News: Championing Youth Dance

Tuesday 8 April 2008

Last month Royal Opera House Chief Executive Tony Hall’s report on youth dance was published and the government announced £5.5 million investment in dance opportunities for young people both in and outside of schools, in response. read more

Maintaining the momentum this month, comes Culture Minister Margaret Hodge’s appointment of Wayne McGregor as the government’s first Youth Dance Champion.

McGregor is currently Choreographer in Residence with The Royal Ballet. *Entity, his latest work for *Random, the company that he founded in 1992 opens at Sadler’s Wells this week. Education and outreach has always been a significant part of Random’s work and McGregor’s first job was as a Dance Animateur in East London.

Announcing the appointment Margaret Hodge said: “I am thrilled that Wayne McGregor has agreed to become Youth Dance Champion. His career, still in its infancy in many ways, has spanned the whole spectrum of dance. He will be an inspiring role model for young people across the country. What we have begun with our response to Tony Hall’s Review – and are supporting through the creation of an expanded Youth Dance England – we will continue by raising the profile of dance among young people, as well as schools and parents.

“I believe Wayne is the perfect choice to help us keep the fantastic momentum we now have for young people’s dance. I’m looking forward to working with him to realise our commitment that every young person can have the chance to dance.”

The role of Youth Dance Champion is intended to be ambassadorial, inspiring and promoting dance, particularly to young people themselves*.*

McGregor says he is honoured to take on the role. “I am passionate about dance which is not only an enormous part of my life, but has opened many intriguing doors for me; I am very pleased now to have the chance to help open similar doors for other young people. When I first discovered my talent for dance, I was fortunate enough to be totally supported in my choice of future career. Not all young people are as lucky in that respect. I am proud to be a part of such an exciting initiative that I believe will inspire and create opportunities for more youngsters to try dance for themselves and be captivated by its visceral power.”

Choreographer and Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Philips was a keen contributor to Tony Hall’s review of youth dance. She is continuing her support of the new initiatives by becoming Patron of Youth Dance England, the organisation which will be developing the new strategy for youth dance.

Linda Jasper, Director, Youth Dance England, said: “I am delighted that Wayne McGregor has accepted the role of youth dance champion. Wayne has a great commitment to young people’s engagement with dance and has combined his choreographic and performance career with producing exceptional high quality education projects”.


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