News: New Steps for Youth Dance

Friday 18 November 2005

The largest of Arts Council England’s National Activities awards has been awarded to Youth Dance England. £635,000 has been allocated over two years to support the youth dance organisation’s Next Steps, a programme designed to increase the amount of dance participation available to young people through investing in networks, training and events.

The programme will bring together nine dance organisations based in each region of England to work with Youth Dance England to improve the opportunities available for young people across the country and to create a lasting legacy for youth dance. Whilst dance is ever more popular and the art form of choice for many young people, many parts of the country are experiencing a shortage of teachers and leaders.

In London the participating dance organisation will be the London Youth Dance – whose co-ordinator is now based at Sadler’s Wells – and who produces the Youth Dance zone of londondance.com

Jeanette Siddall, Director of Dance, Arts Council England, said: “This award demonstrates Arts Council England’s commitment to enhancing opportunities for young people to experience and participate in arts activity. Thanks to the vision and energy of Youth Dance England more young people than ever will be able to create, perform and communicate through dance. I am delighted by this prospect and look forward to seeing more young people dancing.”

Linda Jasper, Director of Youth Dance England said: “This is the start of a new era for young people’s involvement in dance. We look forward to working with the nine dance organisations to make a real difference to the amount and quality of dance experiences available to young people across the country.”

Next Steps will connect people and organisations working for young people, encourage new organisations to invest in youth dance and find ways to ensure that the national infrastructure for dance becomes and remains strong enough to survive in the long term.

Large-scale events will celebrate the excellence and diversity of youth dance, for example the National Youth Dance Festival to take place in Leeds in July 2006 will bring some of the most talented youth dance groups from across the country to train, create dance and perform together. In addition to promoting live events, Youth Dance England will work with Channel Four to encourage young people to work with dance film and will run a national conference in 2007.

The dance organisations who will be working with Youth Dance England on this project are:

North East: Tees Valley Dance, Stockton-On-Tees

North West: Ludus, Lancaster

Yorkshire: Yorkshire Dance, Leeds

East Midlands: Derby Dance

East: The Junction, Cambridge

South East: Hampshire Dance, Eastleigh

South West: Dance South West, Bournemouth

Youth Dance England is in its second year of operation, core-funded through the Department for Education and Skills’ Music and Dance Scheme.

For more information about Youth Dance England, see www.yde.org.uk

londondance.com/youthdance

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