015-18.

Tell us about YDance: what are its goals, and what kind of work does it do?

YDance works through key partnerships in education, culture, health and sport, to provide a range of high-quality dance experiences across three main areas of work – talent development, education, and access and participation. Our vision is to offer every child and young person in Scotland the opportunity to realise their potential as individuals through dance.

What are the Routes events, and what do you hope the audience and participants will take away from them?

YDance Routes is a national youth dance development programme which has been running since 2011 after a consultation process with the youth dance sector. The aim of this project is to strengthen the infrastructure which underpins youth dance to ensure that young people across Scotland have access to high quality youth dance provision in their area. We provide workshops, performances, training, networking events and support to inspire, develop and broaden the horizons of Scotland’s young dancers and the artists who work with them. To do this the programme has three different strands.

Connections: Connections aims to inspire and challenge Scotland’s young dancers by giving them new opportunities with likeminded young people. Over a three-day weekend youth dance groups and individuals, of all dance styles, come together from across Scotland. They take part in different dance and choreographic workshops, create a new short piece with a choreographer and have the chance to share what they do.

Destinations: YDance Routes Destinations is a vibrant showcase of the best youth dance companies from across Scotland. Each year, all youth dance groups, of all styles of dance, are invited to apply to take part in the annual performance event. From all the applications, up to 14 groups are selected to perform. It is an exciting opportunity, offering dance groups of dancers aged 12–21 the chance to showcase their own creative piece of work to a live audience.

Growing: Growing offers a programme of training opportunities, networking sessions and masterclasses to the leaders who work in the youth dance sector to further develop their skills, share knowledge, and learn new ways of working to ensure best practice in the sector.

Applications are open for Destinations. What’s the project about?

YDance Routes Destinations is a vibrant showcase of the best youth dance companies from across Scotland. In bringing together 14 youth dance companies, the sector can share the brilliant work they are doing on one of the best dance stages in Scotland.

Tramway in Glasgow hosts this platform each year as the quality is always exceptional. With a range of dance styles and ages, there is something for everyone! Also that night, the National Youth Dance company of Scotland, our flagship performing company, will perform their new piece.

What is coming up for YDance in the future?

YDance Routes is one of many projects that YDance run.

Last month, the National Youth Dance Company auditioned for new dancers. The company will be in the studio creating a new piece, which will tour from February 2018 after premiering at Destinations at Tramway. This company has dancers from across Scotland who are at an extremely high level within contemporary dance. Most are studying to be dancers at college and university, so this company demonstrates excellence within youth dance.

In February 2018, Hothouse will run. This is our choreographic project in partnership with Scottish Ballet which develops the skills of young choreographers from across Scotland. Through a series of workshop and intensives young choreographers are supported to create their own piece on their own dancers for performance.

Shake It Up, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, aims to raise attainment for over 2000 primary school children, from 12 schools, in four areas of deprivation, over a four year programme. Working in close partnership with teachers to plan and deliver the programme, two professional dance workers each work for a day a week in a primary school, using dance to teach a range of academic subjects. This enables children to learn through dance and leave a suitable legacy of teachers with the skills and knowledge to continue to develop this kind of integrated curricular delivery.

We also have Me and You, a young mums project running in Glasgow; Take the Lead which delivers sessions in Polmont Prison, Kibble Education Centre and across Ayrshire; Momentum, funded by Spirit of 2012, works with teenage girls getting them more active - and Moving Forward and Horizons provide opportunities for young disabled dancers to get moving and creative.

For more information on any of YDance projects, go to ydance.org. You can also follow YDance on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This article was published on 03 Nov 2017