News: The Big Youth Dance Weekend

Friday 28 January 2005

The Big Youth Weekend which took over the Royal Festival Hall recently attracted over 7,500 people from all around the UK to the ballroom, bars, cafes, conference rooms and stairwells of the South Bank arts venue.

Organised by London Youth Dance, Youth Dance England and the Royal Festival Hall Education Department, it was the first such event for over a decade. A conference to mark the launch of Youth Dance England was attended by 92 delegates. It ran alongside a programme of workshops covering Bollywood, musical theatre, ballet, hip hop and more in the ballroom. Each session had from thirty to one hundred enthusiastic participants. Although they were aimed at the 13+ age group, ages of those actually taking part ranged from about four to seventy.

Nine youth dance companies were commissioned by London Youth Dance to make work for different sites around the building – stairwells, bars, foyers and terraces were all utilised, animated and packed with audiences. Boy Blue Entertainment and East London Dance Youth Dance Company were chosen to receive bursaries to develop their work for the Festival of London Youth Arts later in the year.

Youth Dance England and the Royal Festival Hall commissioned Ex- V Tol choreographer Mark Murphy to make a large scale work for youth dance groups throughout the UK. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT was performed by sixty dancers from CandoII and Impact from London, RJC Youth Dance from Leeds, Hampshire Youth Dance Company and Ludus from Lancashire. They had worked on the project for four months – only coming together for rehearsal the day before the two performances on Saturday.

Dance Critic Donald Hutera worked with a group of young dance writers over the weekend. We’ll be bringing their views to our youth dance zone.

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