March and April have been two of the busiest calendar months for youth dance in Yorkshire with youth and community dance showcases taking place across the region in Bridlington, Scunthorpe, Barnsley and Leeds.
On 1 March, performers took to the stage at Bridlington Spa for the ‘Unite Festival’, organised by the Hull and East Riding Dance Hub. On the 19th March, the South Bank Dance Hub celebrated with a youth dance showcase that featured 375 participants from 21 youth dance groups. A daytime primary dance festival enabled a further 402 primary school pupils to perform on stage at the Baths Hall, Scunthorpe.
The following week, the celebrations moved to South Yorkshire for ‘Crossing Borders’ – a youth dance showcase that profiled a range of diverse work including two projects seed-funded by the South Yorkshire Dance Hub. The ‘Tattva project’, fused South Asian and Contemporary Dance Styles and culminated in a group of 20 young dancers performing on stage at Barnsley Civic. StreetKingz, an all male dance group from Horizon College Barnsley, also profiled their new choreography which was subsequently selected for the FRESH fringe at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
“It was such a great opportunity for performers from a variety of backgrounds to come together and celebrate their love of dance, some performing for the very first time” Charlotte Armitage, Crossing Borders Project Manger
Leeds then took the baton, with a trilogy of youth dance performances including Phoenix Dance Theatre’s ‘Yorkshire Youth Dance Platform’ in which 187 children and young people took to the stage from a wide range of ages and abilities. The following night Northern School of Contemporary Dance presented their ‘Community Dance Platform’ which featured 16 groups. On the same day Northern Ballet and Trinity Leeds hosted ‘Dancing Beebies’ in which an estimated 7,000 people viewed professional and community performances on a public stage. 192 people participated in dance activity during the day.
“Northern Ballet has enjoyed a successful partnership with Cbeebies (the BBC’s pre-school children’s channel) through the broadcast of our Short Ballets, so it was great to be able to develop this into a BBC Live event in Trinity Leeds. Working in partnership with dance providers from across the city; DAZL, NSCD, Yorkshire Dance and SAA UK performances took place throughout the day with over 7,000 people watching and 192 participating in dance. It was a hugely successful day profiling the diverse range of dance opportunities which take place across the city.” Selina McGonagle, Northern Ballet.
‘FRESH 2015’ – the Regional Youth Dance Showcase, took place at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on 25th April bringing together over 250 young dancers to take part in both fringe and main stage performances. Groups from Leeds, Hull, North Yorkshire, Barnsley, Rotherham, Pontefract, Wakefield, Scunthorpe and East Riding shared their work with an audience of over 700. A fantastic finale performance, choreographed by Jon Beney, brought the audience to their feet.
“The strength of youth dance in the region is something to be celebrated and the Regional Dance Development Network does a fantastic job in connecting events, exchanging practice and supporting one another in achieving great work with children and young people. It makes me feel incredibly proud to work in a region so rich in opportunity for young dancers and with a workforce who are connected and united in their commitment to providing the best possible platforms for young people to dance.” Hannah Robertshaw, Youth and Community Dance Director, Yorkshire Dance.