About U.Dance NW
U.Dance NW is an opportunity for dance groups from schools, youth and community settings from across the North West. to come together and share their performance work. We aim to represent the breadth of work being created by young people from across the region and welcome applications from all settings and from all genres of work.
On the day of performance the young people have the opportunity to experience life in a dance company by taking part in technical rehearsals on stage in advance of the show in the evening. Crucial to the event is the varied workshop programme that gives the young people the opportunity to try something new and meet their peers from across the region.
It is a really valuable event for all involved and the feedback is always incredibly positive.
U.Dance NW is part of the national U.Dance framework led by Youth Dance England. U.Dance is a programme which seeks to increase the number of youth dance performances and support those who organise them, whilst raising awareness of the wonderful events that take place right across the country. The framework aims to provide dance performance opportunities for every child and young person in England.
The regional event U.Dance NW is first and foremost an opportunity for regional groups to come together and share in the excellent work that is taking place in the North West. In addition to the opportunity to perform at the regional festival, groups can also request to be considered for the national youth dance platform delivered by Youth Dance England, should they wish to.
Find out more about the national U.Dance framework and performance platform on Youth Dance England website.
How U.Dance aims to work closer with Integrated and Disabled Groups
Groups that include disabled dancers are welcome to apply for the regional events with the possibility of selection for the national event. However groups that define themselves in this way do not have a strong presence in the festival overall. We are aware that the platform may seem in-accessible for some groups and are keen on finding ways to encourage more integrated groups to apply to be involved.
We are inspired further this year by Plymouth Dance who are delivering the national U.Dance festival in 2015 alongside Youth Dance England. Plymouth Dance have extensive experience of creating opportunities for disabled dancers and have been working closely with YDE and partners such as Stopgap Dance Company&Magpie Dance, to assist the regions in developing the relationship between the U.Dance programme and local integrated youth dance companies.
Plymouth Dance have recently received a pot of funding from Children in Need to support this and will be working with each individual region of England to support more groups in accessing the opportunities offered by the U.Dance programme.
People Dancing: The Foundation for Community Dance has created this short film in partnership with Youth Dance England to inspire inclusive groups and group leaders working with disabled young dancers to apply to be part of U.Dance.
The film evaluates the experience of Oak field School Dance Group during their U.Dance 2014 experience and raises key questions from an inclusive group perspective. The young people and group leaders discuss their experience, including the hopes and fears, and provide a valuable insight to how any group of young people can successfully take part in the U.Dance programme.
As the regional deliverer of U.Dance NW, we are keen to connect with groups that work with disabled young people to make the application process for the regional performance platform as accessible as possible.
This year, U.Dance NW 2015 will take place this year on 21/22nd March and the event in 2016 is already scheduled similarly for March. In consultation with you as group leaders we would like to aim to find ways to support your groups to work towards applying for the 2016 platform.
How you and your groups can be involved
Step One: We would like to invite you to observe the regional platform this year on Sunday 22nd March and meet with us to find out more about what the opportunity offers the groups. We would also like to use this session to seek your advice as to how we can adapt our existing programme and application process to make it more accessible for your group/s.
Leading this session will be Claire Summers. Claire works freelance for Plymouth Dance as a project coordinator and is currently the Plymouth project co-ordinator for U.Dance 2015. Previous roles include lead practitioner with Ignite, Engage and Inspire a project lead by Plymouth Dance and Attik Dance Company taking dance into every special needs school in Plymouth over a three year period; Associate Youth Practitioner with Candoco Dance Company Moving Bodies Project for three years and worked on several Plymouth University Widening Participation Department to facilitate dance and drama projects for disadvantaged young people.
Through this session and from observing the event we hope that as group leaders you will get a better idea of what the platform offers and will be encouraged to work towards applying for the event in 2016. You will have the opportunity to see the event in action, to observe the workshop sessions, tech rehearsals and watch the evening performance in the theatre.
Step Two: Following the event, for any interested parties, Claire will be offering support in the form of physical workshop sessions with the groups of young people in their own settings, to explore creating work for performance and provide advice to group leaders as how to further develop the performance work and prepare for applying for the platform.
Step Three: Going forward we will ensure a dialogue is maintained between ourselves and the interested groups should additional advice be required in advance of the platform to support the application process.
We really hope that this opportunity is something that you may be interested for the group/s that you are involved in and are happy to answer any questions that you may have about this.
Please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling on 0161 876 2018 by Friday 27th February if you would like to attend the initial group leader meeting on Sunday 22nd March. We will be inviting you to meet in the afternoon (exact time TBC) so you can also observe the tech rehearsal and workshop programme and you are then welcome to stay for the performance in the evening at 7.45pm (preceded by drinks reception)
If you feel that you would definitely be keen on working towards U.Dance NW 2016 and are interested in a workshop with Claire Summers she has some availability the week following the U.Dance NW festival and so we are currently taking expressions of interest for these sessions. Please let us know if you would like to explore this possibility.
Please feel free to call us on 0161 876 2018 if you would like to discuss any of this.